Tom Baker is taking on the role of that mysterious time-traveler, the Doctor, for the first time since 1981. A new series of five linked Doctor Who audio plays brings back Baker's anarchic portrayal... with a surprising old companion.

Of all the companions you'd expect the BBC to pair Tom Baker with, in his new series of audio plays, probably the last one you'd think of would be retired Army Captain Mike Yates, last seen in 1974's "Planet Of The Spiders." The mixed up, conflicted Yates had to leave the paramilitary world-saving organization UNIT after he secretly joined a team of mad-scientists and fanatics who were flooding London with dinosaurs. (It's all because an evil computer brainwashed him and he got confused. But then he got into meditation, so it's okay.)

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Anyway, according to writer Paul Magrs, the five stories take place after the Doctor leaves his savage hunter companion Leela and his tin dog K-9 behind on his home planet Gallifrey. He goes and settles down for a bit in an old English cottage in Sussex, and then a strange buzzing sound is following him. Magrs says Baker had no trouble settling back into the role:

He was on top form. Unbelievable. Full of charisma, bursting into the studios. Then he was at the mike with other cast members, and suddenlyI can picture the very moment he turned back into the Doctor. One minute it was introductions and actorly chat and then all of a sudden he was rehearsing lines his first being, ‘Hullo, I'm the Doctor'

It was a very shivery moment.

And here are the descriptions of the audio plays, going on sale soon:

Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest - The Stuff of Nightmares
‘Wanted: retired army Captain for light household duties and fireside companionship. Must tolerate mild eccentricity and strong scientific advice. Knowledge of Giant Maggots, Super Intelligent Spiders and Prehistoric Monsters a positive boon.' Responding to an advert apparently worded for him alone, Captain Mike Yates (retired) is reunited with a ghost from the past. But why has the Doctor, that mysterious traveller in Time and Space, sent for his former UNIT acquaintance? Trapped by a horde of vicious creatures in an apparently innocuous English country cottage, the two old friends are on the brink of an enormous adventure. As the Doctor relates his recent escapades, it becomes clear to Mike that they - and the Earth at large - are facing an enemy of unimaginable power and horrific intent. The nightmare is only just beginning… With Tom Baker as the Doctor, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey and Daniel Hill as Percy Noggins, The Stuff of Nightmares is the first of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs.
Release Date: September 3, 2009

Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest - The Dead Shoes
What is so special about a pair of ballet shoes on display in Cromer's Palace of Curios? When the Doctor meets Ernestina Scott there in 1932, they discover the horrific truth together. The second of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs, The Dead Shoes also features Susan Jameson, Clare Corbett and Christian Rodska.
Release Date: October 8, 2009

Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest - The Circus of Doom
In Blandford, 1832, ringmaster Antonio exerts a strange influence on the townsfolk. When the Doctor steps into the ring, he discovers that Antonio has some familiar demons of his own… The third of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs, The Circus of Doom also features Michael Maloney, Jilly Bond, Susie Riddell and Stephen Thorne.
Release Date: November 5, 2009

Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest - A Sting in the Tale
In a bleak midwinter, an order of nuns protect their Mother Superior from ravaging dogs. But something is very wrong here indeed - and the Doctor is about to get badly stung. The fourth of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs, A Sting in the Tale also features Clare Corbett, Susie Riddell and Rula Lenska.
Release Date: December 3, 2009

Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest - Hive of Horror
The Doctor and Mike must face their enemy in a final battle. They have an unwilling accomplice - and loyalties are about to be tested to the limit. The fifth of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs, Hive of Horror also features Susan Jameson and Rula Lenska.
Release Date: December 3, 2009

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[Once Upon A Geek]