The Fourth Doctor - Tom Baker
Possibly the most iconic of all the classic era Doctor Who sonic screwdriver designs. This prop was used primarily by Tom Baker, however it was Jon Pertwee who had the honor of first showcasing the newly revamped physical prop on screen in the Season Ten story, “Frontier in Space” in 1974.
Updates to the look of the physical sonic screwdriver prop for Baker's tenure including removing the tape and spiral and a black magnet was added to the back of the emitter bullet.
Later on the lower emitter section was seated higher up rather than being hidden by the top of the tapered section on the slider. The aluminium tape on the thumb grip also wore down over time leaving a noticeable weathered white surface on the thumb grip which continued to chip away until there was barely any silver left.
This style sonic screwdriver would become synonymous with Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor after being used by him for nearly his entire 7 year run as the Time Lord. Over those 7 years the prop became even more worn down, with the paint coming off completely on the emitter, revealing the brass halo ring beneath. The rod that held the emitter also began to bend as well.
The original filming prop was again revamped during Tom Baker’s final season of Doctor Who and once again carried over to the next Doctor.
In total, this original prop that started life in 1966 for “Thunderbirds Are Go” was in continuous use as the sole sonic screwdriver prop on Doctor Who from 1971 until 1982 spanning a remarkable eleven seasons and eleven years of production.
It is believed that the original prop was kept by producer John Nathan-Turner in his office for a number of years until it mysteriously vanished. Its whereabouts or even survival still remain unknown to this day.
The Fourth Doctor
The Sonic Screwdriver Archive
Copyright © 2023 The Sonic Screwdriver Archive - All Rights Reserved.
Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Class, K9 and Company and associated names, titles, logos and screen captures are © BBC Worldwide, Ltd. and their use here is understood to qualify as fair dealing under the laws of the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and as fair use under United States copyright law.