The classic series writer Jane Baker has died.

The classic series writer Jane Baker has died.

Jane Baker, along with her husband and writing partner Pip, was one of the best known writers from the mid 80’s era of Doctor Who, writing eleven episodes for the series. Together they created the Rani, a female Time Lord scientist who was brought to life so vividly by the late Kate O’Mara, as well a creating the companion Mel.

Pip and Jane Baker began writing together in the 1960’s working on the films The Painted Smile, The Break, The Night of the Big Heat and Captain Nemo and the Underwater City. On Television they worked on the children’s thriller Circus as well as episodes of Z-Cars and Space 1999.

In 1985 they were commissioned by producer John Nathan Turner to write for the first full series of the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, producing the story Mark of the Rani. The story was well received and the couple returned the following year to pen Terror of the Vervoids the third segment of the Trial of a Time Lord Season, envisaged as a whodunnit in space.

Later that year the couple were called into rescue the series following the departure of the then Script editor Eric Saward, following a disagreement with Nathan Turner. Saward had withdrawn his script for the final episode of the season leaving the Bakers to come up with an alternative ending, without access to anything already written, and without creating anything which needed a new set to be built. They had just three days to come up with a script capable of concluding a season they had very little part in conceiving. Jane Baker later described to Doctor Who Magazine the period as challenging rather than exciting, but rated the script produced as one of her favourites.

After the transmission of the season, Phi and Jane Baker found themselves defending their scripts on the BBC’s feedback programme Open Air, facing criticism from some fans including future script writer Chris Chibnall. It was an experience Jane found perplexing. “We were presented with four young men, who seemed to say on the one hand it was to complicated and on the other it was too simple”.

The Bakers returned to Doctor Who at the start of the next season, introducing the seventh Doctor in Time and the Rani, a script which brought back their most enduring creation The Rani.

In the early 1990’s they created the children’s programme Watt on Earth which ran for 24 episodes on BBC One.

Tributes to Jane Baker have been led by Colin Baker, who posted on twitterSo very very sad to learn that Jane Baker of Pip and Jane fame – Doctor Who writers from my era – has died. My thoughts are with Pip.

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