Robert John “Bob” Baker, a film and television screenwriter best known for his work with Aardman Animations on his Wallace & Gromit films and for creating the K9 dog-shaped laptop on Doctor Who, died on November 3 at the age of 82. The news was announced by Twitter @ K9official1 on Friday.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend and business partner, the iconic BOB BAKER. pic.twitter.com/4Quj7zWbqJ
– K9Officiel (@ K9official1) November 5, 2021
Born in the St. George neighborhood of Bristol, England on July 26, 1939, Baker left high school at the age of 15 and became an apprentice monumental mason, carving inscriptions on gravestones – which resulted in caused the mind to joke once, “I’ve always been a writer.” “After making a few short 16mm films, the budding designer decided to return to school in 1959, studying painting with animation and film as a subsidiary. Despite a few gigs in the industry, Baker’s breakthrough in entertainment only began to open up after he befriended a regular customer at a small store he had opened: copywriter Dave Martin.
Baker and Martin went on to create a number of live action projects in collaboration with HTV producer Patrick Dromgoogle in the 1970s, including dramas Like thieves at the fair and Machine gunner, children’s drama Sky and dark-fantasy nominated for BAFTAs King of the castle. Meanwhile, the writing partners had sent a script to the BBC which led to their first Doctor Who commission (“Les Griffes d’Axos”, 1971). Baker and Martin will write seven adventures for the Time Lord, including K9’s introduction in “The Invisible Enemy” (1977). Baker alone wrote the ambitious “Nightmare of Eden” (1979).
K9 then took advantage of its own derivative pilot, K9 and Company (1981), in which the mutt-like machine teamed up with the former companion of Doctor Sarah Jane Smith (played by Elisabeth Sladen). The character reunited with Sarah Jane in a 2006 episode of The Risen One Doctor Who, and went on to appear in the spin-off The Adventures of Sarah Jane. Baker and producer Paul Tams finally got the character his own spin-off, K9, in 2009. The 26-episode series was produced and broadcast in Australia and distributed worldwide. Other projects for series, feature films and books had been heralded in the works of Baker and Tams in recent years; Baker published his autobiography, K9 stole my pants, in 2013.
Baker first teamed up with Aardman co-founder Nick Park to co-write Wallace & Gromit in the wrong pants (1993) – the second stop-motion short starring the cheese-loving inventor (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his super-smart, staged puppy – which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short and the BAFTA for the best animation. Baker and Park followed this up with the Oscar winner A close shave (1995), introducing another beloved character to the Aardman family: Shaun the Sheep, who would star in his own television series and two feature films.
Baker also co-wrote the Oscar-winning feature film Wallace & Gromit The curse of the were-rabbit (2005) and, as fellow screenwriter Eddie Robson pointed out on Twitter (@EddieRobson), wrote his own death in the BAFTA short film and Annie de Park A matter of bread and death (2008) with the murder of “Baker Bob”.
RIP Bob Baker, who once wrote his own murder in a Wallace & Gromit movie pic.twitter.com/Z3UW6LHXQe
– Eddie Robson (@EddieRobson) November 5, 2021
Baker’s subsequent collaborations with his lifelong friend Martin, who died in 2007, included projects from the 1970s Z-Cars, Hunter’s walk and detective soap opera Target. On his own, Baker also wrote episodes and edited scripts for UK shows. Regards, call me sir and TV movie The Jazz Detective, and conceived and scripted in 1982 In the labyrinth, who likes Doctor Who incorporated time travel into his fantastic stories. Most recently he was screenwriter and producer for the hybrid documentary series The world of Wallace and Gromit’s invention (2010), produced for the BBC.
Baker is survived by his third wife, Marie (nÃ©e Hume, married 1991) and children Jo, Clare, Rachael and Sarah Jane; daughter Cathy and son Martin from her first marriage to Vicki Hollis; his son Andy and his daughter-in-law Laura from his second marriage, to Angela Wynne; and seven grandchildren. He was predeceased by Paul, a son from his first marriage, in 2020.
[Source: The Guardian]