Conceived during the late 1990's in 'The Ship Inn' public house, Sandgate, near the English fishing town of Folkestone, 'Tom Baker or Normal' is a simple game that can be played at virtually any time and any place. It originally surfaced as a means to occupy those lulls in drunken conversation in the pub, but it soon spread to find its feet in the workplaces and school yards of the Staffordshire town of Newcastle Under Lyme.
The game is for two players though it is regarded in many circles as an entertaining spectator sport. The game starts with Player 1 having to mask his or her face with a piece of A4 (ish) sized card or paper (curry house hot towels and beer mats have been known to be used but with limited success). Player 1 then has to decide whether to attempt a facial expression based on the one and only Tom Baker or, should they choose to do so, a normal expression. It is then up to Player 2 to guess whether it is Tom Baker or normal. The card should then be removed and the choice revealed. Remember, TBoN is a game of trust so you must never be tempted to change your choice prior to the removal of the card. The card remains with Player 1 until such a time that the expression is guessed correctly. It's so easy to play that anyone can join in. However, it may be a good idea to draw the line at the family dog (they tend to be a little predictable and always seem to opt for 'normal') or biscuits for that matter.
For those of you who didn't grow up with his masterful interpretation of Doctor Who, a picture is shown below. However, the rules state that poor attempts at the expression must not be regarded as normal on the basis that they don't actually look like the man himself. This approach is not in keeping with the spirit of the game, and is frowned upon by seasoned players. A variation of the game does exist however, but it is only suitable for the most gifted of players. We shall be looking at that in greater detail on the TBSBoN page.
Before you set off on your journey through the world of 'Tom Baker or Normal' here's a word from Tom