Dr Who – The Sixth Doctor – Colin Baker

 

Colin Baker was the sixth incarnation of the Doctor, and possibly the most unlucky!  He took over from Peter Davison in March 1984, only playing the role until December 1986, when he was the only unceremoniously given the boot!  But since then Colin Baker continued playing the sixth Doctor in audio productions.

Not only was Colin Baker sacked from the playing the Doctor, but during his fairly short time in the role, the BBC decided a hiatus was needed, and the Doctor was placed on a 18 month break!, and it was after this that Baker was sacked, apparently to make room for new blood, apparently thought needed to give the series the best chance of surviving!

Colin Baker is a 70 year old British actor.  He was born in London, but he grew up in Rochdale, attending St Bede's College, Manchester, he originally studied to become a solicitor, but at just 23 he had a change of heart, and changing his career path, enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)

Before his stint as the Doctor, Baker was well known in British households for playing the part of Paul Merroney in the BBC drama series Brothers, which ran from 1972 to 1976 (Baker’s role lasted from 1974 to 1976), it was whilst filming Brothers that he met his first wife, actress Liza Goddard. 

Not as popular, or as well-known as his immediate predecessor, Peter Davison, he had however proven his acting worth, when he landed the role! 

I think it is safe to say the Sixth Doctor is an incarnation many people didn’t enjoy, his garish clothing and flamboyant brash personality was at times more annoying than it was enjoyable!  Baker himself had requested that his outfit be entirely in black velvet, which would have been a total change from the previous Doctor’s garish outfit, and in Baker’s view also have reflected the sixth Doctor’s somewhat darker personality, however Producer John Nathan-Turner had different ideas and went for a bright, garish and purposefully tasteless outfit; a brightly coloured patchwork frock coat, with a white shirt (keeping the question marks on the collar which Peter Davison had first worn), and then a variety of different coloured waistcoats and cravats.  It was Baker himself who added a cat badge, and he wore many different designs of cat badges throughout the series’. 

Colin Baker appeared in only 31 episodes, although it was obviously his intention to appear in more, however the powers at be at the BBC (Michael Grade was the BBC controller at this time) decided for a variety of reasons, that Doctor needed to go on a hiatus, it made restarting the series very messy, with planned series and formats played around with.

It was also decided that despite Colin signing on for four years, and in interviews stating he would like to do more, that a new Doctor was also needed.  Among other things it, was felt that the show had become too violent and the doctor too egotistical.  Colin Baker is the only Doctor so far who has refused to take part in the regeneration scene, when he passes the mantle over to the next incarnation, the grapes were just too sour for him, and so it was down to Sylvester McCoy in a blonde wig and a lot of blurring.

Baker’s portrayal of the Doctor was loud, brash and very intelligent.  At the time Baker bore a lot of the blame for the break in the series, and was rather unpopular, however since then he became extremely popular in the audio shows, the sixth Doctor’s personality being somewhat mellowed.

Since his departure, Baker has mainly starred on the stage, and for many years has been a pantomime regular.  But despite being the shortest lived Doctor, Colin Baker’s career has continued to be very much Dr Who related and in 1992 he published a Doctor Who story for the Dr Who Magazine, and in 1997 he was the voice of the Doctor for the BBC video game Dr Who: Destiny of the Doctors.  Add to this his audio appearances at the Doctor in many recordings he has proven you really can always be the Doctor and make a living from it!

And finally, in a departure from the Doctor entirely he was last seen in 2012 in the Jungle when he appeared in ITV’s horror of a TV show – I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here – where he finished a respectable’ish 8th place out of the 12 contestants.