Colin Baker doing his peerless impersonation of a traffic light.Colin Baker
(born 8 June 1943) is a British actor best known for his role as the sixth incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who
. (No, he's not related to Tom Baker
.) Known as a tremendously Nice Guy
, Baker is also One of Us
to an almost ridiculous degree — and, so far, the only TV Doctor who got his own Doctor Who
fiction published in official Who
media, several times over. He wrote (and performed) the short story "The Wings of a Butterfly" for Big Finish Doctor Who
, several stories about his Doctor in his book Gallimaufry
, and "The Age of Chaos", a graphic novel published by Marvel UK.
Baker's time as the Doctor was fraught with Executive Meddling
, a badly-timed first episode full of violence which was misinterpreted as an Establishing Character Moment
, and the infamous technicolour nightmare coat
. The show's myriad problems (among them a dwindling budget and dodgy scripts) were pinned on a single, eye-searing target: Baker.
The show was placed in a sixteen-month limbo. After producing a cheesy record to help "Save the Doctor," and a lot of angry protests at Michael Grade
, the head exec of BBC at the time, the series was brought back, but still on loose terms.
After a length Story Arc
in which the Doctor (and, metaphorically, the show) was "put on trial", Colin Baker's tenure ended just as it began
: shakily. He was unceremoniously fired, despite having played no part in the show's problems. As a result, Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) was forced to dress in his costume with a rather unconvincing blond wig
while face down on the floor of the TARDIS. Baker nowadays jokingly insists that since he never regenerated, he's technically still the Doctor
and everyone who follows him are imposters to the title.Doctor Who
was put on hiatus twice during Baker's tenure, thanks to the backroom wrangling going on. Following the (first) cancellation, Baker played essentially the same role again in the series' Spiritual Sequel The Stranger
, again opposite Nicola Bryant (who played companion Peri — er, "Miss Brown"). The two teamed up once more in The Airzone Solution
, also by Nicholas Briggs
, alongside fellow Doctors Jon Pertwee
, Peter Davison
, and Sylvester McCoy
He tweets as @SawbonesHex, and looks upon "Old Sixie", as he calls his Doctor, with fondness. He currently still plays the character in Big Finish Doctor Who
. Fans consider it a majorly redeeming venture for Colin's shaky time on-screen.
Appeared in 2012's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Television and Film Roles
Tropes associated with this actor include:
- Darker and Edgier: From the moment Peter Davison regenerated into Colin Baker, the audience was put on notice: the Doctor is still very alien, and still dangerous.
- Deconstruction: Everything about his tenure, from the torpedoing of the notion that the Doctor steadily improves with each regeneration (he's reverted back to William Hartnell, undoing decades of Character Development), to trolling fans with intentionally hideous costumes, to a prolonged self-critique of the show's established tropes.
- Deus Angst Machina: Got his dream role when the series was in a rut, had nearly half his stories viewed with disdain by a large part of the audience, suffered under the hateful eye of BBC Controller Michael Grade, and even though he had a planned run longer than any previous Doctor (that would have lasted until the 30th anniversary), it was cut into a paltry two years, and as if that wasn't enough, his son died during the same period... it ends up being a wonder that Colin still talks about the show, let alone remembers it fondly.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes
- Laser-Guided Karma: Michael Grade, who threw all that onto Colin, remains the only BBC Controller never to be knighted. One can't help but think that the Queen, a professed fan of Doctor Who, was looking out for our dear Mr. Baker.
- Large Ham/Ham and Cheese: Even in his worst Doctor Who serials, he still made an event to liven things up. Just watch his reading of Eleven's monologue from "The Rings of Akhaten."
- Major General Song: As part of the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Doctor Who and the Pirates", he sang "I Am the Very Model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer."
- Paint It Black: Some actors who play the Doctor are lucky; others not. Baker was one of few who had as good as no say in the Doctor's new wardrobe. Baker suggested that his costume should be a suit of black velvet, to match his Doctor's darker personality. Nathan-Turner, who began his career as a BBC costume designer, opted for a Willy Wonka ensemble instead. (As you do.) Baker's only influence on the costume ended up being the cat brooch worn on the lapel.
- That dark velvet ensemble eventually became his official look for the Big Finish audio plays.
- Porn Stache: The now-infamous "Seventies Porn Colin" publicity shots.
- Promoted Fanboy: Like David Tennant and Peter Capaldi, he always wanted to be on his favorite show.
- He previously played the role of Maxil, the Commander of the Chancellery Guard on Gallifrey, in "Arc of Infinity", and at one point stun-gunned the Fifth Doctor. To this day he jokes that he was the only actor who ever got a part by shooting his predecessor.