"I remember listening to an interview with Colin on the radio talking about all the marvelous things he was gonna do with the Doctor, how it's gonna be different. And I think, 'You haven't started it yet. You don't know what you're up against.'"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 an impossibly cheesy Protest Song 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 lengthy 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. Though Baker was offered to briefly return for a regeneration story he turned it down (as he was offered one episode rather than a full serial) and as a result, the Sixth Doctor's final moment was written as a Death by Falling Over and Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) was forced to dress in his predecessor's 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. Various Doctor Who Expanded Universe titles attempted to re-write the scene and give him a more dignified end — in 2015, the Big Finish Doctor Who box set "The Last Adventure" finally gave Baker a chance to personally perform a new interpretation of his character's death.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!.
—Peter Davison, "Being the Doctor"
Television and Film Roles
- The Brothers: Paul Merroney
- Doctor Who (TV and Big Finish Audio): Commander Maxil and the Sixth Doctor
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 infant son died during the same period from SIDS... it ends up being a wonder that Colin still talks about the show, let alone remembers it fondly. And the demise of his son spurred him to support the research of curing SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Producer John Nathan-Turner had the idea to give the Sixth Doctor extremely bizarre clothes to show the erratic and unstable nature of his character. Colin notably objected, (in)famously describing the outfit as "an explosion in a rainbow factory", and expressed a desire to wear dark and imposing clothes. He was a bit envious of Christopher Eccleston's ensemble as a result. However, his character did get to wear a much less eye-searing blue-toned version of his costume in the audios and Real Time- a bit ironic considering that Colin's original costume could not contain the colour blue because the visual effects were projected using blue screens, so his costume would have melted into the background (which would have ironically made Baker invisible instead of unmissable).
- 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. (The nickname is a fandom joke; neither the picture nor the actor have anything to do with actual porn.)
- 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.
- Protest Song: "Doctor In Distress", a Hi-NRG song featuring Baker meant to protest the 16-month hiatus, but also doubles as a great argument against the existence of protest/charity singles. The BBC refused to play it on the grounds of taste and Baker regards his participation as an Old Shame.