Incarnations of the Doctor
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Companions and Supporting Cast
Classic Series Companions (K9, Romana) | Revival Series Companions (Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness, River Song, Clara Oswald) | Other Supporting Cast (The Paternoster Gang) | UNIT Staff
Immortals and Eldritch Abominations | The Master (John Simm's Master, Missy, Expanded Universe Masters)
Aliens and Monsters
Daleks (Davros) | Cybermen | Robots | The Silence | Silurians | Sontarans | Time Lords | Weeping Angels | Slitheen
The prideful, verbose naysayer with a Hidden Heart of Gold and the dress sense of a BBC test card. The Sixth Doctor was a darker and certainly more unstable Doctor, more suited for a hard and chaotic universe than his previous self, and his default emotions were righteous indignation or smug self-satisfaction. He wore a multicoloured coat (which to this day is quite possibly the most visually distinctive outfit the Doctor has worn, for better or for worse - perhaps it was a midlife crisis?) and wasn't averse to fisticuffs or murder to get out of a desperate fix.
Despite his thunderous exterior and tendency towards Dirty Business, he still remained firmly dedicated to the pursuit of justice, and was always capable of being deadly serious or emphatic to others' plight when the situation called for it, and when the chips were down, he always remained unwavering and uncompromising when confronting the local forces of evil or the morally misguided, unafraid to give them a sharp and passionate "The Reason You Suck" Speech or Kirk Summation, no matter how great a threat they posed to him; occasionally, he'd dare them to actually go through with shooting him while unleashing a dictionary of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness at them.
Alas, viewers weren't exactly fond of the idea of an overtly morally grey Doctor, especially when his first story featured him strangling the living daylights out of his companion unprovoked. During his first season, the show got in trouble for being too violent, and after a double-length hiatus and an even rockier second season, Baker became the only actor to be outright fired from the role, thanks to Executive Meddling. The fallout was so acrimonious that he didn't reprise the role for a regeneration (he asked for a full season, but the BBC wouldn't budge past a single story, arguing that the 18-month hiatus somehow contractually counted as a season), so they Dropped a Bridge on Him. However, Colin Baker is actually a wonderful guy and has always been an ardent fan of the show even after the hell he went through while playing the Doctor; he is currently still redeeming the character fantastically in Big Finish Doctor Who, to the point of being voted "favourite audio Doctor" by the fans, and eventually did his Doctor justice with a proper regeneration story in 2015.
As the years went by, the Sixth Doctor had many companions, who helped sand down the prickly attitude and the ego to match. He stood atop his soapbox only when he needed it and boasted when it was appropriate. Especially prominent in his audio adventures, Six had lots of Character Development that turned the pompous braggart into a friendly, cultured chap with zest and charm.
However, while he was becoming a better person, he encountered his antithesis, the Valeyard, who tried many times to seize everything the Doctor had for himself, until a day came when one of his overarching plans succeeded. Six, trapped in the Matrix with no escape and the company of a triumphant Valeyard, decided to cut his own life short and steer his younger self toward Lakertya, despite a warning that something was producing deadly radiation nearby. His TARDIS came under attack by the Rani as she pelted it with beams from a radiation gun, which didn't hurt humans but was lethal to Time Lords. Six got a glimpse of his next self as he regenerated, and the version of him in the Matrix faded away, leaving the Valeyard robbed of victory and trapped inside.
Tropes associated with the television series
- '80s Hair: A mess of big blond curls. Stories which feature Colin Baker as Six when he has gotten older see him with less hair coverage until finally balding and having very short and neat white hair around the lower perimeter of his head.
- Aborted Arc: A multi-year arc was planned in which the Sixth Doctor would mellow out, but politics at The BBC intervened. This was later taken up (after a fashion) by the Big Finish audios, where regular companion Dr. Evelyn Smythe puts up with exactly zero of his ego-trips and gives him a much-needed reality check, leading to quite a bit of Character Development. Unfortunately, in the TV series, the dissatisfaction with Baker's tenure bled into "The Trial of a Time Lord" and later Who novels, which had Seven seeing him as a fundamentally flawed incarnation (though he eventually changed his mind).
- Animal Motifs: He wears cat badges or brooches. Baker related the character to a quote from Rudyard Kipling:"I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me".
- Anti-Hero: He was conceived around this idea to contrast with his mild-mannered predecessor. One of his first actions was to throttle his companion, and later an old man, due to an unstable regeneration. He got better over time, though was still willing to kill someone if his life was in danger and would show little remorse for it.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: Whereas the Fifth Doctor found himself stuck in a World Half Empty, fretting about other ways, Six seems more open to employing dirty methods when fighting evil. In truth, the Sixth Doctor usually wasn't very violent but the situations he found himself in certainly were. Though Nathan-Turner's iron fist was keenly felt in the Costuming Department, script editor Eric Saward was, for all intents and purposes, in charge of the show during this period. Saward is also well-known for his affinity for action heroes, morally ambiguous stories and a kill-or-be-killed mentality. He was at sea with Davison's Doctor, but Baker allowed Saward to indulge a less-utopian worldview. "Feels different this time", indeed.
- Arch-Enemy: The Valeyard, who prosecuted him during his trials and later turns out to be an evil future incarnation (or at least offshoot) of himself.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Six has the distinction of having actually killed several people in an acid bath... and some Cybermen... and can be terrifying if he desires to or if his buttons have been well and thoroughly pushed, such as the quote at the top of the page.
- Big Fun: The most portly Doctor thus far, especially in Season 23, though that isn't saying much.
- Bond One-Liner: Fond of them. There's a particularly grim one in "Vengeance on Varos," and it began to attract executive mumblings about whether Doctor Who was going too far. After two guards accidentally fall into an acid bath that was meant for the Doctor...Sixth Doctor: [looks at the doomed guards with an "oh, dear" expression] Forgive me if I don't join you.
- Breaking Old Trends: Unlike the previous Doctors where they regenerated at the season finale (or how First regenerated at the start), Six was the first incarnation at the penulimate serial.
- Came Back Wrong: Probably the most memorable regeneration trauma to date. Six has a peculiar fascination with peoples' throats in his debut story.
- Can't Argue with Elves: The Sixth Doctor isn't quite this bad, but he is abrasive and easily the most articulate Doctor. Do not argue with him. You will lose.
- If you want to take it a step further listen to some of his audio dramas where he meets himself in the same body; if he starts arguing with himself, nobody wins.
- Catchphrase: He was prone to saying, "Mmm, I wonder...", when thinking aloud, and then exclaiming, "aha!", when his suspicions were proved correct.[source needed] He was also known to let out an annoyed, "doh", when dismissing someone.
- Character Development: The Sixth Doctor's relationship with his companion Peri changes for the better with each adventure they have together. If the Sixth Doctor's run had not been abruptly cut short, then he would have also been shown mellowing down and becoming a calmer Doctor closer to his previous incarnation. Big Finish and other parts of the Expanded Universe would eventually get around to explore this idea in detail.
- Character Tics: Grasping his coat lapels in manner not so dissimilar to One's.
- He also tends to repeat three times anything that he finds offensive or stupid, getting louder and more indignant with each repetition."Unstable? Unstable?!? UNSTABLE?!?!?"
- He also tends to repeat three times anything that he finds offensive or stupid, getting louder and more indignant with each repetition.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: He does one in his opening credits.
- Combat Pragmatist: Extremely so. When faced with a multitude of buttons, a gun and a few seconds to spare, his default solution is to shoot the entire control panel and short-circuit the system.
- Contrasting Replacement Character: His outspoken, harsh demeanour, his abrasiveness and immense sense of pride that often borders on arrogance, and not shying away from using physical force when push comes to shove, makes him one to to the subdued, humble and quite vulnerable Five.
- Cultured Badass: He had a taste for poetry and literature, often reciting bits of them.
- Deadpan Snarker: Just about every word out of his mouth is a barb directed at someone or something.
- Death by Falling Over: The Rani shot at his TARDIS with a disco laser, there was something involving a rainbow, and... then he was dead on the floor. From 1987 to 2015, that was the impression left when his Doctor was written out of the show before that scene was finally explained. Would you believe it took upwards of thirty years for the true cause of his death to be revealed?
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Hits his head on the TARDIS console. (Although later stories include a bit of Fix Fic for the scene. The BBC Past Doctor Adventures novel Spiral Scratch depicts giant alien parasites sucking away the energy around him that time travel generates. They feast on it until he withers, and the Rani's attack delivers the final blow to an already dying Doctor. This was before the definitive final Sixth Doctor story was revealed in 2015. Big Finish Doctor Who provides another take on the regeneration in The Last Adventure, involving the Valeyard and six different companions.)
- Defector from Decadence: His experiences in this incarnation kill any shred of respect he still had for Time Lord society. After this, he only misses Gallifrey once there's no going back."In all my travelling throughout the universe I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here. The oldest civilization: decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core! Ha! Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen, they're still in the nursery compared to us. Ten million years of absolute power: that's what it takes to be really corrupt!"
- Doctor Jerk: Took great pleasure in exchanging barbs with Peri, though she took a while to really catch on.
- Interestingly, the first of his Doctor Who Magazine comics was developed before his first episodes even aired, so the writers had nothing yet to go on... and wrote him with a kind, fairly normal personality. It somehow stuck, and his comics incarnation is really just a nice chap, with only the occasional flash of hostility.
- A Fool for a Client: Six acts as his own attorney during his murder trial on Gallifrey. This goes down about as well as you'd expect.
- Foreshadowing: The Sixth Doctor rebuking the Time Lords and all respect for them will be followed by the Time War, where a majority of them will become utterly unforgivable and evil.
- Future Me Scares Me: The Valeyard. He is utterly appalled that someone so decadent could be none other than himself gallivanting around in chaos. But that doesn't stop him from whipping up glorious helpings of grammarian snark toward the Valeyard, calling him everything from "Boneyard", "Backyard", and "Barnyard", to, best of all, "Knacker's Yard".
- Good is Not Nice: He's very crotchety and self-absorbed, but firmly on the side of good.
- Grumpy Old Man: The actor may not visually fit the role, but the Sixth Doctor himself easily fits the role in personality.
- Hot-Blooded: Colin Baker summed it up as: "He's intolerant about injustice; he's passionate about justice. But he's not a human being. Therefore he may behave, at times, in a way that we mere humans might find puzzling. But the greater good is always at the heart."
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: Especially when frustrated or angry. Six has a vocabulary that can feel like he's trying to beat someone senseless with a dictionary.
- Hypocritical Humour: This Doctor is much more of a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of fellow."This is a situation that requires tact and finesse. Fortunately, I am blessed with both!"
- Iconic Item: That technicolor nightmare coat, the cat badge and the umbrella. Sure enough, his regeneration into Seven inevitably culminates with the new incarnation questioning the former's bizarre tastes and pitching the coat for something more sophisticated. Granted, Six did switch to a blue ensemble for a while, but then an alternate Mel convinced him to revert back because she liked the old outfit better and nostalgia got the better of him.
- I Hate Past Me: The Sixth Doctor considers himself the absolute pinnacle of Time Lord regeneration. As such he has a low regard for his predecessors, most notably Two and Five. Two returned the sentiment.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Want to know what happens when there's an explosion in a patchwork quilt factory? Well, here's your answer! The shirt and suspenders were inherited from Five, the hair and the Hawaiian vest seem to be directly lifted from producer John Nathan-Turner, and Six goes for broke with the coat-shaped quilt, a white dress shirt with question marks on the lapels and checked red sleeve cuffs, a polka-dotted aquamarine or red cravat / mustard yellow with a purple starfield cravat tied in a droopy bow, various clashing vests (asymmetrical rainbow patterns with bars on one side and zigzags on the other, red and white plaid with teddy bear buttons, a pattern of diagonal spangling stripes of violet, blue, cerulean, and green) with strange coloured fobs pinned on, the lemonade pants, scarlet socks, the green loafers adorned with traffic cone orange spats, and a variety of cat badges. As a inside joke on the Doctor's post-regeneration makeovers, it's brilliant parody. (It becomes less funny when the Doctor continues to wear it.)
- And then there's the equally eye-popping but less hard◊ on the eyes outfit Colin wore during his stage play tours, with a unique candy-striped vest, a ruffled undershirt with even bigger question marks on the collar lapels, and a velvet aqua-coloured cravat.
- Colin Baker actually wanted to dress in black velvet for the part (to quote, "a bit austere, ruffled sleeves, long black coat, black trousers"), which John Nathan-Turner shot down immediately due to it basically being the Master's outfit. Legend has it that JNT then turned down the first several versions of the design because they still retained some vestiges of good taste. Interestingly, the costume looks just fine when you remove the excess colour (see the outfit Six switches to for a while in Big Finish).
- Incoming Ham: Introduces himself to the world with some good old-fashioned snark!Peri: ...Doctor?
Sixth Doctor: You were expecting someone else?
- Insufferable Genius: Oh, boy. Described by many as a "raging egotist"... but he really was as good as he described himself, like when he temporarily fixed the TARDIS's chameleon circuit in "Attack of the Cybermen". (Well, he got it to change, at least, though it was about as inconspicuous as he was.)
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When it comes to being obnoxious and egotistical, he most certainly appropriates the gateau. Good examples are him repeatedly calling Peri fat for no apparent reason. Even Mr. Jobel in "Revelation of the Daleks" notices it would take "a mountain to crush an ego like yours". This is really only applicable to his stories in Seasons 21 & 22 - he's a lot nicer in Season 23. Additionally, the genuine heart of gold still existed in this narcissistic Doctor, it was just buried under a whole lot of ego. And bluster. But mostly ego. Ironically, the Sixth Doctor may well have had the largest heart of gold of any of them, hidden way deep down underneath the ego. Colin Baker later said he based his Doctor on Mr. Darcy.
- Kangaroo Court: "The Trial of a Time Lord" saw him put on trial for conduct unbecoming a Time Lord by a Gallifreyan court, with the charge later changed to genocide of a minor plant race. Six wasn't allowed to glimpse the evidence against him, the Master was called as a character witness, and most of the surveillance footage was fabricated anyway.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: He wore a different cat badge on his costume in each story arc. Baker subsequently received a lot more cat badges from fans in the mail. When he played the Doctor on stage in 1989 these gifts gave him the opportunity to wear a different badge in every single performance.
- Knight Errant: Self-described in "The Twin Dilemma":Sixth Doctor: I'm a knight errant, not an errant fool!
- Large Ham: Definitely the most theatrical and bombastic of all the Doctors.
- Laughing Mad: His regeneration trauma ran the gamut of emotions, from "happy drunk" to "raving paranoia" and everything in between. The wardrobe change was interrupted by a bout of existential angst."Nothing but the... urk!... grinding engines of the universe! The... crushing boredom of eternity! HAAAAAHahahahAHAhahahaA!"
- Limited Wardrobe: A garish, clashing outfit of black and yellow striped trousers, a multicoloured waistcoat, and a patchwork coat which defies description. The production notes for the series at the time specified a "totally tasteless costume". Newer webcasts and remakings of older episodes have replaced the amazing technicolor dreamcoat into a more muted (and more easily drawn) blue ensemble which has proven popular with fans who thought the striking colours distracting.
- He was referred to as "The BBC Colour Test Man", and Colin Baker himself described it as "an explosion in a rainbow factory".
- Slightly averted in "The Trial of a Time Lord", in which he started using a few different waistcoats and ties. This was done to distinguish the different past, present, and future time periods in the stories and the season's Law Procedural framing story.
- Literal-Minded: He could be literal minded, checking Peri's back after she complained about her "heart being where [her] liver should be", and taking Lytton's "look around you" statement seriously. When Lord Ravensworth asked the Doctor what he and Peri did in the TARDIS, the Doctor answered with, "argue, mainly". On Ravolox, he misunderstood Peri's reluctance to enter an abandoned building as her stating their inability to find an entrance.
- Mood-Swinger: For all his egoism and posturing the Doctor always stands up for what is right. The extremes of his personality means that Six can be murderous one moment and almost tender the next.
- Nerves of Steel: A man of little fear, he would remain unfazed when in the line of fire, or in the face of the unknown. Even when helpless or under threat, the Doctor would be unafraid to speak his mind.
- No Indoor Voice: Possibly the shoutiest of all the Doctors, to the point that Peri sometimes had to cover her ears during their seemingly endless arguments in the TARDIS.
- #1 Dime: He's apparently fond of cats, as evidenced by a brooch worn on his lapel (a Colin Baker embellishment, natch). Six was known to tap or stroke the cat before attempting something risky.
- The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: Colin Baker's dismissal from the TV series led to no true regeneration story. By the time Colin finally got one, he couldn't appear in a filmed episode because he had aged out of the role. In lieu of a TV story, he performed an audio anthology that elaborates on his Doctor's final adventure, and due to the Anachronic Order of these audio productions, it's not the absolute last audio Colin signed on for.
- Reveling in the New Form: Openly regards himself as a marked improvement over the Fifth Doctor as soon as he comes into existence, ending "The Caves of Androzani" with a smug grin and the words "change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon," before reacting to Peri's apprehension in "The Twin Dilemma" with confusion. He even admires himself in the mirror, commenting favorably on his "noble brow."
- Rogues Gallery: Mestor, Cybermen, the Cyber-Controller, Sil the Mentor, the Master, the Rani, Chessene of the Franzine Grig, Shockeye of the Quawncing Grig, Sontarans, the Borad, Davros, Daleks, the Valeyard, and Vervoids.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Depending on the Writer, the Sixth Doctor tends to go from "being smart" to "sounding like he not only swallowed a thesaurus, but all of the grammar teachers in England." This is also played up in some of his Expanded Universe appearances.
- Sherlock Scan: He was highly deductive, able to understand a situation based on small details that others overlooked and identify his location by studying his surroundings.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He could be unpredictable, consistently self-absorbed, stubborn, argumentative, moody, melodramatic and arrogant, believing himself greatly superior to anyone he encountered.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He did mellow out towards the end of his run. This is most prevalent in the Big Finish Audios.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with Peri at first; it does take them a few episodes to get along without unleashing a hurricane of insults on each other.
- Waistcoat of Style: He had a range of waistcoats, oversized bow-tied cravats, and fob watches with coloured chains to accompany his patchwork coat, each possessing a different colour scheme and design. He first wore a knitted waistcoat that was dark brown, orange and purple in colour and featured dark green buttons, along with a dark green metal watch chain and both a turquoise.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Only used against the Sixth Doctor in terms of his attitude rather than his actions or history.
- Xanatos Speed Chess Player: Once Six actually figures out what the hell is going on, his quick thinking and planning is pretty much this in curly blond hair and a multicoloured coat. That does, of course, depend on the Sixth Doctor actually being involved enough in the main story to realize what's going on — one example left him clueless until the final 20 minutes of the story.
- You Say Tomato: A running gag in his time with Peri is their different pronunciations of words, his being British (despite being an alien) and hers being American. In "The Twin Dilemma" he says "leftenant" where she says "lootenant", and in "Vengeance on Varos", he says "zed" where she says "zee".
Tropes associated with Doctor Who MagazineThe Sixth Doctor's first comic stories were written before his first televised episode, and with no characterisation to go on, the writers interpreted him as a much kinder incarnation than the Jerk with a Heart of Gold we all know and love from the TV show. It stuck, and his adventures with Frobisher and Peri show him as a kind, determined intergalactic hero.
- Alice Allusion: He features as the white rabbit in Peri's hallucination sequence.
- Early Instalment Weirdness: For the first story, the artist had no idea yet what the back of Six's coat looked like, and simply improvised.
- Friend to All Living Things: He has an impressive zoo in his TARDIS, and spends a lot of his adventures befriending various animals.
- Guile Hero: Having a companion who can shapeshift offers endless possibilities in this regard.
- Magic Music: Leads a group of renegade robots away from a city, Pied Piper style, with a grand musical number.
- Mr. Fanservice: Gets a bit of a Hot Springs Episode moment at the beach.
- Rogues Gallery: Josiah W. Dogbolter, Astrolabus, Vegar the Vengeful, Funhouse, Skeletoids, Cybermen, Kymbra Chimera, Seth, and Voord.
Tropes associated with the Virgin Missing Adventures
- Changed My Jumper: The Doctor wears a toga when visiting an alternate Rome in State of Change, and later dresses as a gladiator, although he takes the time to return to his usual attire once he returns to the TARDIS before the final confrontation.
- Cruel to Be Kind: In Burning Heart he spends the first few minutes after they land being an absolute dick to Peri so she'll be too pissed off and distracted to go crazy from culture shock.
- Jerkass Realization: The Doctor has one in Burning Heart when he realises that he’s been so harsh to Peri recently because he subconsciously blames her for the death of his previous self, the novel concluding with him apologising to her and affirming that he’s glad he saved her.
- Rogues Gallery: Ashley Chapel, Avron Jelks, Cybermen, the Great Intelligence, High Churchman Garon, Krllxk, & the Rani.
- Took a Level in Badass: An interesting example in State of Change; while the Sixth Doctor normally isn’t that good at hand-to-hand combat, a unique set of circumstances allow him to let his third incarnation’s persona essentially take control of his body, allowing him to fight trained Roman soldiers to a standstill and even outmanoeuvre the current champion gladiator during a confrontation in the Colosseum.
Tropes associated with BBC Past Doctor Adventures
- Been There, Shaped History: Players in particular sees the Doctor assist in Winston Churchill’s escape from a Boer prison in 1899 and then work with Churchill in thwarting a complex Nazi conspiracy that would have seen Edward VIII dismiss the government and officially ally with Hitler in 1936; The Shadow in the Glass also sees the Doctor present in the Berlin bunker on the date of Hitler’s suicide.
- Birds of a Feather: Peri in particular notes that the Doctor has a great deal in common with Winston Churchill.
- Changed My Jumper: Averted in Players, The Shadow in the Glass and Blue Box, when the Doctor changes into more conventional attire as part of a long-term investigation into current events (although in Blue Box he returns to his regular attire as soon as the situation escalates).
- A God I Am Not: The Quantum Archangel sees the Doctor temporarily ascend to a god-like state using the last dregs of a source of cosmic energy, but he rejects the idea that he is worthy of this power and only uses it long enough to convince the titular Quantum Archangel to abandon her own power.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The Doctor almost has a breakdown in The Quantum Archangel when his interference accidentally escalates a minor conflict he was trying to prevent into a global nuclear holocaust, with the failure being so great that current companion Mel nearly decides to leave him; the entire conflict is erased at the conclusion of the novel as a few higher-dimensional beings decided that they owe the Doctor a favour, but he has to acknowledge that it still happened even if it didn’t any more.
- Rogues Gallery: Adolf Hitler Jr., Autons, Glavis Judd, Lai-Ma, the Master, Monica Lamprey, Nestene Consciousness, the Players, Sarah Swan, Tko-Ma, & the Valeyard.
- Unskilled, but Strong: The novel Instruments of Darkness mentions that the Doctor has some telepathic potential, but he doesn’t use it very often due to his lack of training, with another telepath musing that it’s a shame he hasn’t explored this trait.
Tropes associated with Big Finish
(In)famous for being a darker and grittier Doctor, Six is allowed to grow as a character in Big Finish and expand beyond his unstable origins of the TV show. He's still an insufferable know-it-all with a fondness for creative insults and poor fashion sense, but with plenty of Lampshading and alternative clothing this time around, and his travels sees him gradually mellow out him a bit. His new adventures notably show a kindness and depth that often was not there in the series.
- Adaptation Decay: A victim of this In-Universe. In an alternate timeline, the Doctor became Earth's greatest hero after saving it from a Dalek invasion in 1903. In 2003-A, action figures and movies about his exploits are available for mass consumption. The movie version of the Doctor is a ripped, catchphrase-spouting jackass who snogs a Younger and Hipper Evelyn.
- Arch-Enemy: The audios give further development to the animosity the Sixth Doctor had with Davros and the Valeyard in the television series. The Valeyard even serves as the Final Boss of the Sixth Doctor's life.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Iris Wildthyme, quite a bit more strongly than she manages with most other incarnations of him. The fact that her future self manages to hypnotise him into fancying her in "The Wormery" certainly helps.
- Big Damn Kiss:The Doctor: If I was really a Time Lord, would I do... THIS? [grabs Sally-Anne into a deep kiss]
Monster of the Week: [absolutely stunned] Noooooo. No. No. No. A Time Lord certainly wouldn't do that!
- Break the Haughty: His stories with Peri tend to be light-hearted and have very little Character Development. His Story Arc with Evelyn, however, gradually breaks him. "Jubilee" is the first story to really properly traumatise Six, after which "Arrangements For War" sees him emotionally going off the deep end. His main arc revolves around him being forced to come to terms with his crass and often flippant attitude and the severe consequences of his behaviour. Shortly after Evelyn leaves, Six has to work together with a younger version of himself, and he cannot stand said younger self's arrogance. The arguing, however, must be witnessed to believe.
- Changed My Jumper: A chronic offender with the infamous coat, but he has the good sense to change into more practical clothes at times. Notably, in his first story with Evelyn (i.e. the arc that was written deliberately to give him Character Development), he changes into a Third Doctor style velvet-and-ruffles ensemble for a visit to the Queen of England.
- From "Real Time" up until "The Wrong Doctors", Six is seen wearing a blue outfit that, while very similar in design taste to his normal outfit, is a series of tasteful and non-clashing blue hues. Really, it's quite nice. (Started out as a case of Limited Animation, since "Real Time" was also released as a semi-animated webcast. None of the artists involved felt like drawing Six's coat, so the blue hues were created as a compromise. The audio-only edition has a short scene to explain it: Six thought Evelyn wanted to see his "mourning" coat. She was curious about his morning coat.) He returns to his original coat after a version of Mel makes a wistful remark about missing the old one "her" Six wore.
- Character Development: Heaps. His stories with Peri have him very similar to the way he was in the TV series, but episodes taking place after that show a much softer side of him. He grows to care very deeply for Evelyn, and has no problem saying he loves her — as a friend — in "Real Time", pretty early on in their Story Arc.
- Cuteness Proximity: Unlike Five, who doesn't care for cats one way or the other, Six gleefully defaults to baby-speak when he's near them.
- The Dreaded: With a dash of Red Baron thrown in, the Sixth Doctor built himself a reputation so awful, that he was a being of enormous power that could create sinkholes swallowing armies whole called The Sandman. He did this to tame the awful Always Chaotic Evil Galyari race, a species that otherwise would wage war until nearly all life would be terrorized by it. He then made several trips into their respective future to ensure they stayed on the straight and narrow.
- Future Me Scares Me: Once Six has had enough Character Development to admit that he's a Jerkass, he also quietly reflects on how his next incarnation will not be very emotionally accessible either, from what he's seen. "Always blowing up planets."
- The Gloves Come Off: Faced with the Valeyard almost pulling off a successful Assimilation Plot upon Time Lord society, the Sixth Doctor chooses to both end his life and wipe out the last survivors of a race of telepathic microbes in order to ensure that the Valeyard and his plan goes down with him. The Valeyard calls him out on this, asking what that such an act would mean for the Doctor's "precious moral scruples". The Doctor grimly replies "They died with me," heralding his incoming successor's darker, colder, and more manipulative nature.
- Grand Finale: "The Last Adventure", giving him a desperately needed regeneration story where he had once been ousted from the show without warning, finally proving that Big Finish has completely rescued his Doctor. He's also the only Doctor to have an audio finale as opposed to a televised final story, since former BBC controller Michael Grade got the drop on him.
- Heroic Suicide: Knowing that the Valeyard's Assimilation Plot against the Time Lord society hinges upon his existence, the Doctor does not hesitate to influence his past self into making a move that leads to him getting lethally injured. To add more to it, the Doctor was even in doubt whether or not he would able to regenerate his way out of that situation, but he went ahead and did it any way. Fortunately, his regeneration does trigger and turns him into his Seventh incarnation.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: Especially when frustrated or angry. In the "The One Doctor", one character remarks that talking to him is "like arguing with a bloody thesaurus!" Later in the same episode, he loses his willingness to debate altogether...Sixth Doctor: If I have to endure another insult—
Banto Zame: Oh here we go, another voyage 'round the English language...
- Hypocritical Humour: His "do as I say, not as I do" attitude is Played for Laughs with great frequency in Big Finish.Peri: Don't shout, Doctor! There might be—
Sixth Doctor: SHOUT?! I don't SHOUT! People who have to resort to shouting to get what they want are merely demonstrating THE INHERENT PAUCITY OF THEIR ARGUMENT! IT'S SOMETHING THAT I NEVER, NEVER—
Peri: All right, Doctor!!
Sixth Doctor: Point made, I think.
- "I Am" Song: In the Musical Episode "Doctor Who And The Pirates", he sings a truly fantastic Major General Song.
- I Hate Past Me: In "Sirens of Time", Six calls Five "tediously noble". To his face. However, in "The 100 Days of the Doctor", he finally cracks under duress and admits to Evelyn that he did actually enjoy his time as the Fifth Doctor, describing having been him like "being on holiday... a very wonderful holiday." He also confesses that his animosity towards that period of his life is not really aimed at Five himself, but rather how the universe treated him back then.
- Also played with in "The Wrong Doctors", where you have the Sixth Doctor encounter... the Sixth Doctor. The Sixth Doctor who's already been through his big emotional Big Finish Story Arc (distinguished by his blue outfit and calmer dialogue) finds his younger self to be pretty annoying.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Six takes more to alcohol than most Doctors, and has a fondness for hanging out in bars and pubs, sometimes to cope with tragedy.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Unlike the hard-to-see-but-still-there heart of gold seen in the TV series, Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor in Big Finish shows an incredible empathy toward his companions when the situation calls for it. Oh, he's still very much alien in how he expresses it, but his treatment of Dr. Evelyn Smythe shows the change of his character from his original premiere in the 1980s.
- Logical Weakness: How can this most verbose of Doctors talk his way out with an enemy that is language itself? ("...Ish")
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: In the aptly-titled 100 Days of the Doctor, an anonymous party announces that they've ordered a hit on the Doctor, now dying from a biological agent. The Doctor now has a hundred days to discover when and where he was struck with a microscopic needle....during his fifth incarnation. Factor in all the planets he's visited and every single person who might conceivably want to kill him..."Best get moving, especially since—oh dear. I've just felt a sudden twinge in my kidneys."
- "Not So Different" Remark:
- From Davros. The two get a few episodes together with fantastic verbal sparring, and the trope eventually culminates in a "Freaky Friday" Flip, of all things.
- During his brief Odd Friendship with "Bloody" Queen Mary I, he becomes quite terrified when he realises how similar they are.
- Orphaned Punchline: "Is that a sausage?!" This joke went over pretty well with an auditorium full of tweed. ("...Ish")
- Red Baron: He's something of a superstar in his own trade; that is, at the annual lexicographer's convention in "...Ish", where he is introduced by the emcee as a "master of English" and "a raconteur and bon vivant of bon mots!"
- Reunion Show: Though not limited solely to him, Six has a tendency of actually reuniting with companions and friends who travelled with his other incarnations. This includes Thomas Brewster, Jamie and Zoe, Henry Gordon Jago, George Litefoot, Charley Pollard, Romana, Leela and even Mike Yates. Peri and Mel get special mention; though they already travelled with the Sixth Doctor, Mel was reunited with him twice (both times a first meeting between either her or the Doctor before they started travelling in a more traditional manner), whereas Peri died and was reunited by way of a split-timeline duplicate, allowing her to travel with him. It's all a bit of a nostalgia trip at times.
- Rogues Gallery: Axos, Beth Pernell, Carrionites, the Celestial Toymaker, Cybermen, Daleks, Daniel Hopkins, Davros, the Eminence, Ice Warriors, Joe Carnaby, Josiah W. Dogbolter, Krotons, Myriads, the Rani, Dr. Robert Knox, Silurians, Sil the Mentor, Sontarans, William Abberton, Wirrn, the Wishing Beast, the Valeyard, and Viyrans.
- Smug Snake: Pre-character development. He is as good as he says he is, but is still an obnoxiously arrogant and self-absorbed narcissist.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Weaponised a few times over.
- Shout-Out: This version of the Doctor develops quite the habit of quoting poetry when he's feeling philosophical. It's especially noticeable after his Character Development during his adventures with Evelyn.
- Stealth Pun: Extremely fond of them, often in the middle of a hurricane of more obvious puns.
- To the Pain: In "The 100 Days of the Doctor", the Doctor suffers through a slow-motion assassination after being injected with a synthetic, sentient virus.
- The Valeyard does it again to him in "The Brink of Death", even extending the time he has left to watch him squirm some more. Big mistake, as gives the Doctor the opportunity to turn the tables on him.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He's plenty mean towards Peri just like in the TV series, but when he meets Evelyn (after Peri leaves the TARDIS), she mellows him out a lot with her no-nonsense attitude, her warm demeanour and her chocolate cakes. The fact that Big Finish insists on breaking Evelyn over and over certainly helps, and she and Six become very emotionally close in the process. By the time he unexpectedly runs into his old self (in a bit of time travel mishap involving Mel), the contrast is very noticeable.
- His treatment of Peri did shift slowly over the course of his time with her - very slowly, but it was there. The difference becomes far more pronounced, however, once he's reunited with a split-timeline version of her and they begin travelling. She and Six still have legitimate grievances with one another, but they get along far better than before.
- Torture Porn: "Jubilee" sees him broken more thoroughly than any other Doctor in any episode. In the alternate timeline he loses his mind, his best friend and his legs, and that's just the start of it. When the Evelyn from the original timeline meets him, she is shaken to the core, and the memory flashes of the merged timelines hit Six, he's none too well adjusted to them.
- "Project: Lazarus" also revels in the trope.
- Won the War, Lost the Peace: A future version of the Sixth Doctor fought to liberate Britain from Daleks, a struggle which ended with the lone Dalek survivor agreeing to a cultural exchange. Flash-forward a hundred years, when the despotic British Empire has monopolized the Daleks' technology to conquer the world. The war is a historical footnote, mere fodder for B-grade movies and crass pageantry. It becomes clear by the end of the story that mankind has come to resemble the Daleks (as intended, it turns out).