Saturday, July 7, 2007

Colin Baker: The Sixth Doctor

Colin Baker (born London, June 8, 1943) is an English actor who is best known for playing the sixth incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running science fiction television series Doctor Who, from 1984 to 1986.

After appearing in For Maddie with Love, Baker made his first appearance in Doctor Who as Commander Maxil in the story Arc of Infinity. Baker's performance as Maxil was described by producer John Nathan-Turner as being "quite arch" and a little sassy. Despite this, Baker's character became one of the few characters to actually shoot the Doctor, then played by Peter Davison.
When Baker was officially cast as Davison's successor, he became the only "Doctor" actor to have appeared in the television series as another character prior to taking on the leading role. (On audio, David Tennant has appeared in several Big Finish Doctor Who plays prior to appearing as the Doctor on television in 2005.) When Baker was cast to replace Davison, many fans cited that shooting scene in Arc of Infinity, prompting Baker to say jokingly that he got the part of the Doctor by killing the incumbent. Colin is of no relation to Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who for seven years.
Baker's first appearance as the Doctor occurred at the final minutes of The Caves of Androzani, where he delivered his first few lines. The closing title sequence for episode four featured Baker's face instead of Peter Davison, and credits him as the Doctor before Davison's own credit. This was the first (and, to date, only) time that the new lead received top billing in the final story of an outgoing Doctor. Baker then made his first full story debut the following week in The Twin Dilemma. It was the first time since 1966 that a new leading actor's debut story was shown before the conclusion of the previous lead's season.
Baker's era was interrupted by a long 18 month hiatus between seasons 22 and 23, officially because the show was moved back from the spring to the autumn schedule. The Controller of BBC One at the time, Michael Grade, criticised Doctor Who, saying that the programme had become overly violent and its storylines farcical during season 22 in 1985. After the 18-month hiatus, the program was brought back for its 23rd season in autumn 1986. Season 23 featured a reduction of episodes produced, and the 14 episode long serial The Trial of a Time Lord was felt by some fans to reflect the fact that the series itself was "on trial" at this time. Many fans have drawn an analogy between the Doctor's trial and the programme itself which, at the time, was under threat of cancellation (although the BBC had on many occasions denied that this was the case).
Ultimately, Baker was dismissed from the part at the insistence of BBC management, who wanted to refresh the show. With only eleven stories and just short of three years as the incumbent Doctor, Baker remained the "current Doctor" for the shortest time until Christopher Eccleston in 2005, and he had the least amount of screen time in the role until Paul McGann in 1996. However, he had stated that he had intended to remain in the role of the Doctor long enough to break Tom Baker's seven year record.
The 6th Doctor Opening

The 6th Doctor Episodes

Season Twenty-One - 1984
The Twin Dilemma

Season Twenty-Two - 1985
Attack of the Cybermen
Vengeance On Varos
The Mark of the Rani
The Two Doctors
Revelation of the Daleks

Season Twenty-Three- 1986
The Trial of a Timelord:

The Mysterious Planet
Terror of the Vervoids
The Ultimate Foe

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