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Feature
The Doctor Who's Who: A Guide To The Time Lord's Incarnations Through The Years
The Doctors profiled, vote for your favourite companion and the best episodes to watch

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The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker, 1984-1986)

COLIN BAKER
THE BOMBASTIC LOOSE CANNON

 

After the high-flying success of Tom Baker and Peter Davison, the era of the second man named Baker to wear the wacky colours of The Doctor is often considered a huge let-down. Part of that is down to the decidedly whiffy scripts on offer and the controversial choice to make the central figure even more of a blowhard than usual. Brash and arrogant, supremely confident in his ability and ready with a glib remark for anyone (or anything) that disagreed, Baker's Doctor cudgelled fans more than he soothed them. It's not the actor's fault: he did what he could with the material he had, but few of his stories stand out as particularly great. Later in his short run, he mellowed, but the damage was already done. The show was placed on the first of two hiatuses with Baker actually let go, and not even brought in to film his regeneration.
 


COMPANIONS

Peri continued over from Davison's time, but was shocked by the new man she met. She ended up with two finales: one dark and tragic, with her brain replaced by alien slug lord Kiv (revealed to be a fake), and another as a warrior queen, which was a bit silly. She was replaced by Melanie "Mel" Bush (Bonnie Langford) who was even more of a screamer. Around this time, the production team began to favour fewer companions in the TARDIS, and to incline towards younger women, something that has largely carried over to the current era.
 

Quick poll: Vote for your favourite Doctor Who companion


FIVE EPISODES TO WATCH

1 The Twin Dilemma
Classical themes blend with space-hopping adventure for the Sixth Doctor's introduction. And what a start! There are bizarre personality shifts and the choice of that outfit. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was 10 months before the show was seen again.

2 Vengance On Varos
With The Doctor in need of a rare ore to bring the TARDIS back up to full power, he journeys to a planet where executions are broadcast to keep the people in line. And what do you know, he and Peri get in trouble… This episode introduces slug man Sil (Nabil Shaban), who will become more important later on.

3 The Two Doctors
The Sixth and the Second Doctor meet as Troughton and Jamie are sent by the Time Lords on a secret mission. The current Doctor must save his past incarnation from being tortured to death, which would really be inconvenient for the whole timestream thing when you think about it.

4 Revelation Of The Daleks
Davros is back, this time fooling an entire planet into thinking he's a great healer while carrying out experiments to turn people into Daleks. The cad!

5 The Trial Of A Time Lord
This was a big experiment that ran one story (well, several linked tales) across one series of the show as the Doctor is put on trial for interfering in the affairs of the universe. It would be Baker's final story.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1
I might be missing something but shouldn't John Hurt be on the list as the 9th Doctor? More

Posted by CaptainAwesome on Thursday November 28, 2013, 13:53

2 This was great...
...although I guess **SPOILERS** (sort of) you'll have to re-arrange the numerical order now - and although it was a one-off, I would consider Sally Sparrow to be a companion, and definitely one of my favourites - such a shame that now Carey Mulligan has made it SO big, we're unlikely to see her reprise the role... well, not until the 2025 Children In Need special anyway More

Posted by christofurr on Monday November 25, 2013, 15:41

3 RE: Missed one
L: Morehumanthanhuman I'm not a massive Dr Who fan, but I fail to see why Paul Mcgann gets a mention as the 8th doctor and yet Peter Cushing played the character several times never gets a mention. I loved those films as a kid getting constant repeats during the summer holidays. Peter Cushing played A Doctor, not THE Doctor. And he only did it for 2 TV movies. While the two movies, Doctor Who and the Daleks, and Doctor Who: Daleks Invasion Earth were based on the television series, they are not considered as canon within the main, TV universe. Cushing's Doctor was a human inventor, not a Time Lord. He also invented and built his Tardis, rather then it being the product of Time Lord science. The characters name was also Doctor Who. Who being used as the family/surname, rather then just the title of The Doctor. More

Posted by GrizBe on Monday November 25, 2013, 00:05

4
livapr99. There WAS A Christmas Carol for the Doctor. It was called a Christmas Carol and aired on Christmas Day 2010 More

Posted by PaoloCorleone on Sunday November 24, 2013, 20:58

5 Missed one
I'm not a massive Dr Who fan, but I fail to see why Paul Mcgann gets a mention as the 8th doctor and yet Peter Cushing played the character several times never gets a mention. I loved those films as a kid getting constant repeats during the summer holidays. More

Posted by Morehumanthanhuman on Sunday November 24, 2013, 13:39

6
Nice handy article :) Also concur that The Girl In The Fireplace and Blink should be in the mix. Still don't understand why Moffatt's more intellectual approach to story-telling is often viewed negatively - beats the dumbed down approach of RTD's run (The Big Red Button Era). I would disagree with the comment on the 10ths Master - Jacobi was fantastic, Simms was pantomime dreadful! RTD's period was often camp, but Simm's Master was better suited to Adam West's Batman. Shame, as he is a great actor usually. More

Posted by sirvolkar on Sunday November 24, 2013, 11:54

7
until I saw the bank draft that said $8966, I be certain ...that...my father in law woz like they say truley bringing in money in their spare time on their apple laptop.. there neighbour has done this less than seventeen months and resently paid the dept on there mini mansion and bought a gorgeous Porsche 911. I went here,...JUMP85.COM More

Posted by RachelMcCarter9012 on Sunday November 24, 2013, 02:53

8 Love the article. But...
...it's DEREK Jacobi. Not David. More

Posted by wgfuzzydunlop1 on Friday November 22, 2013, 20:36

9
What about 'A Christmas Carol' for the Eleventh Doctor? Overall, though, a good article. More

Posted by livapr99 on Friday November 22, 2013, 18:25

10 Where's K-9?
You forgot the snooty dog thing. Both of them. More

Posted by Sean Alexander on Friday November 22, 2013, 17:23

11 Great Article
Fantastic piece this. Genesis of the Daleks from the Tom Baker era has to be my favourite Doctor Who story, even though I am a huge fan of the modern era shows. Despite the still somewhat wonky sets, Genesis was the first thing on television that showed me that a TV series could have real dramatic depth and still be entertaining. His moral anguish when on the brink of committing genocide is brilliantly played by Tom Baker, off an excellent script. More

Posted by Topper_Harley on Friday November 22, 2013, 00:48

12 Probably one of the best articles you've written for a while...
But I agree with the others. Girl in the Fireplace and Blink defiantely needed to be on the list for the 10th, and A Good Man Goes to War and Vincent defiantely for the 11th. More

Posted by GrizBe on Thursday November 21, 2013, 21:36

13 Great list but....
Great list but for me Girl in the Fireplace & Vincent and the Doctor are 2 of my favourites. Blink is a great episode too and well deserved to be on the list. More

Posted by casheliser on Thursday November 21, 2013, 20:19

14 Amazing Feature
But for the 11th Doctor, I feel "A Good Man Goes To War" should included. It perfectly shows eleven's wit and his amazing sense of showmanship, as well as his wrath. Best 11 episode in my opinion. More

Posted by tommyinglis on Thursday November 21, 2013, 19:23

15
Awesome list but there's an episode missing from Tennant's run in my opinion: the awesome Girl in the Fireplace; my favourite tenth stand-alone More

Posted by cahoopuk on Thursday November 21, 2013, 14:53

16
Excellent feature and beautifully presented. Thanks. More

Posted by TimEdwards on Thursday November 21, 2013, 13:57


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