So, quite frankly, I think Colin Baker got screwed over way too hard by the network.
See, the final part of the Doctor’s trial ends in a way that probably wasn’t planned on many levels. Veteran writer Robert Holmes was supposed to write the two parter that ended the trial, and he did finish the first part. Then he died and other writers had to try to figure out what he was going to do from there. The final result is…well, it is. The Doctor, still in the Matrix, takes on his evil future sort-of self the Valeyard, and ultimately prevails with some help from Mel, Glitz, and of all people, the Master. And since the Valeyard’s plan would have killed the Time Lord council, the Doctor’s actions get him off the hook. Heck, he even learns Peri survived and married BRIAN BLESSED. So, good news all around?
I mean, yes, the Valeyard survived all this and is the new Keeper of the Matrix. Yes, he is being set up as a future adversary. No, he never comes back on any episode of any show that I know of. And the Doctor, with Mel, gets back on the TARDIS complaining about the carrot juice he has to drink as part of Mel’s fitness program.
And that is Colin Baker’s last line in what he didn’t know at the time was his last episode of Doctor Who.
So, what went wrong with Colin Baker? He was a fan of the show, possibly planning to be the longest running Doctor in the show’s history. Yeah, his serials were maybe not quite so top notch compared to past Doctors, but he himself always put his all into whatever he was given, and he even had a good rapport with his first companion Peri. In fact, from what I have heard, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant have some really of the best Doctor Who audio plays from Big Finish.
By the by, I do have a little bit of Big Finish stuff planned.
But it goes back to what went wrong. Baker was one of if not the first Doctor who was denied the chance to input for his own costume, hoping to go for something much darker than the colorful calliope of clothing he actually wore. His first serial was a disappointment, and the network decided to fiddle with the time slot. It didn’t help that the traditional story structure didn’t work for extra long two-parters. Plus, by this point, the BBC would have just assumed canceled the show, and even more or less did so for a full year, so Baker did get the somewhat standard three years, but it was over two seasons with a year inbetween. Budget cuts and a general disinterest from the network did a number on the show, and Baker was fired by the network between seasons. He was asked to come back for a regeneration scene, but he declined.
Good for him.
Meanwhile, I write these posts way in advance. And here I am, finishing up the Sixth Doctor’s run and the Fifth Doctor’s stories haven’t all been published yet. That’s not a long run.
I am assuming by the time the Seventh Doctor’s episodes are finished, the Sixth Doctor’s stories will be going up, but we’ll see. The Seventh Doctor was able to ride out a few seasons running off whatever the BBC was willing to give it and it wasn’t much because by then, the network didn’t care to keep the show running.
So, maybe when I do the aforementioned Big Finish stuff, and if it is good, I may get some more and will need to check out the Sixth Doctor’s stuff. There were a lot of unrealized plans involving the Sixth Doctor that never came about, and despite his arrogance, high even by Doctor standards, he had a lot of potential, and if nothing else, Colin Baker (and Nicola Bryant) seemed to be doing the best they could with the material they were given. When the worst thing I can say about the pair is Peri’s accent was not very convincing, then we probably don’t have much to worry about.
So, with all that in mind, we move on to the next Doctor, a bit sooner than past Doctors might have allowed, but that’s how it went. And once again, here’s the next installment from that YouTube documentary I like tossing up when I get to the end of any Doctor’s tenure.
Well, that’s that. On to the Seventh Doctor.