Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The 13 Faces of The Doctor: The Sixth Doctor

Week Six! : 'The 13 Faces of the Doctor'
The Sixth Doctor never got a fair shot... 

This was the low point of the Classic Doctor Who run. Colin Baker literally burst from the remains of Peter Davison. He was loud, egotistical, arrogant, and dressed like a psychotic jester... and the writing was pretty god awful as well. 

This was the point in my life where I was going through my adolescent angst, discovering punk rock and girls; so I was drifting away somewhat, but I still gave it a shot. I tried... god, I tried. I remember watching'Vengence on Varos' (Peri turning into some sort of bird... that was weird),  'The Two Doctors' (Patrick Troughton's last on screen Doctor Who appearance with Jacqueline Pearce from 'Blake 7' as one of the villains) and Revelation of the Daleks (with the disembodied head of Davros and... what the hell is Alexei Sayle doing there?), but I could never really get into the Sixth Doctor. There was the bad writing, the violence (The Doctor with a gun? Whhaaa...?), and the whole Trial of the Time Lord/Valeyard, which I'm just not going to get into.) 

Then there was the Sixth Doctor himself. He was deliberately unlikeable. Now, of course, there have been countless interviews where Colin Baker has commented that he never got to choose his costume (he wanted to wear black) as well as he never got to play out the arc that he wanted with the development of his Doctor. Playing up and calling back to the techiness of the First Doctor and then mellowing out over several seasons. Well... that chance was just never there. Changes to the format (episodes moved from about 23 to 45 minutes long) along with the bad writing and abrasiveness of the Doctor scattered fans; viewership dropped and it certainly didn't help that the head of the BBC hated the show and put it on hiatus for 18 months between Seasons 22-23... the end result was the Sixth Doctor being forcibly let go and replaced after 8 stories a little over two seasons.

The Sixth Doctor has gotten a sort of a second chance though in the Big Finish Audio series where he gets to play the Doctor as he would have liked it. The upshot of this is that his audios are some of the best written that Big Finish has produced ( I remember really liking 'The One Doctor.')

So, anyway... here we go...

'Planets come and go. Stars perish. Matter disperses, coalesces, forms into other patterns, other worlds. Nothing can be eternal' - The Mysterious Planet (1986)

The Sixth Doctor, Ink/Digital Color, March '14

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