5th Doctor Colin Baker - The Sixth Doctor 7th Doctor
 The Twin Dilemma - The Trial of a Time Lord (Part 14)
Colin Baker
The Sixth Doctor
(1984 - 1986)
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 After the almost unassuming nature and appearance of the Fifth Doctor, his replacement following his death by Spectrox Toxaemia made a shockingly vivid contrast in terms of personality and appearance. While the Fifth Doctor had commonly worn a rather casual cricket outfit with a long coat, the most distinctive thing about his appearance being a stick of celery, the Sixth Doctor made no attempt to fade into the background, his common choice of clothing being a long multi-coloured coat that looked like it had been thrown together from a variety of random materials, apparently intended by the producers to represent his ‘fractured and unstable psyche’, the only actual patch of sanity in his wardrobe being his white shirt.
The Twin Dilemma
The Twin Dilemma
Although he occasionally varied this clothing by wearing an all-blue version of the coat on some occasions after spending more time in this incarnation - even wearing relatively normal clothing while spending time in England in 1936 to investigate historical interference ("Players"), tracking an alien computer system ("Blue Box"), or participating in a British attempt to infiltrate a Nazi mission in 1944 ("The Shadow in the Glass") - in general the Sixth Doctor’s clothing is best described as resembling a hippie bus that crashed into a paint factory, frustrating many of his companions due to his apparent refusal to accept that his clothing commonly attracted the wrong kind of attention and apparently completely convinced that he genuinely looked good.

  The Doctors’ refusal to blend in physically is further reflected by his more outgoing, vocal personality, generally being seen as the loudest Doctor, expressing his own opinions to an extreme greater than any of his other selves, loudly proclaiming quotes and discoveries or making reference to past trips while other Doctors would have just casually dropped them into the conversation. While the Fifth Doctor rarely lost his temper expect in particularly extreme circumstances, the Sixth was known for much of his first year for engaging in more than the occasional vocal confrontation with his companion Peri, the two regularly arguing about everything from The Doctor’s occasionally selfish behaviour to Peri’s use of her ‘barbaric’ New Englandisms ("...ish"). He also regularly engaged in debates with his companions, such as when he told his companion Evelyn Smythe that historians by their very nature would never be able to reveal the truth as history was always written by the victors ("Jubilee"), or when he gave a group of Cambridge scientists elaborate lectures about the nature of time and the universe after discovering that they had created a machine - the TITAN Array - which would allow them to observe the higher dimensions of reality ("The Quantum Archangel").

The Twin Dilemma
The Twin Dilemma
  Part of the reason for this Doctor’s more ‘in-your-face’ personality doubtless ties in to his ego. While his past incarnations had never been entirely humble, with the Second Doctor proclaiming himself a genius more than once and the Fourth Doctor stating ‘Even I am occasionally wrong sometimes’ ("Genesis of the Daleks"), this Doctor displayed an exceptional ego from the beginning of his life. Unlike his other selves, who initially expressed dissatisfaction or uncertainty about their new faces after their regenerations and took a while to get used to them, the Sixth Doctor immediately began to praise his new appearance, regarding it as ‘beaming with a vast intelligence’ and dismissing his previous self as possessing a ‘feckless charm’ that wasn’t him ("The Twin Dilemma"), later expressing frustration with his second self after he was captured by the Sontarans ("The Two Doctors"). He generally demonstrated a supreme confidence in his abilities, once stating that he could easily blend in when attempting to infiltrate a Nazi base despite his outrageous clothing on the grounds that he assumed the attitude of a man who deserved to be there and knew it ("The Shadow in the Glass"), and on another occasion feeling let down that he couldn’t even think about how great he was because he was in the presence of a telepath ("Instruments of Darkness"). Although it should be noted that his faith in abilities may not have been a significant exaggeration, given that he was the first Doctor to repair the chameleon circuit, the fact that he reset it to the police box shape when the TARDIS’s new forms still refused to blend in to their surroundings - and sometimes even made it hard to find the door - does detract from the scale of this accomplishment ("Attack of the Cybermen").

  Even his choice of companions further reflected his unwillingness to fade into the background, one of this Doctor’s companions being the shape-shifting Whifferdill known as Frobisher, a private detective from a distant colony who nevertheless spent much of his time as a penguin because he found it ‘relaxing’. He also spent a great deal of time in the company of the equally-strong-willed history lecturer Evelyn Smythe (In another contrast to his usual companions, Evelyn was in her late forties when she joined The Doctor while traditional companions were only in their twenties), recognising in her a personality easily as strong as his own and a personal strength that belied her age.
Attack of the Cybermen
Attack of the Cybermen
Although this often resulted in conflict between the two of them - most notably when she attempted to leave history as it was after the two of them apparently witnessed the birth of Julia instead of Julius Caesar ("100 BC"), although matters were later resolved when it was revealed that they had actually gone back in time rather than forward when attempting to see the birth, and had hence witnessed the birth of Caesar’s virtually-unknown older sister - the two of them got along fairly well, The Doctor describing her as the most well-prepared and useful companion he’d ever had early on in her travels with him ("The Marian Conspiracy"), combing a strength of character with a personal warmth that allowed her to form fast friendships with such diverse figures as Charles Darwin ("Bloodtide") or Daft Jamie ("Medicinal Purposes"). While less resolute than Evelyn, his companion Peri was also known for catching attention, her beauty and strength of character earning her the attention - both appreciated and undesired - of many of the individuals they met on their travels, Peri always demonstrating a personal strength that allowed her to stand up even The Master and The Rani simultaneously ("Mark of the Rani"). Even temporary companion Claire Aldwych proved a worthy ally during her tragically short time with him, aiding The Doctor and The Brigadier in uncovering a conspiracy stretching back to the end of the Second World War and helping them track the location where The Fourth Reich had established their headquarters ("The Shadow in the Glass").

 On many occasions in this incarnation the Sixth Doctor could appear more heartless than some of his other selves (Although he preferred to think of himself as pragmatic, describing himself as being more rational and less outwardly sentimental rather than heartless ("Palace of the Red Sun")), increasing his reputation as possibly one of the most dangerous Doctors. Over the course of his life, The Doctor showed little hesitation in such actions as rigging a laser gun to fire at approaching soldiers before he was even aware of the nature of the situation he had found himself ("Vengeance on Varos"), beating an android to death with the TARDIS hat stand to stop it accessing the console ("Time of Your Life"), and even committed genocide to save Earth from the Vervoids (Although it should be noted that, as pointed out by the Eighth Doctor, they were merely an artificially-created life form rather than one that had evolved naturally into its current state) ("Terror of the Vervoids"). His most notable morally questionable act was in his dealings with the Galyari, a conquering race; to prevent them ever being a threat again, The Doctor was able to use an elaborate computer system to infuse the entire species with a racial memory of him as the monstrous Sandman, who stole the skins of Galyari children (The Doctor having taken the skins from corpses to properly interface with their tissue-sensitive computer systems) and who caused pain on sight (Due to the Galyari’s sensitive vision having trouble looking at The Doctor’s multi-coloured coat). However, his dislike of violence remained despite his occasional use of it, The Doctor urgently asking Tom Dekker - his temporary ‘bodyguard’ during a prolonged visit to 1936 - not to shoot a group of German agents who were following the two of them on a visit to Winston Churchill’s estate ("Players"), and teaching the newly-sentient robot Green-8 that one should only resort to physical violence when all other options were exhausted ("Palace of the Red Sun").

Vengeance on Varos
Vengeance on Varos

Following his trial on Gallifrey for meddling in the affairs of the universe, however, The Doctor mellowed significantly, his actions tempered by fear of becoming The Valeyard - a personification of the darkest aspects of his nature, created between his twelfth and final selves - to the extent that he briefly contemplated exiling himself to the planet Torrok to avert The Valeyard’s creation before another mission from the Time Lords forced him to recognise that he could not abandon the people of the universe that he had long ago vowed to defend ("Time of Your Life"). His time with Evelyn in particular seemed to help him mellow from his original attitude, The Doctor describing her as a steadying influence on him after her departure due to her willingness to challenge him on various issues. Although their relationship soured on occasion after he was unable to save Cassie Schofield from the ruthless vampire Nimrod ("Project: Lazarus"), Evelyn nevertheless continued to appreciate her time with him, constantly encouraging him to take action when he felt depressed ("Pier Pressure") and vocally defending The Doctor to the ruthless egotistical time-traveller Doctor Robert Knox when he claimed to be on a humanitarian mission in the past. ("Medicinal Purposes").

Revelation of the Daleks
Revelation of the Daleks

  Despite his occasionally brutal nature, The Doctor nevertheless retained his compassion when it counted. This compassion was particularly highlighted in his relationships with his companions; although he and Peri had a hostile relationship after his regeneration - The Doctor making an effort to overcome this after he recognised that he subconsciously ‘blamed’ her for the death of his fifth self ("Burning Heart") - he nevertheless showed great grief when he witnessed her apparent death during his trial, and was profoundly grateful when he learned that she had survived (Although he never actually travelled back to confirm her survival; as The Doctor told later companion Grant Markham, his guilt over Peri’s death was so strong that he preferred not to definitively find out as he could at least imagine that she was still alive if he didn’t know one way or the other). His pain at Peri’s loss was so great that it resulted in him leaving his later companion Grant Markham at the Bi-Al Foundation after Grant was nearly killed during one of their adventures when he linked his mind to a computer being attacked by a virus, the encounter leaving Grant bitter and rejecting The Doctor’s attempt to apologise even as he reminded The Doctor that he couldn’t hold himself personally responsible for what happened to those who chose to travel with him. The Doctor was also profoundly affected by the death of Claire Aldwych after she was killed by Nazis to serve as a substitute body for Eva Braun ("The Shadow in the Glass"), despite the fact that she had only travelled with him and The Brigadier for a brief period of time.

  As well as his compassion for his companions, the Sixth Doctor was very eloquent in showing his affection for other beings, spending a great deal of time during a crisis on the planet Esselven Minor helping a robot called Green-8 explore the sentience that he had accidentally evolved over the course of his long life ("Palace of the Red Sun"), as well as naming and conversing with a matter-manipulating entity that had been enslaved by his old friend/foe The Rani after she had simply treated it as a slave ("State of Change"). Even when faced with the powerful Cylox, who had destroyed entire civilisations simply because they were bored and playing games, The Doctor still mourned their deaths when they were killed by their jailer, recognising that the Cylox, for all their power and lack of compassion for other species, had been nothing but children ("Instruments of Darkness"). Although his compassion was particularly evident in this incarnation, his anger at injustice was also regularly expressed to great extent, as was most keenly demonstrated when The Doctor vocally condemned Rochester - the insane Prime Minister of Britain in an alternate timeline where Britain conquered Earth with Dalek technology - for his claims that he was only ‘pretending’ to be evil to avoid being killed by the Daleks who controlled others (It was never clear whether he believed that story or just used it to make himself feel better). The Doctor not only told Rochester that he had to act like a good man to be one, but later went on to address the British Empire in a televised broadcast to tell them that they had become worse than the Daleks as they had become monstrous killers without even the excuse that they had been ‘programmed’ as such, commenting that the humans and Daleks were now almost as bad as each other ("Jubilee").

The Mysterious Planet
The Mysterious Planet

  Despite his larger-than-life attitude, he sometimes appeared more fatalistic than some of his other selves, brooding on more than one occasion that he was doomed to die when faced with a problem that lacked any apparent villain for him to challenge, such as when the TARDIS appeared to run out of power in the Time Vortex ("Vengeance on Varos"), when he discovered evidence that suggested that a temporal embolism had allowed his second self to be killed while his own existence remained - thus creating a paradox that could destroy the universe in a few centuries - (Although the Second Doctor’s ‘death’ was later revealed to be a deception) ("The Two Doctors"), or when he discovered what appeared to be his own grave on the planet Necros ("Revelation of the Daleks"). Although this personality trait reached its peak when he once contemplated suicide ("Killing Ground") to avert the existence of the Valeyard, The Doctor became more comfortable in his life as time went on, his bleaker moods limited to a period of depression after a ‘couple of misadventures’ ("Pier Pressure"), baring the occasional minor brooding session when faced with such problems as failing to find a question that the super-computer Mentos would be unable to answer ("The One Doctor"). A particularly dark period for him occurred after he accidentally triggered a nuclear war on the planet Maradnias, The Doctor briefly contemplating settling down on a single planet to cope with his grief before The Master’s attempt to tap into the Lux Aeterna forced him back to action, culminating in the Chronovores and the Eternals undoing his visit to Maradnias as thanks for his assistance in restoring stability to the universe ("The Quantum Archangel"). Despite this, his occasionally bleak mood never hindered his appreciation for the smaller details that made life enjoyable and beautiful in the universe, ranging from appreciating his companion Evelyn’s chocolate cake recipes to enjoying a relaxing rest in the gardens of Esselven Minor ("Palace of the Red Sun").

  The Doctor eventually met his end when confronting The Lamprey, a being of great power that sought to devour all alternate timelines ("Spiral Scratch"). Reflecting this Doctor’s always larger-than-life personality, this crisis required him to ally himself with his own alternate selves, multiple versions of the Sixth Doctor - including a one-eyed Doctor in dark clothing from a reality where the Roman Empire never ended and a Doctor from a world where humans and Silurians lived together and even had hybrid children - banding together as the Lamprey began to devour alternate timelines to sustain her own bloated existence. With no other way to defeat her, The Doctors were forced to ‘overfeed’ her with their own chronal energy, countless alternate Doctors sacrificing their existences to preserve their universes from the Lampreys’ foul taint, the ‘prime’ Doctor - The Doctor we know - giving the last of his energy to hold the Lamprey down while his other selves focused their own energy against their foe. As the other Doctors returned to their original timelines, The Doctor, weakened and apparently aged by the chronal energy he had lost, returned to the TARDIS, putting the ship into hover mode so he could look at the universe one last time, the subsequent turbulence caused by The Rani’s tractor beam and the radiation around Lakertya injuring the already-weakened Doctor to the point where he was forced to regenerate ("Time and the Rani") (Although this regeneration was also influenced by a future version of The Doctor from a timeline where The Valeyard took over his body, the future Doctor ‘nudging’ his past self to travel towards Lakertya so that he would regenerate and thus shake off the Valeyard’s influence before it could take full control ("The Brink of Death")).

The Ultimate Foe
The Ultimate Foe

  Even after death, however, the Sixth Doctor’s legacy remained, his seventh self’s recollection of his past self growing increasingly corrupted as time went on. It was gradually revealed over time that the unborn Seventh Doctor - the aspect of the Dooctor that would be that resided in The Doctor’s subconscious - believing that the Sixth Doctor was approaching a point where he would have become the Valeyard after his meeting with Mel and the confrontation with the Vervoids, was responsible for the Sixth’s regeneration by deliberately steering him into The Rani’s tractor beam (Possibly some subconscious misinterpretation of the alternate Sixth Doctor’s memory of his alternate self), the Seventh's memory of his previous incarnation becoming so corrupted and twisted that, by the time of The Doctor’s twelfth regeneration, the Sixth Doctor’s mental representation in The Doctor’s mind would be used to create the Valeyard. Initially the Seventh Doctor attempted to prevent this by sealing and confining his sixth self in his mind with the aid of his other five past selves ("Head Games"), refusing to let him out from fear of what the Sixth Doctor might become. However, this ‘imprisonment’ ended when, after a near-death experience that resulted in him waking up in his own coffin ("The Room With No Doors"), the Seventh Doctor recognised that he was still The Doctor in all his incarnations, allowing him to forgive his past self’s sins and remove the guilt that would have led to the Sixth Doctor’s memory becoming the Valeyard, ‘purifying’ his memory of his previous self and restoring the Sixth Doctor to normal. This improved relationship was further reflected when the Eighth Doctor visited his former self ("The Eight Doctors"), recognising that his past self’s bluster concealed a man who genuinely cared about the universe despite his occasionally harsh attitude.

Book - State of Change
State of Change
(Christopher Bulis)
Book - Burning Heart
Burning Heart
(Dave Stone)
Book - Business Unusual
Business Unusual
(Gary Russell)
Book - Spiral Scratch
Spiral Scratch
(Gary Russell)
Audio - The Sirens of Time
The Sirens of Time
(Nicholas Briggs)
Audio - Whispers of Terror
Whispers of Terror
(Justin Richards)
Audio - Arrangements for War
Arrangements for War
(Paul Sutton)
Audio - The Raincloud Man
The Raincloud Man
(Eddie Robson)
Big Finish Productions

Colin Baker - The Actor
War and Peace
War and Peace (1972)
 Colin Baker was born in London in 1943, but his family soon moved north to Rochdale. His first experience of acting was in the 1954 Granada TV series My Wife's Sister. Colin Baker went on to attend St. Bede's College in Manchester, where he was invited to take part in their annual productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. He originally studied to become a solicitor but at the age of 23, he decided to change professions and enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) where he trained for three years.

On leaving LAMDA one of Colin Baker's first acting jobs was a supporting role in the 1970 BBC adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre's trilogy The Roads to Freedom. In 1972, he played Anatole Kuragin in a BBC serial adaptation of War and Peace. His most prominent role in the 1970s was as the villainous Paul Merroney in The Brothers, a role which he played from 1974 to 1976. Colin Baker also guest starred as ‘Bayban the Butcher’ in a 1980 episode of Blake's 7 - "City at the Edge of the World". Before becoming the Sixth Doctor in 1984 he played the part of Maxil in the Fifth Doctor story "Arc of Infinity". Colin Baker has the fame of being became one of the few characters to actually shoot The Doctor (and the only actor to then become Then Doctor). His last role, before joining Doctor Who, was that of Doctor Dudgeon in the 1984 adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s children stories "Coot Club" and "The Big Six" titled Swallows and Amazons Forever.

The Brothers
The Brothers (1974 - 76)
During his time in Doctor Who he appeared, as the Sixth Doctor in "A Fix with Sontarans" (A segment of the popular television program Jim'll Fix It) in 1985.Unfortunately during his time as the Sixth Doctor the show experienced, for the first time, an 18 month long hiatus. This was announced mid-way through transmission of his first full season. During this period one new Sixth Doctor story, "Slipback" was made for radio.

After his sudden departure from Doctor Who, after appearing in only 11 stories (the shortest run at that time), he returned to the theatre, appearing in highly successful runs of Corpse (1987) and Deathtrap (1988) as well as have having a four-month stint in the West End farce Run For Your Wife with Terry Scott in 1989 as well as a tour of the musical Privates on Parade in 1991. Television work included The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1993) and guest appearances in BBC's Casualty (1986, 1989 and 1998). In 1996 he appeared in an episode of The Famous Five which was broadcast on ITV. He also appeared in the first episode of Jonathan Creek (1997) and guest starred in Sunburn in 1999.

Blake’s 7
Blake’s 7 (1980)
His involvement with Doctor Who has continued – playing the Sixth Doctor again – first on stage, taking over from Jon Pertwee, in the highly successful 1989 UK tour of "The Ultimate Adventure" and then in the 1993 Children in Need special "Dimensions in Time". He also became a resident celebrity in 'Dictionary Corner' on the Channel 4 daytime quiz show Countdown.

He has also appeared or has been involved in a number of various Doctor Who documentaries and audio releases. He has also starred in the "Stranger" series of videos as well as the standalone "The Airzone Solution" - all produced by Bill Baggs (1991 - 1995).

Sunburn (1999)
 More recently, in 2005, he appeared in a sketch in the comedy Little Britain though sadly it was never used but can be seen in the deleted scenes special feature on the Little Britain Series 3 DVD.

  He can currently be heard reprising his role as the Sixth Doctor in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who Audio series along with previous and new companions and enemies.

He is currently married to actress Marion Wyatt and because of the death of his son Jack, in 1983, he is actively trying to increase the profile of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and has raised numerous funds for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. He became their Chairman between 1997 and 2005.
The Television Companions
Peri Planet of Fire (5th Dr story) - Trial of a Timelord (Mindwarp) Nicola Bryant
Jamie The Highlanders - The War Games (2nd Dr stories) & The Two Doctors Frazer Hines
Melanie Bush The Trial of a Timelord (Terror of the Vervoids) - Dragonfire (7th Dr story) Bonnie Langford
The Book and Audio Companions
The Brigadier The Past Doctors Stories & The Big Finish Audio Stories Nicholas Courtney
2nd Romana The Big Finish Audio Stories Lalla Ward
Grant Markham The Missing Adventures  
Frobisher The Big Finish Audio Stories Robert Jezek
Evelyn Smythe The Big Finish Audio Stories Maggie Stables
Claire Aldwych The Past Doctors Stories  
Charley Pollard The Big Finish Audio Stories India Fisher
Monsters & Villains
As with all Doctors, the Sixth Doctor found himself pitted against such classic foes as The Master, the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Sontarans, along with less recurring foes such as the Silurians or the Krotons. As well as these old foes, however, The Doctor also found himself confronting new adversaries, ranging from the sadistic slug-like Sil to his first encounter with his old school friend-turned-nemesis The Rani, along with more powerful foes such as the time-manipulating Players or the timeline-devouring Lamprey; a particularly noteworthy foe at this time was the secret son of Adolf Hitler. However, The Doctor’s most personal confrontation in this incarnation was unquestionably with The Valeyard, initially believed to be simply the prosecutor at his trial but later revealed to be his own dark side, seeking The Doctor ’s death to further his own existence.

Memorable Moments
The Valeyard
The Valeyard
 The Sixth Doctor’s most memorable confrontation in this incarnation was unquestionably the events of his trial, when he was dragged back to Gallifrey by the renegade High Council established after his previous incarnation’s rapid departure from his role as President, subsequently put on trial for meddling in the affairs of the universe. Determined to prove himself innocent even as the evidence presented by the Matrix conflicted with his own recollection of events - portraying him as showing callous disregard for the safety of his companions and taking violent action for no reason - The Doctor resolutely fought to justify his actions, culminating in a dramatic final confrontation between himself and The Valeyard, the prosecution for the trial, identified as none other than The Doctor’s own dark side, created by the renegade High Council as the ultimate weapon against The Doctor. Even against this foe, The Doctor prevailed and had all charges dropped, but he was left constantly haunted at the knowledge of what he might become, the existence of The Valeyard leaving him increasingly concerned about his future.

Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
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