Why You NEED to Give Old Sixie a Chance

I’ll tell you now; I am sick and tired of reading hate for Colin Baker and the 6th Doctor. Despite how unfairly treated he was during his time on Doctor Who, he has stayed extremely loyal to the show and it’s fans; yet lots of us still insist on expressing such a dislike for him. The 6th wasn’t a terrible Doctor and Colin Baker does nothing but attend convention after convention for the fans, so why do some insist on insulting him over and over again? I am desperate to address these fans so I hope this gets across to lots of people because it’s getting disgusting…

Before I watched any Classic Doctor Who, I got a book for my birthday called ‘The Legend Continues’ which is basically a massive guide to all of Doctor Who. This was the only knowledge I had of Classic Doctor Who, yet somehow it was put in my head beforehand that I wouldn’t like Colin Baker, so I stayed away. The only way I could’ve thought this was because it was common for other Doctor Who fans to say they thought he was a terrible Doctor. It’s almost like Doctor Who fans don’t even want to give him a chance. They want to fit in with other fans and so they arrogantly say they don’t like him. What I’m trying to get across here is that because a new fan to Doctor Who reads or hears that they shouldn’t like the 6th Doctor, they probably won’t; and this has gone on so long that people have convinced themselves they don’t like him and continue to voice their spiteful opinions to please the people around them.

What’s even more extraordinary about newer fans not liking Six’s era is that Season 22 has the same structure as the new series. 13 episodes, 45 minutes in length, and loads of classic villains; the Cybermen, Sil, The Rani, The Master, Sontarans, The Daleks, Davros. Surely this is a possible gateway into Classic Doctor Who, not ‘the season you should skip’?

Using the scene where the Doctor strangles Peri in The Twin Dilemma is not a valid reason as to why you do not like Colin Baker’s Doctor. This is one scene from one story where he is in an unbalanced post-regenerative state; this does not make him heartless and horrible. The reason this is not a valid excuse is because there are far more moments from Old Sixie’s era where his kindness and empathy counteract this one scene of unintention. Oh, and the coat is not a valid reason either.

While Doctor Number 6 was arrogant and sometimes overbearing, as I mentioned above he was also very kind and possibly the most empathetic Doctor of the lot. In Vengeance on Varos, when Peri was nearly transformed into a bird, she managed to survive thanks to the love and care that he showed her. In The Mark of the Rani, when the Doctor was about to be killed by the Luddites, rather than escape, the first thing he did was warn Peri to stay back because he’d rather have her safe than for her to risk her life trying to save him.

Colin Baker’s plans for the 6th Doctor were to start him off as someone less easy to get used before mellowing into a Doctor we’d know and love. For the second half of The Trial of a Timelord, the Doctor was joined by Mel and, love her or loathe her, she began to mellow him and we starting to see a new side to the 6th Doctor of less arrogance and more compassion. Colin Baker’s plans were starting to unfold nicely. However, his time was cut short for what seems to be personal reasons behind the scenes. For this reason, we never got to see the direction Colin Baker was heading in and so the fans were left with a slightly less likeable side to the 6th Doctor, hence the unjustified hate he gets today.

Now, this is where I really want to encourage anyone who still refuses to like the 6th Doctor to give him a chance. If you really believe you cannot stand him on television, then please please please try out his Big Finish audios. Colin Baker finally got a chance to take Old Sixie where he planned to in the first place and his Doctor is most definitely more bearable on audio. If you will stop being so arrogant and give some of his TV adventures a first/another try, then rather than watch them in order, perhaps watch Revelation of the Daleks and The Two Doctors. Revelation is a fantastic story and so by the end, because the story was good, you might begin to subconsciously like him (plus this story is actually his best performance in my opinion). The Two Doctors on the other hand is where we see him fighting Sontarans with the 2nd Doctor and Jamie. Familiar enemies and familiar faces that you love already may detract from your dislike of Colin’s Doctor and, like Revelation, by the end you might think to yourself “actually, that wasn’t so bad after all”.

I hope I haven’t come across as too unpleasant and angry and, like Old Sixie, I’ve mellowed throughout the article. It’s just it makes me so livid when I read the same generic comments about the 6th Doctor that have clearly been written because the writer has been too sheep-like to form their own opinion. Colin Baker plays the Doctor just as well as the others, but only if you’re willing to give him a chance…

Next: Vote for your favourite stories in Season 4 and Series 2 


4 thoughts on “Why You NEED to Give Old Sixie a Chance

  1. I’ve met Colin Baker at three different conventions here in the US and he’s a fantastic guy. His Big Finish work is sterling from The Marian Conspiracy, The Holy Terror, Jubilee, Davros, Medicinal Purposes and Blue Forgotten Planet amongst many, many others and his Doctor is a highlight of what the audios have done in terms of character development. That fact though rather highlights a point though: even Colin Baker himself wasn’t happy with how his Doctor was presented on TV and it was him that really pushed Big Finish to do something else with that character (as detailed in Big Finish’s 2003 book The New Audio Adventures – The Inside Story).

    I’d also have to disagree to a certain extent about Season 22 being a possible gateway for New Series fans on the basis of its 13 episode, 45 minute format and villains alone. Yes it has the same season length and episode format as the New Series but most certainly not the pacing one might come to expect from the New Series plus even by the admission of both Eric Saward and John Nathan-Turner in different places the change in format wasn’t a success with writers and directors struggling to make the longer episode length work. Yes there’s plenty of classic villains in Season 22 but Attack Of The Cybermen is overly reliant on previous Cybermen stories to try and hold it together (keep in mind as well that close to two million people walked away from its first episode and never came back to show at all) and Revelation Of The Daleks is almost a Doctor-less story for much of its length (perhaps down to Saward thinking Colin Baker had been mis-cast). None of that’s to put Colin Baker or the Sixth Doctor down but I think it shows that both the actor and the character deserved far better than they got even before higher ups at the BBC decided it was time to get rid of both.

  2. Great defence of the 6th Doctor! He’s not my favourite of the Doctors for sure (not being arrogant, just a personal preference) but his serials do improve with repeated viewings and Colin himself is a great actor, given some difficult aspects of the Doctor to approach (which he did brilliantly). I struggle with the way both Doctor #3 and #6 treat their companions at times, but again this is a preference thing. I would always encourage a new fan to watch all the Doctors, and every era has it’s good and bad. Amongst ‘real fans’ I’ve noticed it’s almost impossible to criticise the 6th Doctor now, it’s gone to the other extreme. It’s about keeping an open mind and enjoying things (or disliking things) in your own way I guess. Thanks again for an interesting and well written story.

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