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Doctor Who – Colin Baker

Posted by Big Boo on April 7th, 2008

Doctor Who - Colin BakerColin Baker took over the role of the Doctor from Peter Davison in 1984, unusually midway through a series rather than at the end (the only other to date is when Patrick Troughton took over from William Hartnell). The regeneration occured at the end of The Caves of Androzani in a fairly quick manner with little warning, much to the surprise of the Doctor’s assistant at the time, Peri (pictured).

This Doctor was far more flamboyant and argumentative than most, with brightly coloured yellow trousers and a patchwork quilt coat more befitting of a clown. Personally I never much cared for this incarnation of the Doctor, finding him loud and rude, although the blame can’t be laid at Baker’s feet for this, being a product of the writers at the time. I therefore have few memories of any of the stories starring Colin Baker.

Interestingly, Colin Baker appeared in the show before he became the Doctor, in the Peter Davison story Arc of Infinity. In it he stuns the Doctor with a gun, leading to the joke that he got the part by force!

Colin Baker initially hoped to remain as the Doctor for as long as possible, hoping to smash Tom Baker’s record tenure, but it was not to be. Instead, his era was the beginning of the end for the series as it stood at the time. The controller of BBC1 at the time, Michael Grade, had criticised the show saying it had become too violent and farcical, and he wasn’t particularly keen on Baker’s spin on the Timelord. A delay of 18 months between series also didn’t help, and when the show did return it had a reduced episode count and the entire series became one long story arc called The Trial of a Timelord (which I remember seeing long after it first aired, and found it funny that Linda Bellingham, the Mum from the OXO TV adverts, was the judge). Ultimately, BBC management decided to get rid of Baker, and he was replaced by Sylvester McCoy.

Another thing that didn’t help Colin Baker’s chance (in most peoples eyes) was the introduction of Bonnie Langford as his companion Mel. Bonnie had been a child actress opposite Denis Waterman in Just William, where her character had an annoying habit of screaming to get her own way. In Doctor Who, the screaming unfortunately returned. Bizarrely, we never see Mel’s first outing with the Doctor, instead she just suddenly appears at the end of Trial of a Timelord, and is presented as being his companion for an unspecified amount of time. Not wishing to appear mean to poor old Bonnie either, but the fact that Mel was supposed to be a computer programmer seems a little hard to swallow.

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