Home Classic Doctor Who Happy Birthday to Who? – 8th June: Colin Baker

Happy Birthday to Who? – 8th June: Colin Baker

6th Doctor Colin Baker

The Caves of Androzani dramatically ended with the Fifth Doctor sacrificing himself for his new companion Peri. Collapsed on the floor of the TARDIS, he regenerated in a bright burst of light…

But when The Doctor regained consciousness, a rather different man sat in his place. It was change, my dear – and it seemed not a moment too soon!

Colin Baker, aka The Sixth Doctor, celebrates his 74th birthday today. However, he actually made his first Doctor Who appearance in a different role entirely. In The Arc of Infinity he played Commander Maxil, and had the rare honour of shooting The Fifth Doctor. Jokingly, Baker claims this moment was how he got the part of The Sixth Doctor. Colin returned in the title role from 1984 to 1986, from The Twin Dilemma to the epic season-long The Trial of a Time Lord. Baker’s Doctor was an unusual beast, far more rude and brash than his previous regenerations. He also had more violent tendencies which led to many feeling lukewarm to his character at first. Thankfully, time has fared well for The Sixth Doctor. Many fans now look back and appreciate his darker take on the role. But we can all agree he had the most ludicrous outfit ever!

“What’s the use of a good quotation if you can’t change it?”
Colin Baker as Commander Maxil in 1983's The Arc of Infinity
Colin Baker as Commander Maxil in 1983’s The Arc of Infinity

There were many disputes and uncertainties surrounding Baker’s era in the TARDIS. Most famously, he did not return for his own regeneration scene into Sylvester McCoy. Nevertheless, he still starred in some memorable serials. Classic Sixth Doctor adventures include Vengeance on Varos and Revelation of the Daleks, and he even had the privilege of teaming up with Patrick Troughton in The Two Doctors. Colin also reprised his role for Dimensions in Time and several Big Finish audio stories. One of these – The Last Adventure – finally provided a heroic exit to his tenure.

Baker also played an instrumental part in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot and has appeared in many other television roles. These include numerous dramas and a notable appearance in the 2012 series of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

Please join us in saying three (or six?) cheers to Colin Baker on his special day. Happy Birthday, Sixie! We’ll raise a glass of carrot juice in your honour – and we promise we won’t play “Doctor in Distress” at the party…!

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