Having trouble with the Sixth Doctor on TV

I want to preface this by saying since this post is about my struggling this era of the show, so its not very positive about it. I appreciate that there are people who enjoy this era of the show, I think thats great, to each their own, please don’t take this as me thinking its irredemably awful, its just not for me so far, but if its for you, I think that’s great

So I’ve been slowly working through Classic Who for a number of years now through a mix of watching stories with my uni’s WhoSoc and going through chronologically on my own, and everything I have left is either a Sixth or Seventh Doctor story (or missing), but I just do not like Six’s era and it’s becoming a real struggle. I finished the Twin Dilemma today after having to watch each episode weeks apart because every time I finished one I had no desire to continue with the next, it was truly awful and so boring, I basically just zoned out for part 4.

Beyond that I’ve not enjoyed any of the Sixth Doctor stories I have seen try as I might. I mean I’ve liked them more than the Twin Dilemma but that is hardly a high bar. Of the stories I’ve seen, I liked the first half of Attack of the Cybermen before the Telos bits, and Two and Jamie are always great for the Two Doctors. (I have also seen Revelation of the Daleks, but I need to rewatch it when I get there), but the problem is i still haven’t liked any of them, they just do not seem to be working for me.

Next on the agenda for me is Vengeance on Varos which I believe is one of the better regarded ones, but given my track record with Six my hopes aren’t very high. Honestly if it wasn’t for the completionist in me I would probably just skip over the era, and I probably should, because watching my favourite show shouldn’t feel like homework. The only reason I haven’t already is because I would like the last episode I watch for the first time (barring animations) to be one I know I’ll enjoy, and I know I’ll have that if I save the Seventh Doctor because aside from Time and the Rani I have loved every story of his I’ve seen.

(also I know its not the Sixth Doctor in general, because I’ve listened to Whispers of Terror and The Marian Conspiracy and I really liked them)

Umm yeah basically, any thoughts, advice, or words of encouragement or sympathy would be greatly appreciated


This era of Who is a mixed bag. The ideas are there but they are executed poorly, or below par for Who, While it does get better with 7 a lot of the momemtum the 5th had been working off from the 4th kinda dies off. I admit to it having been 10+ years since i saw any 6 there are moments here and there. The way the schedule, show runner and lower budget played into the decline is a real sad moment for Who.

In my opinion, with the state of Who at this period, the forcing out of 6 and the changing tastes of the late 80s, it was inevitable that Who would be cancelled.


You are by far not the only one to struggle with this era - I am sure you know that there’s a vast number of people who write ol’ Sixie off altogether because of the TV stories. Personally, I’m a big Six era fan - don’t know why, exactly, but the stories really work for me, and I adore Colin on audio, I think he’s fantastic.

I’d say hang in there for Trial of a Time Lord. That’s definitely the best lot of Six stories, but even if it doesn’t work for you, at least there aren’t too many. Sometimes you just have eras that don’t work for you, and nothing you can do can make it work for you. (For me, that’s Five, alas :confused:)


On audio, other than 8, he is the best one. His stories play into the brash, bossy 6 persona well. And he is someone that can work without a companion well. Not often do you find yourself wondering where one is unlike some of the others.


I will happily agree that the Sixth Doctor’s era on TV has its fair share of problems. I get what they’re going for (or at least has been suggested they were going for) and think it was done much better when it was loosely emulated in the Capaldi era. If it helps, I’d suggest watching some the special features as that may help explain what was going on behind the scenes. If it’s any consolation, I’m not that big a fan of Eric Saward whose idea of Doctor Who and sci-fi in general seems to be dark, violent and edgy with Bond-esque quips and high body counts. It also doesn’t help that the BBC either didn’t care or actively disliked the show (as evidenced by the near cancalation between Seasons 22 & 23).


I understand the struggle. I recently rewatched Attack of the Cybermen and it was… ok… but not necessarily a good story. It has moments that are good, but just fails for me mostly. I remember liking Vengeance on Varos. I lost interest in Mark of the Rani. HATED Timelash! Oh, it’s awful. Not even “so bad it’s good” - just bad. The Two Doctors, last I saw it, was kinda weird. But alright. And I actually did enjoy Revelation of the Daleks - good story. Trial of a Timelord is a mixed bag for me. Overall, it’s fine. Good moments but eh.

Now Six on audio? AMAZING! So good! Jubilee, Marian Conspiracy, Holy Terror, The One Doctor. He’s fantastic.


Varos and Revelation are two of Six’s most highly regarded serials even amongst those who dislike the rest of his era. I think it’s safe to say, if you don’t like those, you probably won’t like the rest (at least not at this present time).

You’re a completionist, so you’ll ultimately watch all of the serials anyway, but if you come out of it still not liking the era, it’s not that big of a deal—and I’m saying this as a Six Super Fan. I have a small handful of Doctors whose eras I find a complete slog to watch, so I don’t bother with them. You don’t have to force yourself to like something you don’t find enjoyable. And who knows, in a few months or years you might stumble upon a Six serial, try it again, and end up being genuinely entertained.

Don’t worry about it.


Yes the era seems to consist of Saward’s “dark, violent & edgy” colliding awkwardly with JNT’s stunt casting panto vibe - it’s not my favourite run either although I did like Vengeance on Varos & Mark of the Rani (Timelash & The Twin Dilemma being my least favourites). But I agree that most of the Colin Baker audio stories I have listened to are great.


The problem with the Sixth Doctor’s era is that it’s too short, being a victim of circumstances beyond the control of the production team (circumstances called Michael Grade :wink: ).

Therefore, the selection of stories we have doesn’t maybe have enough for the balance present in other eras to work out. Every era has stories as bad as Timelash, it’s just that there are more better stories to balance them out.

Vengeance on Varos and Revelation of the Daleks are both really good stories with some great characters and concepts within them. The Mark of the Rani is a pretty traditional Doctor Who story and gives us the Rani and a ‘celebrity’ historical which is actually the first for quite a long time. The Two Doctors is possibly too long but Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines are wonderful to have back and the location work is gorgeous.

The Trial of a Time Lord is a great idea (although maybe not executed perfectly), again with some great character performances- it gives us Sil, the Inquisitor, the Valeyard and the Vervoids - and Terror of the Vervoids is a fun murder mystery and has some cracking cliffhangers.