Ol' Sixie Appreciation

The 6th Doctor and his televised era has got a divisive influence among fans, less so his Big Finish era. Though it does seem as if it has been getting a lot more appreciation within fandom - as is right and proper :grin:

His decisive characteristic on screen can be described as deliberate, pragmatic, weaponised arrogance. Just as the 2nd Doctor underplayed his intelligence by acting child like, kind of foolish and rumbling his clothes to have his adversaries underestimate him, the 6th Doctor uses a brash arrogance to unnerve his enemies and have them misjudge him - his arrogance becomes a weapon as a rhetorical device. I think the 6th Doctor is genuinely arrogant for the worse in The Twin Dilemma but in realising how effective this attitude can be he continues to utilise it as a weapon towards his enemies while at the same time mellowing his arrogance towards his friends and allies.

Colin Baker’s mastery of pronunciation and inflection gives his bravado-like personality such depth in every scene he was in. Which is also why I love his Big Finish work, Colin Baker is a skilled actor, but I would definitely argue that his vocal performance is his strength.
Just listen to how he pronounces the word “predicament” in “The Power of the Doctor” when he finally reappeared on our screens. The punctuated inflection and the slightly increased volume of that single word is so utterly controlled - it still has a tinge of arrogance, but it is an arrogance based on kindness towards his future incarnation and as a tool to instill support in the 13th Doctor and push her forward.

Also, Colin Baker himself is just delightful, which has an influence on how his work is perceived. Art is meant to be consumed, processed and analysed by its observer, and as such art, and by extension it’s artist, has an influence upon us. Sometimes this is involuntary, sometimes it happens by group mentality absorption as is often the case on social media. A personal example of this is how I’ve shifted my opinion on the 10th Doctor and his era, I had no love for series 2 and 3, less so with series 4, but as I learned about David Tennant, his personality and opinions, I’ve come to appreciate parts of his era more.

One of the things that make me love Colin Baker as well was his reaction to Jodie Whittaker being cast as the first female Doctor. He went on Twitter with two separate tweets quoting his own era: “Change my dear, and not a moment too soon” and “She is the Doctor, whether you like it or not”.

Nostalgia, I think, is an important factor when talking about the 6th Doctor on TV. Just like the Star Wars prequel trilogy has been reevaluated over time, so it seems to be the case with the 6th Doctor.

Were there problems in his televised era? Absolutely. Seriously what was with the zoom-crashes of the Doctor’s face? Eric Saward’s love of dark gritty storytelling, preferably with trigger-happy mercenary types, was a kind of radical divergence from previous seasons - which combined with such a significant change from 5th to 6th Doctor could definitely grate on some viewers.
But there is a distinct difference in Colin Baker’s performances in early season 22 and The Trial of a Time Lord. Given a chance with an extra season I have no doubt that he would have an evolutionary arc as profound as the 12th Doctor. The 6th Doctor was indeed on his way to being kind.

I could seriously write a dissertation on the phonology, linguistic pragmatics, discourse and sociolinguistic aspects of the 6th Doctor and his evolution, there is just so much to dig into with an academic approach.

TL;DR: Colin Baker good! :tardis:

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And can I just say that I love that it is the 6th Doctor who solves both problems in James Goss’ delightful “Doctors Assemble!” on the Doctor Who: Lockdown YouTube, by sending pictures of cats :grin:

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He’s my favorite classic Doctor and 6+Peri are a severely underrated duo

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I do like 6, and rather feel like Twin Dilemma was him at his worse. He was great in The Trial of a Timelord, for example.

And I remember Colin Bakers tweets when Jodi was cast and loved them.

I rather regret he didn’t get more time on the screen with Mel, as they were good together…

(Also worth noting that I loved Sil and Sabalon Glitz, both mostly from his era…)

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I found this glorious fanart from Jodie’s announcement:
(Sorry, reverse image search can’t tell me the artist)


I printed it out, laminated it and am using it as a bookmark :grin:

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I tend to be really good at finding things…

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That you are :slightly_smiling_face:

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Colin Baker is SUCH a lovely guy and he’s easily my favourite classic Doctor on audio (not counting Eight). His voice is just so pleasant to listen to and his acting always feels so natural on audio - that and his audio stories are, by and large, brilliant. That said, I do like his TV stuff too - people who dislike Trial were clearly watching something different to me because I really love it.

tl;dr couldn’t agree more, Six deserves a way better reputation than he has

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Coincidentally, I was reading an old Celestial Toyroom or something (it was saved on my phone and I was on a long tube journey) and it was looking at contemporary reviews of Colin’s first story in various fanzines (written by people like Paul Cornell and Peter Anghelides). They all absolutely loved the new Doctor and foresaw great success for him. It’s interesting how fickle fandom then turned against the era and his Doctor because at the start they saw a lot of what they wanted - Hartnell’s crotchetiness, Baker’s alienness and Pertwee’s near-arrogance.

I love Colin as a Doctor and Trial has long been a favourite of mine.

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I could talk anyone’s head off about how much I love Six, but one thing that’s bothered me about his “newfound” appreciation is how it’s become a running theme for everyone to like him with stipulation. “Six was redeemed in the audios!” they say. Yes, he is great in that medium, but he was in no way “redeemed”. His on screen persona is just as complex and multi-faceted as his audio persona, even starting as far back as The Twin Dilemma. In his own way, he did show compassion and vulnerability in that serial (and playfulness!); but the fandom likes to whittle him down into an egotistical, pompous brute in a three-piece suit wreaking havoc on everyone. And that goes for the entirety of his S22 run.

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I can see where you are coming from and I agree that he didn’t need redemption, his further evolution in his Big Finish stories is just a perfect continuation of the pattern already laid on screen. And travelling with Evelyn really just nudged him further on the path he was already on. There’s a lot of nuance in Sixie’s story.

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I very much agree! While Season 23 is my favorite season of Colin’s TV run, I find the Sixth Doctor as a character is at his most fascinating and enjoyable in Season 22.

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I had a bit of a Colin Baker day today.

  • Listened to The Spectre of Lanyon Moor
  • Watched The Mark of the Rani
  • Watched A Fix with Sontarans

He just has such natural chemistry with every one of his co-stars.
What really surprised me today is just how well he worked together with Janet Fielding - they played off of each other so well even in a little minisode/skit. You absolutely believe that these two have travelled together as much as they did when he was 4 and 5. That is as much down to Janet Fielding as we also saw with her and Jodie Whittaker in The Power of the Doctor.

My appreciation for Colin Baker just continues to increase :+1:

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I remember watching A Fix With Sontarans, and absolutely regretting that there wasn’t a full season or two of them together. They were great together, and 6 could’ve really used Tegan there to bring him down a bit…

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