INTERVIEW: ‘Doctor Who’ star Colin Baker at L.I. Who

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The Doctor is in: Colin Baker chats with me at L.I. Who in November 2016. [Photo by Adrienne Wise]

In the last post, I talked about how I discovered Doctor Who in the mid-1980s just as Tom Baker morphed into Peter Davison. I knew nothing about the concept of regeneration at the time, so it was (to say the least) a big surprise.

The next time around, I was ready. It suffices to say that Colin Baker‘s take on the Doctor was quite different from either of the others I’d seen. Brash, arrogant, unpredictable and sometimes downright unlikable, he took a lot of getting used to – but I did grow to like him, even if his Technicolor outfit seemed a bit of overkill.

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The Rainbow Doctor. [Photo by BBC]

Not even aware of fandom at the time, I had no idea how threatened Doctor Who was during Colin Baker’s era, from the infamous 18-month hiatus between his two seasons to him being unfairly fired by BBC bosses.

Luckily, the sixth Doctor has received a second life – and a sense of redemption – thanks to audios from Big Finish Productions. His many stories (stretching back to 1999 and still ongoing) show that Colin was not the problem, but rather some subpar scripts and distain for the show in general from the BBC. In the audios, his Doctor has been shown to be compassionate, charismatic and more than a match for whatever challenges the universe throws his way.

In person, Colin strikes me as clever, outgoing, personable and very knowledgeable about the show he still clearly loves. I was thrilled to get the chance to talk with him at November’s L.I. Who convention and discuss his final season (“The Trial of a Time Lord”), which turned 30 years old in 2016. We also chatted about Big Finish and whether he’d consider writing a memoir like Peter Davison just published. (The answer: Probably.)

 

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