Saturday, 21 July 2012

Countdown to Doctor Who At 50: The Sixth Doctor

Kicking off our new format for counting down, one Doctor one month at a time, to Doctor Who's fiftieth birthday is the unpredictable, unforgettable and unquiet Sixth Doctor! Just don't mention carrot juice...

Change, my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon.
                                                                          The Doctor (Colin Baker)

The Doctor changes. We all know that yet when it happens, we can't help but compare the New Man (or Woman, if that oft-discussed idea ever actually happens) with their predecessor, to see how different they are. Viewers have been doing it since Hartnell became Troughton to when Tennant turned into Smith and will be doing so far into the future. However, viewers will surely never witness a greater change between Doctors than when the pleasant, considerate Fifth Doctor morphed into Colin Baker's Sixth; a loud, abrasive, serf-absorbed hero. It was unexplored territory for the character of the Doctor. Gone was the loveable eccentricity and warmth of previous Doctors, the show's hero was now dangerous. Companions and viewers alike no longer knew if they could trust the Doctor. And this is why the Sixth Doctor is so important to the mythos, the development of the central character and, yes, the longevity of the show. Put simply, he put the Who back into Doctor Who.

You just have to take one look at this incarnation to know his defining characteristics. The garish coat, bright yellow trousers and, er, cat badge immediately sum him up. The Sixth Doctor was not big on subtlety.
He thought of himself as the greatest of his own regenerations - apparently his predecessor's charm didn't suit him much - and never doubted his abilities. Also, perhaps unique amongst other Doctors, he was more forgiving of violence. Infamously, in the throws of his regeneration he attempted to strangle his companion, Peri, and in the next adventure, he assaulted a policeman and followed the ordeal by comically sporting the officer's hat.
On the other hand, what is often forgotten about is that this Doctor also possessed great compassion, which sometimes shone underneath his brash exterior, and, of course, an eternal drive to fight wrongdoings across the universe. He was also a vegetarian, a trait later Doctors have lapsed in. As that proves, no other Doctors have his resolve. He would certainly agree on that point.

Although not the most social of Doctors, Old Sixie (as Colin Baker affectionately calls him) did have two travelling companions. However, his time with either wasn't plain sailing. First joining the Doctor in his fifth body, American botany student Perpigiullium 'Peri' Brown had perhaps the most strained relations of any companion with our hero. The two were often seen arguing in the TARDIS in between adventures and it could be said that the Doctor did seem to put up with her companionship rather than actually enjoy it. Their adventures were cut short when the Doctor was abducted by the Time Lords, leaving Peri to face the slug-like Mentors. Thankfully, she escaped and married an alien king. Aww. The Doctor's other companion, computer programmer (hey, it was a new job in the 80s) Melanie Bush underwent a softer relationship, although they initially met in the wrong order ( a pre-cursor for the Doctor and River's relationship). The Doctor mellowed wiith Mel, even letting her talk him into healthy eating. His diet plan was curtailed, however, by evil Time Lady the Rani hijacking the TARDIS, causing the Doctor to take a nasty fall...

Ones to Watch:

The Two Doctors

 The Sixth Doctor teams up with the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and companion, Jamie McCrimmon, in this fun romp set in Spain with Sontarans! It's not perfect but both Doctors get a meaty role and the scenes between them are the best.                    

Revelation of the Daleks       

Davros is once again plotting to make his Daleks stronger than ever - and for some reason it involves him posing as the boss of a posh cryogenic freezing place! It lays the brickwork for the big Dalek Civil War in the Seventh Doctor's time and it's all played as a black comedy. Great stuff.

The Trial of a Time Lord

For the Sixth Doctor's last season, all 14 episodes were combined to form one story, the longest ever in Doctor Who. The Doctor is kidnapped and put on trial by the Time Lords, to face punishment for his 'crimes'. Its pacing is all over the place and the quality varies but it has its high points, mainly the vindictive prosecutor, the Valeyard. A man who has a dark secret about the Doctor...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...