Sunday, May 4, 2014

Doctor Who Weekend: The Case FOR Colin Baker?

A couple of  weeks ago I posted the deliberately provocatively titled The Case Against Tom Baker?. To be blunt, it's not much of a "case", just idle speculation on the question, "Did Tom Baker stay on Doctor Who too long?" Which given Tom's continued popularity as the Doctor nearly three and a half decades after the fact, that would seem to be quite a silly argument.  Still, given that 2 of the past three Doctors of the modern era only stayed on for four years each (and a 3rd for only 1 season), it's interesting to see the affects on Doctor Who when an actor stays in the role for a longer period of time.

Today by way of a bit of counter point and in a bid to once again be provocative, I decided that today, I would address The Case FOR Colin Baker.

Now dissing Colin's turn as the Doctor is a bit of a knee jerk reaction but there was a lot of working against Colin from the first second he sits up and says...

Didn't you just want to slap him? I mean, REALLY hard? 

Then there was the not so wacky post regenerative crisis involving the Doctor trying to strangle Peri. Not that there was much love lost for Peri. Audiences weren't exactly sure if they liked Peri but this new Doctor was certainly unlikeable.

Yes, the arrogance of Colin Baker's Doctor, superior to everyone else in the room. Oh, arrogance and the Doctor go hand in hand; you don't get to be that marvelous and not have it go to your head. But no other Doctors were as overt about it than the 6th Doctor's smug persona.

And then there's the outfit. 

Right. What can I say about that outfit that hasn't already been beat into the ground? I mean, damn! 

And then there were the stories and...

OK, this is a lot of words expended in a post called The Case For Colin Baker and so far, not much positive has been said. So let's go there now.

1)  The Doctor needs to be a strong personality. As much as I admired Peter Davison's turn as the Doctor, too often it seemed like the brakes were on. Between the pressure to be NOT Tom Baker and being squeezed for screen time with too many companions, Davison's Doctor lacked the force of personality that drove his predecessors. Colin Baker may have pushed the needle too far too fast in that direction but that was the direction the Doctor needed to go. When the Doctor walks into the room, he needs to OWN that room. Colin's Doctor was a Doctor who owned the room.

2) The Doctor needs to be not quite human. As much as I loved David Tennant's Doctor, he tended to be a bit too human. Matt Smith's Doctor, on the other hand, was unquestionably not from this planet.

The ego of the 6th Doctor set him above human mores and made him seem a bit more alien.

3) The Doctor needs to be a performer.  Even the relatively straight laced 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee) understood the importance of making an impression with the velvet jackets and the frilly shirts. The 6th Doctor in his garish outfit, as it much as it seared the retinas, was very much a showman.

Sadly, Colin Baker never really had a chance to redeem himself on television. That had to come later with the audio adventures and Colin firmly establishing his place as one of the best Doctors in the audio series. Colin's expressive and powerful voice is still his most considerable talent.

But ultimately, the fact that Colin Baker is still an advocate of Doctor Who after all these years is a major factor in the case for Colin.

Here was an actor who faced tragedy during his time as the Doctor when he lost his son.

Here was an actor thrust into the spotlight of an iconic role reliant on poor choices made beyond his control.

Here was an actor who bore the brunt of the BBC's dissatisfaction with Doctor Who to be first actor to portray the Doctor to be fired.

If anyone had any reason to say, "Never again" and walked away forever, it was Colin Baker.

But he didn't. His love and support of Doctor Who and its fans remains strong and unabated. Of all the people from Doctor Who's past who could've narrated the behind the scenes feature on The Day of the Doctor, I can think of no better or more deserving choice that the man with that voice, Colin Baker.

So that's the case FOR Colin Baker. 

OK, the outfit was still horridly ugly, sorry.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

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