Hello once again my merry Fandom Wanderers, and welcome back to the next installment of 50 Years of Doctor Who. Cue the title card and theme music now. Hopefully with some nice special effects and decent opening sequence. And let’s not lie, the theme music will likely be the Doctor Who theme. But moving on! We’re now – roughly – at the halfway point in this little series. I saw roughly because even though the Twelfth Doctor has been announced, he hasn’t officially taken the console yet, so we can’t count him, though I probably will give my thoughts on his casting at the appropriate moment. (Short version: not what I expected, but good actor, so eh.)
Okay, so today we’re looking at the Sixth and Seventh Doctors and unfortunately there aren’t any Hallowe’en specials for me to look at for you. So I thought I’d look at the Dalek episodes because what’s scarier than a genocidcial alien race bent on the destruction of everything in the universe apart from themselves, right? The one tiny problem with that is it’s been a genuine while since I’ve seen these episodes, but since the point of these reviews is to examine the Doctors themselves, I’m going to take a different bent this time round. Bear with me here. Summary of the episodes: the Daleks look to conquer a world, the Doctor stops them. There, now, let’s get on to our Doctors themselves.
Okay, so Doctor number Six, as played by Colin Baker. Well, first off, he has a really ridiculous outfit which I think has been explained as the Doctor deliberately choosing something that would annoying the most people that it could. According to Mr. Baker himself, he wanted an outfit that was rather more like what the Ninth Doctor ended up with, but those in charge at the time weren’t for having it. In the Big Finish audio stories – and if I have time I’ll try to address those a little – gave him a new outfit, which included a rather fetching blue long coat, and really managed to expand upon the character and make him rather more beloved than he had originally been. And that’s the point I need to make. Yeah, in the television series, Six … wasn’t much liked by fans at the time. Personally, I can sort of see why. Six is a bit on the hard-headed side, very in your face and a bit obnoxious at times. Not all the time, personally there’s quite a few of his serials that I personally find very enjoyable but it was getting clear that the higher ups at the BBC were getting a bit sick of the show by this point.
So much so, that Six didn’t even get a proper regeneration scene. Colin Baker wasn’t invited back to film his regeneration. Instead they just dressed the newcomer in a wig and his costume and didn’t show his face until after the regeneration. And who got to play the Seventh Doctor? Why Sylvester McCoy! Now, his Doctor is an interesting one to track because, like I said, the BBC were getting a bit sick of the show at the time, but the writing crew were still trying their best to make it an enjoyable show for audiences.
Now, like I just said, the Seventh Doctor is an interesting one to track the progress because he starts out all clownish and, well, comedic basically. He’s easily fooled by the Rani (a rogue Time Lady who only gives a hoot about science) into thinking she’s one of his companions in his first episode, which … yeah, got to admit, it’s a fun episode but the sheer absurdity of the Doctor’s being fooled is a bit too out there. But we’re looking at his Dalek episode today, and this is when his character really started to be a magnificent chessmaster. See, by this point the writers of the show had this masterplan in place, which would have revealed the Doctor to be the reincarnation of one of the great Time Lords of History, known simply as The Other. So by this point in proceedings, the Seventh Doctor was a rather cool figure, calculating events and planning everything in advance – even as far back as his original self as the serial with the Daleks shows. The Seventh Doctor always has a plan up his sleeve, and it’s quite cool to see him being able to out play even the grandest chessmasters. Unlimited rice pudding indeed.
So that’s been my brief look at the Sixth and Seventh Doctors. Sorry for mixing up the formula a little bit, but there’s not actually a crossover between the two that would show us them interacting with each other. Unless you count that Dimensions in Time special, but they don’t really interact there so…
Next time, we look at the Eighth and Ninth Doctors, and see how the series has changed when they ‘reboot’ it. Until then, Wanderers.
Z McAspurren (Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice.)