In tribute to Maggie Stables, who brought the character Evelyn Smythe to life and helped Big Finish become the juggernaut it is today. She will be missed. RIP
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Doctor Who, where I over-analyse each of the Doctors to find out which is best.
The way this is going to run is very simple: I take ten categories and give each Doctor points 1 to 10 along the way. Now some of this may seem familiar since I will be repeating myself, but I plan to have this be a be all and end all look at my favourite fictional character. So join me each week as work out which of the Doctors in my absolute favourite.
Here’s a Doctor that’s a complete reverse of what came before. He’s loud, arrogant, rude and condescending. He’s rather unpleasant to watch on TV and only gets redeemed as a character in the audio dramas. But I do have a soft spot for this Doctor. He didn’t suffer fools lightly, he was very passionate, he was a lot of fun to watch. The character suffered from poor writing, yes, but I still think he’s a good character. 7/10.
Hoo boy. Now this is going to get me a fair few complaints but… I really, really like this costume? I especially like it because no other costume fit a Doctor as well as it did number six here. It was loud and obnoxious, just like the Doctor wearing it. It was likewise tasteless and tactless, even though the costume designer originally tried to make it work (originally the colours complimented each other but the producer wanted it more tacky. Ultimately she just threw stuff together at random and he ended up loving it). My favourite reason for why he wears it is that it distracts people from his face, allowing him to slip by unnoticed. And as much as people hate it… It’s distinctive. One of the common complaints I heard when we first saw 12’s costume was how bland it appeared, since it really lacked any spark. With this one it’s very, very memorable. What’s more even those that hate the colours must agree with the style when compared to his blue coat. When coloured completely blue the costume actually works really well, making him very stylish. So while I have to take points off for how ugly it is, it gains a lot of points for just being so Doctor Who. 7/10.
The Story: To explain the story of The Twin Dilemma is to stare into the face of madness. Long story short the enemy of this story is a giant slug, two rather stupid twins are used to almost destroy a galaxy, and the Doctor strangles his companion. Yeah, it’s as bizarre as it sounds. 0/10.
The Doctor’s Introduction: The cliffhanger for the first episode is the Doctor strangling his companion. Take that in for a moment. The Doctor tries to kill his companion. Add to that the fact that he surrenders so quickly (and asks that the girl be taken instead) in one scene and wants to be a hermit in the next… yeah the Doctor’s character is all over the place. He gets one touching moment near the end as he confronts an old friend… but that’s one minor moment in a sea of bad. 1/10.
Overall: There’s little doubt about why this was voted the worst Doctor Who story of all time (it beat out Fear Her, to give you an idea how bad it is). The idea of having a Doctor who started off as being a bit bad but eventually became good is an interesting one… but one that fails so spectacularly on screen it has to be seen to believed. 0/10.
Final Verdict: 1/30 aka 0.3/10
Peri Brown: Nicola Bryant is a great actor, and she and Colin Baker hit it off behind the scenes… but the idea of having a violate Doctor be in direct contrast to the rather submissive Peri is a crying shame. You spend most of the time just wondering ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’. The character is still good, the stories are just doing her no justice whatsoever. 4/10.
Melanie Bush: To explain the paradox of Melanie Bush is too much effort, but with the Sixth Doctor she’s a much better fit than Peri. Mostly because she’s just as willing to stand up against the Doctor’s temper and make sure he stays in line. It’s a shame about what happens to her in the next season though. 4/10
Evelyn Smythe: My list, my rules. And I bring up this Big Finish companion for the sole reason that she is perhaps one of the best Doctor Who companions of any medium. The greatest strength is that she refuses to let the Sixth Doctor go on an ego trip. She’ll call him out and force him to keep a level head. As such the Sixth Doctor matures wonderfully in the audio drama, indicated when the ‘past’ and ‘present’ Sixth Doctors meet and you realise just how far he’s come. All thanks to how great Evelyn Smythe is. 10/10.
Final Score: 18/30, aka 6/10
Honourable Mentions: The Two Doctors would have won this but, yet again, no multi-doctor stories allowed. Each incarnation of the Doctor has to stand or fall on their own. Revelation of the Daleks is easily the best story of Colin Baker’s run… but it has bugger all Doctor in it and thus loses points in my book.
Story: The Ultimate Foe was the last story in the 14 part â€œTrial of the Time Lordâ€ that made up Season 23, and while it’s by no means great, it still has a lot of good Six Doctor moments. It’s a shame Colin Baker got fired, since he really started to show his skills in this one here. The story isn’t perfect but hey, it’s still the best of a bad bunch. 5/10.
Monster: The Valeyard is getting his own section, so I’ll talk about him in detail there, but he’s the perfect counterpoint to this version of the Doctor. Six is loud, arrogant and colourful. The Valeyard is quiet, confident and wears nothing but black. It’s a clever difference that most people didn’t pick up on. 7/10.
Nostalgia Factor: Again, didn’t see this as a kid, but as an adult I’ve grown warmer to it after I learned about the behind the scenes drama. It’s by no means perfect, but Robert Holmes was going to finish it before his untimely death. Still it all holds together rather nicely I think. 6/10.
Best Moment: See the â€œBest Momentâ€ section further down. 6/10.
Ranking: If I had only twelve episodes of Doctor Who to watch, and I had to rank those twelve from best to worse, this would be number eleven, aka 0/10. It’s a shame, and many other stories outrank it, but this is the best Six got in my books.
Final Verdict: 18/50 aka 3.6/10
Dishonourable Mentions: The Twin Dilemma is bad, but I’m covered it earlier in the blog, so I’ll save the riffing. But it does hold the rank of the worst Doctor Who story of all-time.
Story: Timelash is… Timelash is… It doesn’t even come close to good. Good is in a sphere that is a good million miles away from this story. The titular Timelash is literally made out of tin foil. I’m not joking, it is tin foil. And somehow that’s not even the cheapest part of the story. Add to that some amazing over-acting and… like I said, this story may be a million miles away from good but it can very easily go through a polystyrene wormhole and slam slab-bang in the middle of it. 8/10.
Monster: You know, for all the flak I can give this story, I’ll be damned if they didn’t do a surprisingly good job with the villain. The make-up is excellent, his dialogue is sickeningly melodramatic, and he’s just so silly it’s hilarious. Add to that androids that are for some reason blue and it just works so well. 8/10.
Guilty Pleasure Factor: This was the first ‘bad’ Doctor Who episode I saw and at the time hated it… but I can’t deny that if you want the guiltiest of guilty pleasures when it comes to Doctor Who. So much about this is charmingly good and offensively bad. Honestly I highly recommend people go out and see this to see how bad it really gets. 9/10.
Worst Moment: â€œDon’t worry, I’ll explain later.â€ I’m sorry, but no matter how much I forgive, you don’t get any points in my book for not explaining about why you’re not dead at the end of this episode Doctor. I don’t care if it’s a nonsense reason, I still want a reason. 0/10.
Ranking: Ranking these twelve episodes from favourite to less favourite, this one comes in at number two, giving it a score of 9/10.
Final Verdict: 34/50 aka 6.8/10.
Best Speech/Moment (Television only)
There are two moments that stand out to fans of this character. The first, perhaps more forgotten one, is when the Doctor confronts his companion Peri about finding themselves on a deserted Earth in the future: â€œPlanets come and go. Stars perish. Matter disperses, coalesces, forms into other patterns, other worlds. Nothing can be eternal.â€ It’s a little moment, but a touching one nonetheless since it shows just why the Doctor can’t understand his companions distress. It is totally alien to him. But of course the best moment is the most obvious:
â€œIn all my travelling throughout the universe, I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here. The oldest civilisation: decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen – they’re still in the nursery compared to us. Ten million years of absolute power. That’s what it takes to be really corrupt.â€
It’s a good moment… that sadly is just a repeat of what we’ve had before. Although Colin Baker manages to get the right amount of indignation in his speech, it is just a tired old re-telling. Sorry Six, I love ya, but there’s no denying that your greatest moment is just a copy of someone else’s. 5/10.
Talk about a Doctor saved by his expanded universe. While his TV run may have been a disaster, Colin Baker proves his worth by making some of his audio adventures the best-written stories of any Doctor Who format. He keeps the arrogance and flamboyance but also tempers it with compassion and kindness. He may have a big mouth, but he also has a very big heart. In the audioâ€™s we get presented with a Doctor that doesn’t quite know why he’s out-of-sync with the rest of the world, one that’s haunted by that fact. Meanwhile in the books we get a much more interesting Doctor. Since his motivations can be explained we see more about why this Doctor acts the way he does. This does nothing but help the character. On the one hand we can see his ability to see the bigger picture, knowing that sometimes short term goals have to be sacrificed to complete long term ones. On the other we can see the fear the Valeyard instilled into him, making him wonder whether he should allow himself to continue. Even the awful coat is given a justifiable explanation in the expanded universe. Honestly it’s at this point where I’d tell people to skip the TV section and read the books/listen to the audio’s instead. Because they do the character a far better justice. 10/10.
The Story: Nil. The poor sap never had a regeneration story. The BBC fired him. Which was a shame, since his last words ever are â€œCarrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juiceâ€. 0/10.
The Final Moments: Nil. Hell even the regeneration is Sylvester McCoy in a wig since he justly refused to come back. 0/10.
Overall: How can you judge something that isn’t there? 0/10.
Final Verdict: 0/30 aka 0/10
It’s an experiment that goes horribly wrong. A lot of people would say steer clear of the 6th Doctor, and I can’t say I don’t see where they’re coming from. There is good to be found if you’re willing to look for it… but mostly this is Doctor Who at its worst. Good attempts by the actors, but there’s very little that can unfortunately save this. 4/10.
Final Verdict: 49.7/100
So there you have it. My look at this Doctor. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Tune in next week for my take on the next Doctor on the list. Till next time.