Written by Lewis Mainwaring
Something very extra special is coming for fans of the Sixth Doctor at Big Finish, with the September release of Doctor Who – The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure.
Colin’s last outing as the Doctor on television was The Trial of a Time Lord (as pictured with the late Lynda Bellingham as the Inquisitor) in 1986, but sadly there was no proper handover story to Sylvester McCoy when he joined the series in 1987.
Although this was the first story to feature the Seventh Doctor (Time and the Rani), it was written before McCoy’s casting and therefore not directly tailored to his portrayal of the character. As Sixth Doctor actor Colin Baker declined to film a regeneration sequence, Sylvester McCoy instead wore his predecessor’s costume and a blond curly wig and filmed the entire sequence himself.
As the episode opens whilst in flight, the TARDIS is attacked by the Rani (portrayed by the late Kate O’Mara), an amoral scientist and renegade Time Lord. The TARDIS crash-lands on the planet Lakertya. On the floor of the console room, the Doctor begins his sixth regeneration.
Now, 28 years later, the full details of the Sixth Doctor’s death will be revealed – and it’s part of an epic battle that spans many sections of his life, and involves many of his companions.
‘I spoke to Colin not long after Matt Smith’s (the Eleventh Doctor) final outing, The Time of the Doctor, was broadcast on television,’ says producer David Richardson. ‘I felt very strongly that regeneration stories, and each Doctor’s final end, are very important to Doctor Who fans – these are stories that allow us to see the Doctor at his most courageous, making a sacrifice that only makes us love him more. And so I asked Colin if he might finally consider doing the Sixth Doctor’s final story with us. To my huge delight, he said yes.’
‘I owe a lot to Big Finish,’ says Colin Baker. ‘They have given my Doctor the opportunity to live beyond those few episodes on television which were recorded during a time when the programme was under siege from various quarters. My Doctor did not benefit from that time. However at Big Finish the Sixth Doctor has lived and breathed anew and developed in a way that I am extremely happy with’.
‘That would be the only reason I have agreed to bring my Doctor to an end – although it’s not really an end, because Big Finish plucks stories from the whole era of every Doctor. But because I never actually filmed a regeneration, and left poor Sylvester floundering around in my empty clothing with a blond wig on, I have resolutely maintained the lie that I am still the Doctor and all the rest are imposters because I never regenerate!”
‘So it’s a tribute to the smooth talking people at Big Finish and the standard of the work completed thus far that I have cast aside my reluctance and joined all the other Doctors in actually having a regeneration’.
‘And I can promise you: it’s a cracker.’
Me meeting Colin at LFCC Summer 14.
Doctor Who – The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure will be released in a lavish book-sized box set that contains special photography, bespoke illustrations and behind the scenes interviews, as well as four hour-long episodes. The stories are connected by the presence of Michael Jayston as the Valeyard, the entity that exists between the Doctor’s twelfth and thirteen incarnations.
The Sixth Doctor won’t be alone in battle though, as he’ll be joined across the adventures by Constance (Miranda Raison), Charlotte Pollard (India Fisher), Flip (Lisa Greenwood) and Mel (Bonnie Langford), as well as those dedicated detectives, Jago & Litefoot (Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter, alongside Lisa Bowerman as Ellie Higson).
Me and Bonnie at CFCC Nov 14.
The saga opens with The End of the Line by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris, in which the Doctor and his latest companion Constance investigate a commuter train that has lost its way.
In The Red House by Alan Barnes, the Doctor and Charlotte Pollard arrive on a world that is populated by werewolves.
Stage Fright by Matt Fitton takes the Doctor and Flip to Victorian London, where investigators Jago and Litefoot explore theatrical performances that have echoes of the Doctor’s past live.
Finally, time is running out in The Brink of Death by Nicholas Briggs, as the Doctor and Mel face the final confrontation with the Valeyard – and the Doctor must make the ultimate sacrifice.
‘It’s been such a pleasure to work with Colin on these, giving him a whistle-stop tour of his era,” says Nick, who is also directing. “I felt privileged to write his final moments too. But the wonderful thing for us at Big Finish is that even though this is the end of the Sixth Doctor, we have the luxury of continuing to tell as many stories about him for as long as the BBC allow us.’
I for one cannot wait to see the Sixth Doctor finally have the ending he deserved.