Played by: Sylvester McCoy
When: 1987 – 1996
Significant contributions to the Whoniverse: Unfortunately, the most significant thing that stands out for Sylvester McCoy’s tenure as the Doctor is that he was the last Doctor in the classic run of Doctor Who. This is quite unfair, as McCoy was fantastic in the role, and personally I would love to have seen him play the role a bit longer into the period that the Doctor was absent from our screens.
McCoy’s Doctor met with all the classic villains… The Master (still played by Anthony Ainley), the Cybermen, and the Daleks. He also reunited with the Brigadier, on the final occasion he appeared in a regular episode of the series. In addition to this, there is a very amusing story-line that reveals the Doctor was indeed Merlin from Arthurian legend. In hindsight, this is extremely amusing given the same actor has taken on the role of another prominent wizard, Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit.
Of course, with the series ending in 1989, it meant the show was not running for the 30th anniversary in 1993. A special of sorts did occur though, featuring McCoy, Pertwee, both Bakers and Davison. It was a charity special for Children in Need, called Dimensions in Time, intersecting the Doctor with another popular BBC series EastEnders. Many former companions also appeared, and The Rani also made a return. McCoy was to return one more time after this, to regenerate into Paul McGann in the 1996 telemovie. As a result, though the record of most episodes still goes to Tom Baker, McCoy technically is the one man to play the Doctor for the longest period of time. Continue reading
Played by: Colin Baker
When: 1984 – 1986
Significant contributions to the Whoniverse: The second Baker to take on the role of the Doctor bears little similarity to previous incarnations other than his surname. He was more brash and certainly more egotistical, and had the worst fashion sense of any to date. I can understand his portrayal being divisive at the time, yet by modern standards an attempt to shake things up a bit and being less predictable certainly had some merit.
A recurring character was introduced in a Sixth Doctor story in the form of a Time Lady, known as The Rani. To my recollection, this is the first non-companion Time Lady we have met in the series outside of the realms of Gallifrey. She forms the role of recurring villain who is out for herself, as ill at ease working with the Master just as she is ill at ease working with the Doctor. Her story will prove to intersect quite significantly with the Doctor’s at a later date.
As already alluded to, i think one of the most memorable elements of the sixth Doctor is his outfit, which was as brash and loud as the man was himself. This was not a Doctor accustomed to stealth. Fitting with this nature is the storyline that I feel dominate’s this Doctor’s tenure; Trial of a Time Lord. The Doctor’s actions past and present come under direct scrutiny by the Time Lords, with the Doctor’s exuberance proving potentially disastrous. It is interesting to note that prior to this story, there had been a number of season-long storylines. However, these stories had been loosely connected serials with an end of season pay-off. Trial of a Time Lord was a full season story bearing only one title, though subsequently story titles have been added. It was a bold move which also led to another first… the Doctor meeting a future incarnation.