Colin Baker

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Colin Baker
Colin Baker (cropped).jpg
Baker at the 2014 Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest
Born (1943-06-08) 8 June 1943 (age 79)
Alma materLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active1970–present
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
  • (m. 1976; div. 1978)
  • Marion Wyatt
    (m. 1982)
Children5 (1 deceased)
WebsiteColin Baker Online

Colin Baker (born 8 June 1943) is an English actor who played Paul Merroney in the BBC drama series The Brothers from 1974 to 1976 and the sixth incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running science fiction television series Doctor Who from 1984 to 1986. Baker's tenure as the Doctor proved to be a controversial era for the series, which included a hiatus in production and his subsequent replacement on the orders of BBC executive Michael Grade.

Early life[edit]

Colin Baker was born in Waterloo, London, England. He moved north to Rochdale with his family when he was three years old. He was educated at St Bede's College, Manchester, where he passed A' Levels in French, Latin and Greek.[1] Particularly strong in Latin and Greek, Baker achieved 2 A grades.[2] He studied law at a London college[3] and subsequently trained to become a solicitor.[4] At the age of 23, Baker enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).[5]


Early work in television[edit]

Baker with his The Brothers co-star Jean Anderson in 1976

Baker's numerous television roles in the early 1970s included a supporting role in a 1970 BBC adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre's trilogy The Roads to Freedom, a leading role as Count Steinbock in their adaptation of Cousin Bette the following year, playing opposite Margaret Tyzack and Helen Mirren. In 1972 he played Anatole Kuragin, opposite Anthony Hopkins in the BBC adaptation of War and Peace. His regular television work continued and in Fall of Eagles, Baker appeared as Crown Prince Wilhelm of the German Empire.

By far his most prominent role to date came in 1974, playing the ruthless banker Paul Merroney in the BBC Sunday evening series The Brothers.[6] Baker joined the series half-way through its run, as Merroney became one of the leading characters over three and a half series from 1974–76.

After The Brothers, he worked regularly in theatre and his television work became less frequent, although he guest-starred as Bayban the Butcher in a 1980 episode of Blake's 7, "City at the Edge of the World". He had further guest roles on television and in 1983 featured in a BBC production of A.J. Cronin's The Citadel.

Doctor Who (1984–1986)[edit]

Baker made his first appearance in Doctor Who as Commander Maxil in the Peter Davison-era story Arc of Infinity (1983). He then became the second of three actors to be cast as the Doctor by producer John Nathan-Turner.[7] Baker's first appearance in the starring role occurred in the final moments of The Caves of Androzani (1984), where he delivered his first few lines. He then made his full story debut the following week in The Twin Dilemma. The serial, and Baker's portrayal of the Doctor, caused immediate controversy, with one scene in which the Doctor attempts to strangle his companion, Peri Brown. According to PopMatters, "Colin Baker's first appearance was just out-and-out dislikable, showcasing a hubris and harshness that was heretofore unseen in the Doctor's emotional canon."[8]

Baker's era was interrupted by an 18-month hiatus which was announced in February 1985, midway through transmission of Season 22, his first full season. The Controller of BBC1 at the time, Michael Grade, criticised Doctor Who, saying that the programme had become overly violent in 1985. Grade later admitted that he "hated" the series, which he described as a "very clunky studio show".[9][10] One new Doctor Who story, Slipback, was produced for radio during the hiatus, which starred Baker and his regular television companion Nicola Bryant.

Baker at Whovent in September 1986

Doctor Who returned to television for its 23rd season in September 1986. The season featured a reduction in episodes, was made entirely on video for location scenes and was produced as a 14-episode-long serial called The Trial of a Time Lord. This serial was a meta-textual reference to the fact that the series itself was "on trial" at this time.[11] In 1986 Baker told an interviewer: "Tom Baker did it for seven years. ... There's a part of me which likes to have a tilt at records. I would like to think that maybe I'd still be doing it in eight years' time."[12] However, later that year Grade agreed to commission another series on the condition that Baker was replaced.[13] The BBC's Head of Series, Jonathan Powell, later said that the BBC was looking for "one last chance saloon, for an actor who would take off with the public."[14] However, Davison argued in 2018 that the decision was more to do with the executives wanting to get rid of Nathan-Turner, saying: "I was upset about what happened, really – because, first of all, it wasn't to do with Colin, I know that. It was to do with other issues. The power structure in the BBC had changed and they didn't want John Nathan-Turner around is the truth of it."[15]

Baker was removed from the part after starring in only eleven stories and just short of three years in the series, including the hiatus, making his tenure as the Doctor the shortest at that point. After his sacking, Baker was offered a single four-part story that would end in his character's death and subsequent regeneration, but he refused the offer. Baker offered to do the entirety of the following season and regenerate at its conclusion, but the BBC never responded to his letter. Instead, his replacement, Sylvester McCoy, played the injured Sixth Doctor in a blonde wig as he regenerates in the opening minutes of Time and the Rani, his face hidden by video effects as the regeneration process occurs.[6] In an interview in 2019, Baker expressed regret for not returning for the scene, stating that he was "brutally selfish at the time" and that he was not thinking about the fans.[16]

On 4 September 2011 at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London, Baker accepted the presidency of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, which had previously been held by Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney. He was elected following an online poll of the society's members where he won more votes than all the other candidates combined.[17]

Doctor Who appearances in other media[edit]

From 5 June to 19 August 1989, Baker agreed to appear as the Doctor once more, in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure, taking over from original lead Jon Pertwee who had fallen ill.[citation needed]

In 1992, Baker became the first Doctor to write a published Doctor Who story, The Deal, as part of Doctor Who Magazine's Brief Encounters series. He wrote a second Brief Encounter the following year. Both featured the Sixth Doctor and Mel. In 1994 Baker wrote a comic strip, The Age of Chaos featuring the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher, and in 2001 contributed a story entitled "The Wings of A Butterfly" to a charity short story anthology based on Doctor Who, "Missing Pieces". He also presented special Doctor Who videotape releases Cybermen – The Early Years in 1992 and The Colin Baker Years in 1994, with the latter a look back at his tenure on the series highlighted by clips and his memories.

Baker has reprised the role on television only twice after his official run ended, in the 1993 Children in Need charity special Dimensions in Time alongside Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy, and in the 2022 special "The Power of the Doctor" alongside David Bradley, Davison, Paul McGann, McCoy and Jodie Whittaker.

Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Baker at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend in 2013

In 1997, Baker provided audio dialogue for the BBC video game Doctor Who: Destiny of the Doctors.

1999 saw Baker voice his first Doctor Who audio adventure for Big Finish Productions, The Sirens of Time. As of 2023, Baker has feautured as the Sixth Doctor in 166 releases, with more planned for the future. These audio plays are generally well received by fans and in a poll conducted by Doctor Who Magazine, Baker was voted the "greatest" of the Doctors in this format. He also reprised the role of Commander Maxil in the Gallifrey audio series story "Appropriation" in 2006; in 2022, he played alternate versions of the Fifth Doctor (known as the Doctor of War) in the Doctor Who Unbound series and the Curator in The Eighth Doctor Adventures.

In recent years, Baker has appeared on a number of DVD releases of his episodes, featuring in either "making-of" documentaries or commentaries. The documentary Trials and Tribulations, included in the 2008 DVD release of The Trial of a Time Lord examines his turbulent three years on the show.

In November 2013, Baker co-starred in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.[18]

After Doctor Who[edit]

Since leaving Doctor Who Baker has spent much of his time on the stage with appearances throughout the country in plays as diverse as Peter Nichols' Privates on Parade, Ira Levin's Deathtrap, Ray Cooney's Run for Your Wife and Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden. For many years he has been a pantomime stalwart. In 2000 he appeared in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs alongside actress Louise Jameson who had previously played the Fourth Doctor's companion Leela. In 2003 he starred in the Carl Rosa Opera Company's production of operetta H.M.S. Pinafore, directed by Timothy West. In 2008, he toured with ex-wife Liza Goddard in She Stoops To Conquer. Other theatre appearances have seen Baker tackle the role of Inspector Morse in House of Ghosts[19] and a UK tour of The Woman in White.

In 1991, Baker played a Doctor-like character in the BBV video series The Stranger. This character appeared in six video adventures as well four audio stories. Another standalone BBV drama entitled The Airzone Solution appeared in 1993 and featured former Doctor Who actors Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy.

Baker at the 2015 Magic City Comic Con

Television work during the 1990s included guest appearances in the BBC's medical drama Casualty, The Knock, Dangerfield, the first episode of Jonathan Creek, Channel 4's adaptation of A Dance to the Music of Time and as himself as the resident celebrity in 'Dictionary Corner' on the daytime quiz show Countdown, also on Channel 4.

In 2003, Baker appeared on Top Gear, participating on a one-lap run on the Top Gear track in a Honda Civic hatchback. Baker competed against a Klingon, a Cyberman, a Dalek, Darth Vader and Ming the Merciless. Baker came in 4th position, with the Cyberman coming 1st.

A 2005 guest appearance in comedy sketch show Little Britain was never transmitted but can be seen in the deleted scenes special feature on the Little Britain series 3 DVD. Other television appearances have seen Baker appear in Kingdom, Hustle and Doctors.

Away from his Doctor Who work for Big Finish Productions (see above), Baker appeared in the audio dramas Sapphire and Steel: The Mystery of the Missing Hour and the 3 part Earthsearch Mindwarp. The latter, based on a James Follett novel, was broadcast on the digital radio station BBC 7 in 2006.

In 2010, Baker narrated and provided additional voices for the audiobook version of the sci-fi/comedy novel, Kangazang! Remote Possibilities. Written by Terry Cooper, and published by Candy Jar Books.

Baker's film work over the years includes The Harpist (1999), The Asylum (2000)[20] and D'Artagnan et les trois mousquetaires (2005).[20] In 2010 he filmed scenes for an independent feature film, Shadows of a Stranger.[21] Since 1995 Baker has written a regular weekly column for local newspaper Bucks Free Press. A compilation of his articles from 1995 to 2009 were published in the book, Look Who's Talking.

Baker participated in the 12th series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!,[22] finishing in 8th place out of 12 celebrities.

Personal life[edit]

Baker's first wife was actress Liza Goddard who had appeared with him in the TV series The Brothers. Their marriage lasted 18 months and ended in divorce.[23] With his second wife, Marion Wyatt, an actress, whom he married in 1982, Baker has four daughters: Lucy, Bindy, Lalla and Rosie.[24] They also had a son, Jack, who died of sudden infant death syndrome.[25][26] His wife and daughters appeared in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot as themselves. Baker is a friend of American writer Stephen R. Donaldson, who dedicated his 1991 novel Forbidden Knowledge to him.[27]

Baker is a critic of fox hunting and was among more than 20 high-profile people who signed a letter to members of parliament in 2015 to oppose Conservative prime minister David Cameron's plan to amend the Hunting Act 2004.[28]


  • Look Who's Talking (Hirst Books), First Published December 2009. First reprint February 2010 ISBN 978-0-9557149-2-4
  • Second Thoughts (Hirst Books), First Published September 2010 ISBN 978-0-9566417-6-2
  • Gallimaufry: A Collection of Short Stories. First Published 30 September 2011. ISBN 1-907959-02-5.
  • Sixth Sense – from the columns of the Bucks Free Press. FBS Publishing Ltd. 6 April 2017. ISBN 978-0993204371



Year Title Role Notes
1981 Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective William Lind
1991 Summoned By Shadows The Stranger
1992 More Than A Messiah
1993 In Memory Alone
The Airzone Solution Arnold Davies
1994 The Terror Game The Stranger
The Zero Imperative Peter Russell
Breach of the Peace The Stranger
1995 Eye of the Beholder
1999 The Harpist Father Rupitsch
Soul's Ark Galico
2000 The Asylum Arbuthnot
2014 Shadows of a Stranger William Fallon
2015 A Dozen Summers The Narrator
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens
2017 Arrows of Time Narrator
2021 Hiraeth Wynn Seaward
You Might Get Lost Conrad
The Ghosts of Borley Rectory Charles Sutton
2022 Minacious DS Rawlins
TBA Secrets of a Wallaby Boy Bruce


Year Title Role Notes
1970 The Adventures of Don Quick Rebel Episode: "People Isn't Everything"
Happy Ever After Receptionist Episode: "The Ambassador"
No – That's Me Over Here! Uncredited 2 episodes
Roads to Freedom Claude 3 episodes
1971 The Mind of Mr. J.G. Reeder Reigate Episode: "The Shadow Man
Public Eye Town Hall Clerk Episode: "The Man Who Didn't Eat Sweets"
Cousin Bette Count Wenceslas Steinbock 5 episodes
The Silver Sword German Lieutenant Episode: #1.3
Now Look Here Uncredited Episode: #1.4
1972 War & Peace Anatole Kuragin 4 episodes
The Moonstone John Herncastle Episode: #1.1
The Man Outside Glover Episode: "Murder Story"
Villains Reporter Episode: "His Dad Named Him After the General"
1973 The Edwardians Joseph Laycock Episode: "Daisy"
Harriet's Back in Town Mike Baker 2 episodes
Orson Welles Great Mysteries George Barclay Episode: "A Terribly Strange Bed"
1974 Within These Walls David Jenkins Episode: "Prisoner by Marriage"
The Carnforth Practice Bob Anderson Episode: "Undue Influence"
Fall of Eagles Crown Prince Willie 2 episodes
1974–1976 The Brothers Paul Merroney 46 episodes
1979 Doctors and Nurses Mr. Bennett Episode: Mums and Dads
1980 Blakes 7 Bayban Episode: "City at the Edge of the World"
For Maddie with Love Uncredited
1982 Juliet Bravo Frankie Miller Episode: "The Intruder"
1983 The Citadel Mr. Vaughan Episode: "Part 4"
Doctor Who Commander Maxil Episode: "Arc of Infinity" - 3 episodes
1984 Swallows and Amazons Forever!: Coot Club Dr. Dudgeon TV film
Swallows and Amazons Forever!: The Big Six TV film
1984–1986, 1993, 2022 Doctor Who Sixth Doctor 34 episodes
1985 Jim'll Fix It Episode: "A Fix with Sontarans"
1986 Roland Rat: The Series Episode: #1.3
1989 Casualty Colin Miles Episode: "Accidents Happen"
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Harry George Chauvel Episode: "Palestine, October 1917"
1995 Harry's Mad Mr. Perkins Episode: "Meaty Chunks"
1997 The Famous Five Fake Mr. Brent 2 episodes
Jonathan Creek Hedley Shale Episode: "The Wrestler's Tomb"
The Knock Donald Dewhurst / Desmond Dewhurst 4 episodes
A Dance to the Music of Time Canon Fenneau Episode: "Post War"
The Bill William Guthrie Episode: "Going Down"
1998 Casualty David Vincent Episode: "An Eye for an Eye"
1999 Sunburn John Buchanan Episode: #1.2
The Waiting Time Giles Fleming TV film
Dangerfield Vicar Episode: "Haunted"
2000 Hollyoaks The Judge Episode: #1.524
Time Gentlemen Please Professor Baker Episode: "Day of the Trivheads"
2001 Doctors Jack Howard Episode: "Matters of Principle"
2004 The Impressionable Jon Culshaw Mr. Allen Episode: #1.2
The 4 Musketeers Rutaford 2 episodes
2005 Little Britain Man in Regatta Tent Deleted scene
2006 The Afternoon Play Judge Episode: "Your Mother Should Know"
Doctors Charles Dillon Episode: "Honourable Gentlemen"
2009 Kingdom Mr. Dodds Episode: #3.2
Doctors Professor Claybourne Jarvis Episode: "The Romantics"
2010 Hustle Phil Episode: "Tiger Troubles"
2011 Doctors Augustus Bloom Episode: "Every Heart That Beats"
2013 The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Colin Baker TV film
2014 Comedy Feeds Colin Baker Episode: "The Committee Meeting"
2015 Star Trek Continues Minister Amphidamas Episode: "The White Iris"
2021 Emmerdale Michael Episode: #1.9156


Year Title Role Notes
2022 The Hound of the Baskervilles Sherlock Holmes Crime and Comedy Theatre Company

Audio drama[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1985 Doctor Who: Slipback Sixth Doctor 6 mini episodes
1999–2021 Doctor Who – The Monthly Adventures 82 releases
2006 Gallifrey Commander Maxil Story: "Appropriation"; uncredited
2009–2012, 2019 Doctor Who: The Lost Stories Sixth Doctor 12 stories
2011–2018 Jago & Litefoot 7 stories
2016–present Doctor Who: Classic Doctors, New Monsters 2 stories
2016 The Diary of River Song 2 stories
2021 Avalon Bayban Volume Two
Bayban the Butcher
2022 Doctor Who Unbound Doctor of War
Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Adventures The Curator

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Destiny of the Doctors Sixth Doctor
2015 Lego Dimensions Archive sound


  1. ^ Karen Louise, Hollis (2011). Un-Conventional - 13 Years of Meeting the Stars of Doctor Who. p. 19. ISBN 9781447806806.
  2. ^ "The Best Days of your Life". The Herald. 1 August 2006. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021.
  3. ^ Shaw, Alan (7 October 2016). "I loved being Doctor Who even though they axed me, says Colin Baker". The Sunday Post. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Colin Baker biography". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Ask Colin". Colin Baker Online. Archived from the original on 4 June 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2014. Having recently been digging out information about my ancestors, I would love to go back to to [sic] the end of the 18th Century and see just what it was like being a labourer on the land as my great, great great grandfather Thomas Baker was in Lound in Suffolk in the 1790s and it would enable me to go back a bit further too and find out about Thomas' parents and where they came from. I would like too to find out about my mother's Irish ancestry, which is quite difficult to uncover.
  6. ^ a b "Colin Baker: Time Gentleman". Cambridge News. 5 July 2012. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Death of former Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner". BBC Online. 2 May 2002. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  8. ^ Sawdey, Evan (23 March 2010). "Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma". PopMatters. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Amid the suits, a man who stands out". The Guardian. London, UK. 3 April 2004. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Michael Grade delivers second opinion on Doctor Who: 'I was wrong'". The Guardian. London. 5 January 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  11. ^ DVD Commentary: Trial of a Time Lord, Discs 1–4 Region 1 Edition
  12. ^ David Woodward (Writer, producer, Director) (1986). They All Axed for Who (Television production). New Orleans: WYES. Event occurs at 0:05:30.
  13. ^ "Colin Baker". BBC Online. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  14. ^ Trials and Tribulations – documentary on Colin Baker's era of Doctor Who (2008 2entertain DVD release).
  15. ^ McEwan, Cameron K. (3 December 2018). "Doctor Who star Peter Davison thinks he 'dodged a bullet' by quitting when he did". Digital Spy. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  16. ^ Jeffery, Morgan. "Colin Baker says he was "selfish" not to film Doctor Who regeneration scene: 'I forgot about the fans'". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Colin Baker – Honorary President!". DWAS Online. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  18. ^ "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot", BBC programmes, retrieved 26 November 2013
  19. ^ "Inspector Morse Has Stage Debut with Colin Baker". What's On Stage. 5 May 2010. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  20. ^ a b Westthorp, Alex (16 April 2014). "Dr Who: Films of Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy". Den of Geek. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Doctor Who News: People Roundup". Gallifrey News base. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  22. ^ "Celebrities: I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!". Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  23. ^ Walne, Toby (1 April 2013). "Actress Liza Goddard: 'Money is made to be spent'". The Daily Telegraph. Marrying Dr Who and a glam rock star – a financially astute move?.
  24. ^ "Biography". Colin Baker Online. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Visits 'would help prevent deaths'". BBC News. 2 February 2000.
  26. ^ "Colin's Major role". BBC Three Counties Radio. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  27. ^ Donaldson, Stephen R. (August 2004). "Gradual Interview". Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  28. ^ "SNP to vote against Tories on fox hunting ban in England and Wales". STV. 13 July 2015. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.

External links[edit]