Doctor Who – The Colin Baker Era Rankings

So you’ll have gathered by now that on the whole I felt the Colin Baker Era of Doctor Who was garbage.

To say the show went downhill – especially in Season 22 – would be a massive understatement, although in fairness to it, the rot had began to set in slightly earlier.

I have to admit though, I felt that both Colin Baker and the show as a whole improved greatly in The Trial of a Timelord, and like I said in my reviews of both Terror of the Vervoids and the Ultimate Foe, Bonnie Langford represented a companion who worked far better with him. Maybe it was that she was better, or perhaps it was because the antagonistic Doctor/Companion relationship had made way for a friendlier and more harmonious one.

If I only had the TV stuff to go on, I imagine I probably wouldn’t like Baker at all, but his Big Finish stuff has shown that he’s a capable actor and a terrific Doctor when given a suitable script.

So it’s the writers, the likes of Eric Saward, Pip & Jane Baker, Robert Holmes and Glen McCoy who must be blamed, along with John Nathan Turner of course, who was responsible for the costume and decisions like moving the show to Seville for no good reason.

It’s also the format. The show improved greatly on moving back to 23 minute episodes, as the 45 minute style sucked the life right out of it.

Almost every episode dragged and every story was an episode too long.


The Stories

11. The Twin Dilemma

The Colin Baker Era gets off to the worst possible start with a serious contender for the most terrible Doctor Who story ever broadcast. Embarrassing and dreadfully acted.

10. The Two Doctors

“Let’s bring back Patrick Troughton and Fraser Hines, and then film it in Spain. Nobody will care if it’s shit”. Well I care.

9. Mark of the Rani

Nothing really happens. It just peters out.

8. Timelash

I love the Borad, and Paul Darrow is fun, but the rest is embarrassing.

7. The Ultimate Foe

A disappointing and disjointed conclusion to The Trial of a Timelord

6. Vengeance on Varos

I feel as though I’m supposed to like it, but again just found it dull.

5. Revelation of the Daleks

Tried to recreate the buzz of Caves of Androzani but only succeeds in making it sound like it. The worst use of the Daleks ever, and I include The Space Museum and The War Games in that.

4. The Mysterious Planet

Even though it’s no more than average, the format change helps it, as does the change in Colin Baker’s character

3. Attack of the Cybermen

Comfortably the best story of Season 22, even though it in itself is not all that praiseworthy.

2. Mindwarp

A Dramatic improvement on everything that has come before it in the Baker era, and a genuinely shocking ending.

1. Terror of the Vervoids

Well you’ve got to laugh, haven’t you? It’s so badly thought out that it becomes a highly enjoyable piece of television for all the wrong reasons. If you don’t see the funny side you need to lighten up.

The Top Five Cliffhangers

5. The Ultimate Foe Episode One

Well I don’t like how it’s resolved, but the sight of Colin Baker being pulled into quicksand is quite impressive

4. Terror of the Vervoids Episode Two

Since almost every cliffhanger involved a close-up of Colin Baker’s face, this one – perhaps the most unnecessary of all the cliffhanger close-ups – makes me laugh.

3. Terror of the Vervoids Episode Four

The Doctor now faces a charge of genocide. Oooh.

2. Terror of the Vervoids Episode One

Not only does it look impressive but it leaves us with the great unanswered question. The bloke says to Mel “We don’t want you breaking your neck. At least not until…” Not until what?!?

1. Mindwarp Episode Four

The only cliffhanger of the entire Colin Baker era with even an ounce of drama. Baker’s finest moment.

The Companions

2. Peri

Only had one good story. She was more often than not annoying and didn’t work well with Colin Baker’s Doctor.

1. Mel

She only had one good story too. But those four episodes made up two-thirds of her overall output.

Additional: Evelyn Smythe and Frobisher are better than either of them.

The Seasons

2. Season 22 (with special guest star The Twin Dilemma)

Just awful. Worst season of Doctor Who ever.

1. Season 23

Two good stories, one average one, one poor one. That’s about as good as you can hope for by this stage.


6 Responses to Doctor Who – The Colin Baker Era Rankings

  1. Slavin Ivanov says:

    Seriously, why didn’t the BBC fire JNT instead? I mean, if Philip Hinchcliffe had to be removed because the show was getting more and more violent, then the same should have happened to JNT too!
    I don’t think the viewers hated Colin or did they?
    So you think none of his stories are classics then? How sad.

  2. Perry Armstrong says:

    I’m happy ‘Vervoids’ rated so well, as it’s a guilty pleasure of mine.

    Overall, one’s feelings about the programme at this time are melancholy, as a whole bunch of very devoted people were clearly working their asses off and it just wasn’t coming together.

    • sgmilne says:

      JNT might have been devoted, but he was also fairly useless as a producer. It’s summed up by him thinking Time and the Rani was good

  3. Zygon says:

    all bollocks-watch tom baker instead!

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