Colin Baker played the sixth incarnation of the Doctor from 1984 to 1986, beginning with the concluding scene of The Caves of Androzani and ending with The Ultimate Foe. He reprised the role for the 1993 Children in Need special, Dimensions in Time, and has also voiced the Doctor for numerous Doctor Who audio stories for Big Finish Productions. As the Doctor, he had a mass of curly fair hair and a lurid patchwork coat. He was assisted by companions Peri Brown and Melanie Bush.
Before being selected to replace Peter Davison as the Doctor, Baker was an established television actor. His most notable role was Paul Merroney in The Brothers. Baker also guest starred as "Bayban the Butcher" in an episode of Blake's 7.
Prior to being cast as the Doctor, Baker had guest starred in the programme, as Commander Maxil in the Peter Davison serial Arc of Infinity. At one point in the serial, Maxil shoots the Doctor; Baker often jokes that he got the part of the Doctor by killing the incumbent.
Baker's era was interrupted by an eighteen-month hiatus, officially because the show was moved back from the spring to the autumn schedule. He was ultimately dismissed from the part at the insistence of BBC management, who wanted to refresh the show. The Controller of BBC One at the time, Michael Grade, criticised Doctor Who, saying that the programme had become overly violent and its storylines farcical. Baker was offered the first four episodes of the next season in order to pave the way for a regeneration, which he turned down as he did not wish to miss out on other work in the meantime. He did offer to do the whole season and have the Doctor regenerate at the end, but this was refused. As of 2017[update], he is the only actor to play the Doctor who has been fired by the BBC.
Since leaving Doctor Who he has continued to act, mainly on the stage, where he played the Doctor again in Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure, replacing Jon Pertwee in the part. He returned to television as the Doctor in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time. He has played a Doctor-like character in the BBV Productions video series The Stranger, reprised the role of the Doctor in a series of audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions and played an alternate version of the Doctor in AUDIO: Disassembled. In a poll conducted by Doctor Who Magazine, [which?] fans voted Baker the "greatest" of the Doctors in the audio plays.
Post-Who television work during the 1990s included guest appearances in the BBC's medical drama Casualty and Channel 4's adaptation of A Dance to the Music of Time. He appeared as himself as the resident celebrity in 'Dictionary Corner' on the daytime quiz show Countdown, also on Channel 4. He appeared in the first episode of Jonathan Creek (1997). He also appeared in an episode of the George Lucas TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, making him one of four classic series Doctors (the others being Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davison) to appear in an American TV series after leaving the role. In an appearance in an episode of the BBC's long-running medical drama series, Casualty, Baker played a Doctorish patient named David Vincent (named after Roy Thinnes' character in The Invaders TV series) who was a UFO nut and in an episode of Al Murray's pub sitcom, Time Gentlemen Please, made by Sky TV, he appeared as a character named Professor Baker.
In 1994, Colin Baker had the distinction of being the only Doctor to have written a Doctor Who story, penning The Age of Chaos, a graphic novel published by Marvel UK featuring the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher. He has also written several short stories for Doctor Who Magazine and its Yearbooks featuring the Sixth Doctor. Although Matt Smith is known to have written several short stories featuring the Doctor in preparation for playing the Eleventh Doctor, as of 2016 none have been published, making Baker still the only Doctor actor to have written published Doctor Who fiction.
He was once married to Liza Goddard. He had 5 children. Jack is the most well known for activating Baker's support for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. Jack died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1983.
Since 1995, Baker has written a column for the Bucks Free Press. In 2010, Hirst Books published a volume of a hundred of these columns called Look Who's Talking. They announced a second collection, including Baker's Doctor Who fiction entitled Gallimaufry. Baker both wrote and read The Wings of a Butterfly for Short Trips: Volume 1.
Since Nicholas Courtney's death in 2011, he has been the honorary President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. Although it is said the two didn't really know each other, Baker paid his respects to the late Elisabeth Sladen after she died the same year.
In 2015, Baker finally saw a chance to perform a genuine regeneration story for his Doctor in the Big Finish audio anthology The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure, putting to bed his jest that he had never handed over the role, which he discussed at length in the commentary featured with the release. At 28 years since his exit from Doctor Who, he holds the record for the longest time an actor who played the Doctor has waited to perform a regeneration scene after leaving the series, even surpassing Paul McGann's extensive wait of 17 years.