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Colin Baker: Classic Doctors Are “Excess Baggage” (Except, Presumably, McGann)

Well here we were all ready to talk about the controversy over comments made by Colin Baker over the exclusion of the past Doctors from the 50th anniversary celebrations. However, we now know that simply isn’t true…well for one former Doctor at least.

Speaking to Attractions Magazine the Sixth Doctor commented that the classic Doctors have been nothing but ‘surplus baggage’ and ‘deemed unworthy of inclusion’ in The Day of the Doctor.

Baker said:

I’m not in it. I can say that Peter isn’t because I’ve seen him recently. And I can tell you that Sylvester isn’t, and neither is Paul. None of us have been deemed worthy of inclusion in a programme that celebrates 50 years of a British television programme, of which I was in it for three.

We are surplus baggage.

So does the Doctor lie?

Is the Eighth Doctor’s return just a small taste of what is in store in the coming days? Were these comments simply Colin adding a little Sixth Doctor-esque dramatic flourish to his part in towing the line?

Was he upset about being ignored for the main episode – after all, his comments don’t rule out ancillary appearances like the Eighth Doctor’s.

As Doctor Who Archive comments:

Colin, Peter, Sylvester and Paul (the true fab four!) however have filmed some description of material as revealed by Sean Pertwee last month. It’s still not known what the material entails or whether it will be broadcast in some form over the 50th anniversary period.

Or, and this seems unlikely, have the other Doctors, who narratively speaking, don’t seem to be as relevant to the wider events of the Time War, been left out of the celebrations entirely?

It would seem slightly churlish to bemoan the lack of involvement in the episode itself as simply as a matter of being ‘surplus’ to the actual plot – with the wider implication being that the two men differ greatly in their opinion of whether or not you can tell a compelling, dramatic multi-Doctor story.

It isn’t something that Moffat has ever denied – his familiar response to questions about returning characters over his reign can be summed up in one single word; ‘story’ and it strikes me he isn’t a man who’ll sacrifice that need to spin a compelling yarn for the sake of celebration.

In fact, he said so himself in the the official BBC Media Pack for The Day of the Doctor:

I adored ‘The Three Doctors’, it was brilliant, an accidental piece of magic. I also loved ‘The Five Doctors’. I did think that was the one where possibly the desire to celebrate overwhelmed the desire to tell a story. But I can’t really begrudge it that!

So who is at fault? Is there any fault at all? Are multi-Doctor stories and engaging narratives mutually exclusive entities? And what do you think is really going on with Colin’s apparent dislike of the manner in which the classic Doctors have been treated?

(Via Doctor Who Archive | Thanks to Paul)


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