If you’ve read the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine, then you’ve seen that during the issue’s Steven Moffat interview there’s a small piece entitled In Defence of Six. In this piece, Moffat describes how (once he turned his tv’s colour off) he’s re-evaluated the Sixth Doctor as a whole.
“You can see him, and he’s really good. He’s not at all what you remember him as being, the vulgar, brash Doctor; he’s quite kind, he’s sweet.”
Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it?
“He’s cultured, but sort of common too. He’s the opera buff who sits in the cheap seats because he enjoys the company. If someone walked in wearing [the Sixth Doctor’s] costume, Colin’s Doctor would be the first person to take the mickey out of it.”
Now, the comparison between the Sixth and Twelfth Doctors is hardly new. From the moment the Twelfth Doctor’s first episode Deep Breath had premiered, there was already similarities abound.
They both came after the youngest Doctors at that point in time; both inherited said Doctors’ companions which drastically changed their relationships; and even smaller things, like the fact that both Colin Baker and Peter Capaldi had been in Doctor Who before being cast as the Doctor (Baker in Arc of Infinity and Capaldi in The Fires of Pompeii).
The transition in tone between the younger, more “family friendly” Fifth Doctor to the rougher edged Sixth Doctor, mirrors the transition in tone between the Eleventh and Twelfth.
It’s interesting to see how these jarring changes in the feel of both the show and the character of the Doctor was received in the ’80s compared to now. While some people nowadays were thrown off by the sudden difference, it seems that, as a whole, most people have embraced this ruder incarnation of the Doctor, which was not really the case in the 1980s.
While the commonly believed idea that viewing figures went down in the Sixth Doctor’s era was actually a myth (they remained pretty much the same, aside from Season 23), the fact remains that Colin’s abrupt Doctor was consistently controversial within the BBC, ultimately leading to a forced regeneration.
So what really was the difference between these two versions of the Time Lord? Essentially, how uncaring and rude the Doctor could and should be wasn’t well realised with the Sixth Doctor during his time on the show. Now, that’s not a problem with the Sixth Doctor himself. Fans of Big Finish’s Sixth Doctor range know that given into the right hands, this incarnation could have a more balanced relationship with his more romantic and brash sides.
It doesn’t take an amazing writer to realise that this might not be the best way to make a harsh Doctor that we can also feel sympathetic for:
So, what do you think? Do you feel that the Sixth and Twelfth Doctors are similar? Do you not? Do you like one incarnation but not the other? Let us know!