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Colin Baker’s Trial of a Teen Chibnall: What Does Colin Think of Chris?

Everyone’s favourite Sixth Doctor actor Colin Baker has forgiven critical comments made by current Doctor Who showrunner 33 years ago, proving that he continues to conduct himself in a manner not unbecoming a Time Lord.

Back in the days when Stock Aitken Waterman stalked these isles and Thatchos ruled in Downing Street, a young fresh-faced (kind of), bespectacled Whovian and his chums decided to put The Trial of a Time Lord on, um, trail…

This was back in 1986, when the BBC had such a fondness for Doctor Who that they used one of their own daytime discussion shows, Open Air, to give airtime to a bunch of besuited honking adolescents who (despite calling themselves fans) thought the latest series was a little bit crap.

One member of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society (Merseyside Branch) venting his views, was none other than a 16-year-old Chris Chibnall. Young Chibbers said:

“It doesn’t seem to have much to it. It hasn’t improved that much since it went off the air. It could have been a lot better. It could have been slightly better written… especially the last story. Not only [that it was too complicated], it was also cliched. It was very routine – running up and down corridors and silly monsters.”

In SFX magazine, Colin Baker was asked if he has any opinions about the current showrunner. He replies:

“A lot! Rumour has it he was quite rude about me back in the day, but I’ll forgive him that because what he’s producing is really exciting stuff.”

How very gracious of Ol’ Sixie.

To be fair to Chris, he’s already had to deal with the Open Air appearance in pre-publicity for the Thirteenth Doctor’s debut season last year. Interviewed by the Telegraph, Chris declared that what he said back in 1986 was a “load of nonsense”.

“Imagine if something you did for 20 minutes when you were 16 has resonance when you are 30 years older. It’s kind of extraordinary,” he said laughing. Of course, this was before he was subjected to the opinions of fans in relation to his performance as lead scriptwriter and showrunner on Series 11.

Far be it from The Doctor Who Companion’s news pages to stray into areas of criticism, but we’d politely ask Mr Chibnall three-decades-on to review those comments and – as John Nathan-Turner said back in the day – maybe take some of those points on-board? Of course with the latest series wrapped, we can only hope that he has already… Here’s to “really exciting stuff” rather than “could have been a lot better”…

Peter Shaw

Colin Baker’s Trial of a Teen Chibnall: What Does Colin Think of Chris?

by Peter Shaw time to read: 2 min
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