Edit
Colin Baker Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 8 June 1943Waterloo, London, England, UK
Nickname Archie
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Colin Baker was born in 1943 in the Royal Waterloo Lying-In Hospital in London during an air raid. He spent his earliest years in London with his mother, while his father served in the armed forces. He narrowly avoided an early death during the wartime blitz when a piece of flying shrapnel just missed him, embedding itself in the side of his cot. After the war, Baker's father took a job as managing director of an abestos company in Manchester. The family moved north to live in Rochdale, although Baker attended school in Manchester. It was during his early schooling that - through the mother of one of his fellow pupils, who was a casting director at Granada TV - he had his first experience of acting. It was 1954 and the series was called My Wife's Sister (1956), starring Eleanor Summerfield, Martin Wyldeck and Helen Christie. Colin Baker went on to attend St. Bede's College in Manchester, where he was invited to take part in their annual productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. The twelve-years-old Baker appeared in the chorus for a production of "Yeoman of the Guard" and, a year later, landed a more major part - playing the female lead, "Phyllis" - in "Iolanthe". After completing his schooling, Baker went on to study law. One day during this period, he and his mother went to see an amateur production of "The King and I" at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. Inspired by the performance and encouraged by the president of the company that had staged the Amateur Dramatic Society and quickly became hooked on acting. Baker took a job as a solicitor but, as time went on, became less and less interested in this career. Finally, at the age of twenty-three, he decided to become a full-time actor. Baker joined the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), where he trained for three years. At the end of this, he was summoned with two of his fellow students to see the head of the drama school, who gave them rather gloomy predictions for their future prospects as actors and suggested that they seek alternative careers. These predictions proved somewhat wide of the mark as not only did Baker go on to great success but so too did his fellow students - David Suchet (who amongst many other achievements starred in LWT's award-winning productions of Agatha Christie's "Poirot") and Mel Martin (whose numerous credits include the series Love for Lydia (1977), also for LWT). After leaving LAMDA, Baker took a temporary job driving a taxi in Minehead in order to be near his then-girlfriend. He then received a call to come to London to audition for a part in a BBC2 drama series called Roads to Freedom (1970), which he won. This led to further TV roles, including two more for BBC2: "Count Wenceslas Steinbock" in "Balzac's Cousin Bette" (1971) and "Prince Anatol Kuragin" in an ambitious twenty-part serialisation of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" (1972-72). He also took on a wide range to theatre work, including several William Shakespeare festivals, appearing in productions of "Macbeth" and "Hamlet". In the mid-seventies, Baker landed the role that would make him "the man viewers love to hate". This was "Paul Merroney" in the BBC1 series The Brothers (1972). After "The Brothers", Baker married actress Liza Goddard, who had played his on-screen wife in the series, but the marriage eventually ended in divorce. Baker later married actress Marion Wyatt. Theatre work kept Baker almost constantly busy for the next five years including appearances in everything from comedies to thrillers, as well as more Shakespeare. He also had a few further TV roles, including one as "Bayban" in "Blake's 7: City at the Edge of the World" (BBC, 1980) and one opposite Nyree Dawn Porter and Ian Hendry in the drama series, For Maddie with Love (1980) (ATV, 1980). Baker's next TV role after "For Maddie with Love" was as "Maxil" in the Doctor Who (1963) story, "Arc of Infinity". Shortly before Baker took the role of the Doctor on "Doctor Who", he and his wife suffered the loss of their baby son, Jack, to cot death syndrome. Baker subsequently became a passionate fund raiser for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, with many of is personal appearance fees being donated to the charity. Baker's time as the sixth Doctor was cut unexpectly short, initially by the hiatus between the twenty-second and twenty-third seasons and then by the decision of the BBC executives to oust him from the role. After his departure from "Doctor Who", the actor returned to the theatre, appearing in highly successful runs of "Corpse" and "Deathtrap" and having a four-month stint in the West End farce, "Run for Your Wife", with Terry Scott. TV work included a guest appearance in the BBC's Casualty (1986) and presenting assignments on programmes for the Children's Channel. After directing a play called "Bazaar and Rummage", Baker was asked to play the Doctor once again - this time on stage, taking over from Jon Pertwee in the Mark Furness Ltd production, "The Ultimate Adventure". This tour proved to him that, despite the brevity of his time as the Doctor on TV, he had amassed a loyal following amongst younger viewers. In the 1990s, Baker had continued to pursue a successful career, mainly in the theatre. He has made regular appearances in pantomime, and his stage work has included roles in the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" and in a comedy entitled "Fear of Flying". He has also starred in the "Stranger" series of videos made by Bill Baggs Video, alongside a number of other actors known for their work on "Doctor Who".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Marion Baker (1982 - present) (5 children)
Liza Goddard (1976 - ?) (divorced)

Trivia (21)

Is one of three "Doctor Who" actors who portrayed "The Doctor" on TV to appear in an episode of Casualty (1986). (So far, he has appeared twice -- once on September 15, 1989 and once on January 3, 1998.) The others are Sylvester McCoy and Christopher Eccleston.
Before being cast as "Commander Maxil" in Doctor Who (1963): Arc Of Infinty, he was first considered for "The Castellen" (played by Paul Jerricho).
Shortlisted for Cotton (Rick James) in Doctor Who: The Mutants
A possible for Jellioc (Alec Linstead) in Doctor Who: Robot
He is the Founder Patron for the "Go For Its" Theatre School in Teddington, Middlesex, England.
Studied to become a lawyer before deciding to take up a career in acting.
Was the roommate of David Troughton, son of the second "Doctor Who", during the 60s and later became the best man at his wedding.
After the death of his son Jack in 1983, became active in increasing the profile of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He has raised funds for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.
Baker was the only actor ever to have been fired from playing the Doctor in Doctor Who (1963) due to dwindling ratings. In an unprecedented event in the history of the series, the decision to remove the actor was made by a BBC executive, BBC One Controller Michael Grade, who had just brought the series back after an 18-month hiatus. Series producer John Nathan-Turner, who had originally cast Baker, wanted the actor to continue in the role but was overruled. The BBC's Head of Drama, Jonathan Powell, asked Baker to return the following year to record a regeneration scene. As a compromise, Baker asked for one more season, at the end of which he would regenerate. Powell told him to go home and they would think about it. Baker never heard back and Sylvester McCoy put on a blond wig and did Baker's regeneration scene after he took the role of The Doctor. Baker has since stated that he has always felt aggrieved that Grade never told him personally why he had to go.
Ex-son-in-law of David Goddard.
Is of Irish ancestry on his mother's side.
Is the first actor to play the Doctor in Doctor Who (1963) who has previously had a role in the series (as Commander Maxil in the 1983 story "Arc Of Infinty"). The second actor is Peter Capaldi (12th Doctor).
Has admitted to never caring much for the deliberately tasteless costume he wore during Doctor Who (1963) (a garish, multi-coloured patchwork coat, a large spotted cravat and striped yellow trousers) but it was chosen by series producer John Nathan-Turner.
In recent years, his popularity among the Doctor Who fanbase has experienced a resurgence thanks to his performances in the Doctor Who audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions, and in a Doctor Who Magazine poll was voted as the best actor to play the Doctor in this format.
No relation to Doctor Who predecessor Tom Baker.
Elected as the Honorary President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society in 2011, succeeding the late Nicholas Courtney.
Participated in the 12th series of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! (2002) in 2012, finishing 8th out of 12 celebrities.
He had been a huge fan of 'Doctor Who (1963)' since the first episode and claimed it was his dream role.
The Fast Show character Colin Hunt is modeled after Colin Baker.
Colin Baker related the character of the Doctor to a quote from Rudyard Kipling "I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me". This made him decide to wear a different cat badge on his costume in each story arc. He subsequently received a lot more cat badges from fans in the mail. When he played the Doctor on stage in 1989 these gifts gave him the opportunity to wear a different badge in every single performance.

Personal Quotes (9)

None of my daughters saw Doctor Who. All the tapes are on the shelf and every now and then I've said 'are you interested in seeing one?' 'Oh, no, pur-leeze, Dad ...' Then they watch the new one and ask, 'was that what you were in?', and they've started watching them. And the accolade of all accolades - 'oh, you're not bad - almost as good as Christopher Eccleston!'
It is heartening that they are still prepared to tolerate the old fogies who used to portray the nation's favourite Time Lord in the age of the new improved programme and the ever youthening Doctor. As if David Tennant hadn't already proved the visibly beneficial power of time travel on the genes, the imminent new one, Matt Smith, we are told, is so young that he is likely to be asked for ID if he tries to purchase an intergalactic gargle blaster in licensed premises either side of the Atlantic.
When the time came for the option on my contract to be taken up by the BBC, which was the end of October, he (John Nathan-Turner) rang up and said, 'I don't even know if we're doing the programme. They haven't even told me if I'm producing it next year, so I can't take up the option at the moment.' So the option lapsed. Then, at the beginning of November, he rang me up and said, 'Look, I've got a bit of bad news. The programme is going ahead but Michael Grade has instructed me to replace the Doctor. I was quite surprised by this! You know that sort of blood-draining- from-your-veins kind of feeling? John said he had told them that he thought it was a dreadful mistake and he wanted me to play the Doctor, but they were adamant. 'Grade says three years is quite enough. He's said nothing derogatory about your performance, he thinks you are fine, but he thinks a new Doctor will give the programme a boost. I have pointed out that you have not done three years, and that you have done only one and a half seasons, but he remains adamant that that is long enough and it's time for a change.' So there was nothing much I could do about it. It goes against what I was asked to do, when I started the show, by David Reid - Powell's (Jonathan Powell) predecessor. He asked me if I was prepared to commit myself to the programme for four years. Having said yes in 1983 to four years of 26 episodes a year, I actually did one year of 26 episodes (or the equivalent), nothing at all the next year, and just fourteen episodes the next. Then I was unceremoniously bundled out. So I felt fairly aggrieved. (On leaving Doctor Who (1963) in 1986)
For me to have the opportunity to follow in John Thaw's footsteps and bring this sullen, intuitive intellectual to life on-stage, is both daunting and very exciting. When I saw the size of the role I was quite taken aback. I'm on stage a lot of the time although I do get a breath occasionally, but with the nature of the piece it jumps very quickly between scenes. In that respect I took a deep breath and threw myself into it. Alma Cullen who wrote four of the hugely successful TV episodes has written the play, which given its setting I think is quite ingenious. I didn't watch any of the TV series, as it's such a strong role that is so inextricably linked to John. I didn't want to just re-enact the part as an imitation or an impression of the role he played on TV. It certainly is an iconic role. Hopefully I can take the spirit of Morse and make it my own while endeavouring to fill the shoes of the late and very great John Thaw with as much distinction as I can. So really all I have to do is learn the lines and hope that the audiences will accept me. I worked my way through the novels during the summer. I found them incredibly useful in getting into the skin of the grumpy genius but I have also enjoyed reading them as stories. However, I have been astonished, and slightly appalled, at the similarities between Morse and myself. Whilst I may not be of slight build with a paunch, well not the slight bit anyway, I share many of his characteristics. I did Greek at grammar school. I don't like spiders, blood or heights. I prefer instant to ground coffee. I love doing the Times crosswords and when I did it on a daily basis could do it in much the same time as Morse. I get hot under the collar about the misuse of English and correct people's grammar. I cannot wear wool. I was emphatically not a boy scout. I played a bit of tennis and had a mean backhand. I didn't study physics. I could never bear not knowing what words meant and always had to go and look them up in books too. I had a Meccano set and read the Dandy and the Beano. Add to that the fact that I took my driving test in my father's car when I was 19 and he suddenly had a stroke so I had to learn to drive quickly - and that car was a maroon Mk 2 Jaguar. Also all my children were born in Oxford as well! (On playing Inspector Morse (1987) on stage)
I don't think I'll ever move away from that and to be honest I have no particular desire to move away from it. I don't understand those who are precious about these things. I don't get it when actors say 'Oh that's something I did 20 years ago I don't want to talk about'. Let's be honest, Doctor Who (1963) is special, it's played a huge part in the British public's consciousness. It's good to see the BBC appreciating it and valuing it now, which they didn't do during my time in the late '80s. I've enjoyed immensely watching it. However when I left, the ratings were exactly the same, 5-6 million, as they are now, they were no different. I know the television landscape has changed but it's ironic nonetheless. (Speaking in 2010)
I was a little unhappy that [script editor] Eric Saward took the opportunity to say he thought I should never have been cast in the first place, which given the fact that this was a guy I'd entertained in my home and never indicated to me how he felt - I thought it was a bit shabby. When people you think are your friends let you down that's crappy, but Michael Grade wasn't a friend of mine. Before he came to the BBC he was talking about not liking Doctor Who (1963) and thinking that it was a bit of tired old rubbish that ought to be cancelled. So it was perfectly acceptable when he came there that he cancelled it, and when he brought it back it was entirely his prerogative as head of BBC One to say that it was time to change the actor. I don't actually think it was personal. At the time I thought 'he doesn't like me and thinks I'm a rubbish actor'. But with the benefit of information from third parties it's quite clear that he just didn't like the programme.
Fighting monsters is dead easy. Just walk away from 'em at a brisk pace and you're safe. (On fighting the notoriously slow-moving adversaries on Doctor Who (1963).)
I met Jimmy Savile briefly in the 1980s when I was working on Doctor Who (1963). A young man had written asking if he could "fix it" for him to meet the Doctor and travel in the Tardis. After the lad had saved the day and the Sontarans had been "fixed", Savile entered the set and did his usual self-congratulatory shtick. I didn't warm to him. His demeanour was neither friendly, nor inclusive. He behaved much as one might expect a child to behave who had been indulged and led to believe that life revolved around them. There was certainly none of the professional respect that one would expect to be shared when two programmes combine for a special purpose. Even though we were on the Tardis set, it was very much his territory and his agenda. A special scene was written, called A Fix with the Sontarans, which we duly rehearsed and recorded. The other actors and I had worked hard over a couple of days to create a relaxed atmosphere, but the first and only time he saw Savile was when he came on the set when the cameras were rolling. His eyes were cold and his demeanour patronising. I recall clearly the disappointment I felt for the young boy for whom I suspect the whole experience was daunting and overwhelming. At least it was I who got to put the Jim'll Fix It medallion around his neck. There is of course a huge difference between finding someone creepy and patronising and suspecting them of being a sexual predator. I only hope that the BBC's failure to investigate him does not tarnish, in the eyes of the world, an organisation that has rightly been regarded as a bastion of honest and honourable broadcasting for decades. There may have been individuals who could or should have been braver in confronting the unpleasant possibility of his depravity when rumours and accusations surfaced, but that is evidently also true of the hospitals and mental institutions that trusted him to the extent that he had his own set of keys for Broadmoor with living quarters on the site and a bedroom at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. A picture is emerging of a man unusually adept at manipulation and concealment. Identifying willing co-conspirators and abusers is much more important than demonising the bamboozled who may have thought their suspicions so far off the scale of decent human behaviour as to be unbelievable.
[on Jon Pertwee] He was a man of such presence and stature. I can't believe he has gone - it is a great shock. Of all of the interpretations of the doctors his was the most straight in terms of avoiding comedy.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page