Splendid Chaps – Six/Clothes


This year Doctor Who turns 50! To celebrate these 11 ‘splendid chaps‘, Ben McKenzie (Dungeon Crawl, ‘patron saint of geek comedy’) and John Richards (ABC1’s Outland, Boxcutters TV podcast) are recording a live podcast every month from January to November.

In June it’s Six/Clothes

Our sixth outing discusses the sometimes controversial Sixth Doctor, played by actor Colin Baker. Better known for playing villains and bullies – including Time Lord Commander Maxil in the Peter Davison story Arc of Infinity – Baker dug into the character’s past, bringing back some of William Hartnell’s arrogance and pomposity in order to offer a different take to his good-natured predecessor. It was a turbulent time to become the Doctor, though, as the show was suspended for 18 months, put on trial by the powers that be, and finally forced to make drastic changes – including firing the lead actor.
Most people, of course, remember Six for that outfit, and so this episode we discuss Clothes. Few programs have as broad-ranging a costume design remit, with new worlds, eras and civilisations needing to be created every week. Not to mention that an eccentric Time Lord and his companions need to find clothes that are practical in any situation, from soulless steel corridors to rocky alien landscapes, polar caps and the inside of volcanoes. Oh, and they need to be fashionable in any era… It’s a big ask, and as The Discontinuity Guide reminded us, there were fashion victims as well as triumphs. [1]

And as befits an episode on clothing, for the Saturday June 15th at the Podcast recording;

Yes, we want to see your best cosplay and Doctor Who related sartorial creations – and there will be prizes on offer. [1]

Homework viewing for episode Six/Clothes!
An internet crib sheet guide to the Dr Who episodes listed for the Splendid Chaps Six/Clothes.


If the Sixth Doctor is new to you, we recommend the following three television stories to see him in his prime: [2]

☛ Revelation of the Daleks
Revelation of the Daleks was the sixth and final story of Season 22 of Doctor Who. It was the last Doctor Who story to be produced in forty-five-minute episodes until Rose in 2005. It was also the last Doctor Who story to be produced in a mixture of video (for interior studio scenes) and film (for exterior locations).

* Tardis Data Core

☛ Vengeance on Varos
Seeking the rare mineral Zeiton-7 to repair his TARDIS, the Doctor arrives on Varos, a world where political prisoners and their guards are all subjected to sadistic tortures and executions which the colony’s inhabitants view and vote on through interactive television. Accused of being alien infiltrators helping the colony’s rebel factions, the Doctor and Peri find themselves the latest unwilling subjects in this most extreme form of reality TV.

* Tardis Data Core

☛ The Mysterious Planet (aka Trial of a Time Lord episodes 1-4)
The Mysterious Planet was the unofficial title given to the first four episodes of The Trial of a Time Lord, the season-long story that constituted season 23 of Doctor Who. The story marked the first appearance of the Inquisitor and the Valeyard, two characters who would appear throughout the season, along with Sabalom Glitz, who would appear again later in the season and also in Season 24. With this chapter, the series returned to half-hour episodes. Also beginning with this story, the series was now completely produced on videotape (with the exception, in this story, of a brief special effects sequence in Episode 1).

* Tardis Data Core

Fan wisdom, of course, suggests that Colin Baker really hits his stride off television – in his extraordinarily popular run of Big Finish audio adventures, where he has found a new legion of fans. We’d like to suggest a few of those, too:

☛ The Holy Terror
Starring Colin Baker and Robert Jezek
The TARDIS lands in a forbidding castle in a time of religious upheaval. The old god has been overthrown, and all heretics are to be slaughtered… (Nov-2000, #14)
* Big Finish

☛ The One Doctor
Starring Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford
When the evil Skelloids launch an attack upon the seventeen worlds of the Generios system, its peace-loving inhabitants face total destruction. (Dec-2001, #27)
* Big Finish

☛ Jubilee
Starring Colin Baker and Maggie Stables
The story that became ‘Dalek’ on TV. Although the televised episode in 2005 (starring Christopher Eccleston) ended up being very different in many important ways, this is the core of the idea that Russell T. Davies wanted writer Rob Shearman to develop. Find out how it all started… (Jan-2003, #40)
* Big Finish

☛ Doctor Who and The Pirates
Starring Colin Baker and Maggie Stables
All aboard, me hearties, for a rip-roaring tale of adventure on the high seas! There’ll be rum for all and sea shanties galore as we travel back… (Apr-2003, #43)
* Big Finish

☛ Davros
Starring Colin Baker, Terry Molloy and Bernard Horsfall
AlI stock has shot up by over fifteen percent on news that galaxy-famous scientist Davros, controversial creator of the Daleks, has been hired t… (Sep-2003, #48)
* Big Finish

And there’s some thought that the Sixth Doctor’s greatest adventure is actually in print: the comic Voyager from 1984, collected and reprinted in 1989 and 2007.



We’re also exploring the wonderful world of clothes – costumes, fashion and design – and while it’s hard to really pick just a few stories, here’s what we’ve come up with as a sampler of the show’s rich history of sartorial elegance and variety in design: [2]

☛ The Chase (William Hartnell, 1965; six episodes)
The Chase was the eighth story of season 2 of Doctor Who. As well as featuring the first use of time travel by the Daleks, it saw the departures of original companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, played by William Russell and Jacqueline Hill respectively, and the first appearance of new companion Steven Taylor, portrayed by Peter Purves. Peter Purves further does “double-duty” in this story, by appearing earlier in the serial as an incidental character.

* Tardis Data Core

☛ Robots of Death (Tom Baker, 1977; four episodes)
The Robots of Death was the fifth story in season fourteen of Doctor Who. It saw the Sandminer robots in their only televised appearance; they went on to appear several times in other media.

* Tardis Data Core

☛ The Talons of Weng-Chiang (Tom Baker, 1977; four episodes)
The Talons of Weng-Chiang was the sixth and final story in the fourteenth season of Doctor Who. It is and was often considered one of the most popular serials. Fan-favourite characters Henry Gordon Jago and George Litefoot made their first and only televised appearance, but would later be given their own audio series, Jago and Litefoot.

* Tardis Data Core

☛ Black Orchid (Peter Davison, 1982; two episodes)
Black Orchid was the fifth story in season nineteen of Doctor Who. It was the shortest story of the season at just two parts. The only science-fiction elements in Black Orchid were the TARDIS and its occupants. That said, few of its historical contents were actually accurate.
It was notable for being the highest-rated story of the Davison era. It also gave Sarah Sutton a chance to play two different characters, and Davison the opportunity to actually play cricket, thereby justifying his costume.

* Tardis Data Core

☛ Gridlock (David Tennant, S3, 2007; one episode)
Gridlock was the third episode of the third series of the revived series of Doctor Who. It marked the death of the Face of Boe and his final words to the Tenth Doctor and the first televised re-appearance of the Macra since 1967’s The Macra Terror. The Doctor and Martha Jones were separated for most of the story.

* Tardis Data Core

We freely admit to including The Chase entirely for Barbara’s cardigan. We wanted something from the new series, but nothing particularly stood out to us that wasn’t just a more recent example of something from the classic series (e.g. historical costumes, space outfits etc.). So we picked Gridlock for its variety – the Cats, the occupants of the cars, etc. We welcome your suggestions! (The End of the World is good for the same reasons, but we’re saving it for Nine.) [2]

A few stories we’ve already listed as homework for previous episodes also fit this theme rather nicely, including;

☛ Snakedance (Peter Davison)
Snakedance was the second story of the twentieth season of Doctor Who. A sequel to Kinda, it featured the return of the Mara and Nyssa’s first direct contact with the Mara. Three decades later, a sequel to this story — though not the one Bailey had attempted — was created for audio in the form of Big Finish’s The Cradle of the Snake.

* Tardis Data Core

☛ Ghost Light
Ghost Light was the second story in Season 26 of Doctor Who. Although two stories followed its broadcast, it was the last story of the classic series to be produced and the last to feature significant recording at BBC Television Centre.

* Tardis Data Core

Six/Clothes 23/06/2013 (Duration: 1:17:02 — 35.3MB)


[1] Six/Clothes (live show) (2013-May-24) [Splendid Chaps]
[2] The Six/Clothes viewing (and listening) list (2013-May-27) [Splendid Chaps]
[3] Doctor Who – Classic Series – Episode Guide – Sixth Doctor Index [BBC]

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