Regenerations in Doctor Who are always epic scenes, right? Having one Doctor bravely meet their end only to be replaced by a brand new star is a major part of the transition between eras. One time in Who history, though, things didn’t go to plan. When Colin Baker was let go by the BBC in 1986, he turned down the offer to return for a brief regeneration scene. So, what we got was his successor Sylvester McCoy in a bad blonde wig. Watch the moment here, if you dare.
Reflecting back on the incident in 2019, Baker has now admitted that he thinks he was wrong to refuse to return for the scene, feeling that he was “selfish” to ignore what the fans wanted. Speaking at a talk to commemorate the release of his final season, one long 14-part story titled “The Trial of a Time Lord” on Blu-Ray, the actor said:
“This was in November and [filming his regeneration] would take place the following March/April… I wasn’t going to commit myself to two weeks work the next March/April… and I’ll be honest, I was hacked off. I saw no reason to be nice to them. I forgot about [the fans]–sorry. I was being brutally selfish at the time and I just felt annoyed. Because I loved that part… and I thought I had more to offer.”
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Honestly, as kind as it is for Baker to apologize to the fans like this, he really doesn’t need to and was totally in the right when it came to his decision. Essentially, when the BBC criticized the direction the show was going in, the production team needed a fall guy and Baker took the hit. The star had hoped to stay on for many more years and was understandably hurt by the decision to fire him.
It shows just how nice a guy Baker is that he didn’t let this experience dampen his passion for Doctor Who, though. He’s since played the Sixth Doctor countless times on audio for Big Finish, with a new regeneration story better explaining why his incarnation died. He’s also Jodie Whittaker’s number one fan.
Source: Radio Times