Top 10 Moments From The Classic Doctors At Doctor Who Celebration
One of the most enjoyable things about the Doctor Who Official 50th Celebration was the mix of old and new. The schedule was perfectly balanced between the classic period and new Who, meaning fans of all time periods were more than welcome. There were just as many flashy coats and scarves as there were Amy Pond cosplayers and fez-based outfits.
On the Saturday Flicks And The City attended the Regenerations panel hosted by the voice of the Daleks himself, Nicholas Briggs. We were treated to a number of classic Doctors – Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. All were in fine form, demonstrating their wit and fantastic comic timing, as well as their sheer love of all things Who. It was a real highlight of the day to hear from so many men who have played such important roles in the longevity of Doctor Who and have brought it to where it is today.
With so many years of experience between them, it was hard to cover enough ground in the short space of one panel, but many anecdotes were shared and here are some of our highlights from the tales of Doctors of old.
1. A modern twist on an old tale keeps the memories alive.
Peter Davison is really appreciative of how Doctor Who has come back. Never expecting it to come back in such a huge fashion, he really believes that the success of the show now means that the older Doctors get more and more fans every day. Today the show is arguably the most prestigious project the BBC has, which is ironic considering it was dropped for many years! Colin Baker’s daughters wouldn’t watch his old episodes, yet as soon as Christopher Eccleston came in they were mesmerised, and were suddenly amazed that their dad ever had the same role. McCoy feels vindicated that while he may have killed the show off, it’s back now and loved more than ever – plus his bank manager enjoys the royalties!
Tom Baker’s desire was always to take the role of the Doctor and make it his own. He admits to not being a fan of watching it really, but instead wanted to play that part with such desire and enthusiasm. He even jokes that he didn’t know that the show ever went away! Doctor Who was a rebirth of sorts for Tom, and it was an all-consuming role on and off the set. Being the Doctor on audio discs gives him a chance to carry it on for many years past his TV role.
3. The fame of the Doctor follows you for many years.
While at Buckingham Palace recently, Tom Baker had prepared all the relevant paperwork and similar to prove his identity to get in, and once at the security gates the guard waved him straight through, saying he’d seen him in Waitrose the other day! Not quite the usual recognition he gets, but useful all the same..
4. There is no role that is more life-changing.
Tom Baker refers to himself as a ‘walking fiction’ during his time as the Doctor. Everything had to be done in that style. You knew that any family around the country would quite happily invite you into their living rooms as you were the Doctor! There was no scandalising of children or any other risque situations. You knew your responsibility, which wasn’t just to children but to their parents and anyone who watched. In fact, now he goes to local hospices and sees those who watched him back then. One old lady was so thrilled to see him that she thought she’d died and gone to Heaven, greeted by the Doctor at the gates!
5. Becoming the Doctor after being a fan is a strange experience.
Peter was the first Doctor that grew up watching the show and then won the role, which was exciting and bizarre all at the same time. He often thought of being in it, but never even imagined that he’d get the main part. It didn’t necessarily catapult him to mega-stardom, having already worked and continued to do so, but it’s something that is still a real pleasure to be a part of. How could you not enjoy weekends of people telling you how much they love you?!
6. Sometimes others don’t share the same enthusiasm about the role.
As you can imagine, Colin Baker was utterly delighted after filming his first scenes as the Doctor. Having rushed home to tell his wife, she simply nodded her head and said ‘that’s nice’ followed by asking him to put the rubbish out! Not the best reaction to what many call the best job on television!
7. Patrick Troughton remains an inspiration to this day.
Not only does Matt Smith often refer to Troughton as one of his biggest influences on his take on the Doctor, but Tom Baker is a huge fan of the Second Doctor as well. Tom was impressed by his darkness and intensity, especially knowing Patrick himself as a sweet and considerate man. The spin he put on the Doctor was partly his own personality but certainly looking into a much deeper part of his psyche. He always gave the impression that he wasn’t telling you everything, which is exactly how the Doctor should be. There’s something in reserve and a secret being kept back. After all, that’s the title – Doctor WHO!
8. DVDs cause too many questions these days!
Way back when most episodes were either destroyed or not available to watch on a repeat basis, they didn’t have to worry so much about inconsistencies. Davison remembers numerous script problems which they tried to paper over and simply hoped for the best, but these days with Whovians watching the episodes over and over on DVD, it’s much harder to explain away the problems. You had to rely on the audience not examining things too closely.
9. Much like the Doctor, they had to fight for what they believed in.
During McCoy’s tenure, his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) was involved in a story which focused on the issue of race. She was involved with the Daleks, and there was a part where she was in a boarding house and there was meant to be a sign stating ‘no blacks’ which nearly got cut. Sylvester insisted on it staying in the production due to it being the whole point of the story, and it stuck.
10. If Peter Davison could be any other Doctor, he’d be Ten..
.. but this would mean he’d have to marry his own daughter, so that’s not happening!