Short thoughts on Doctor Who disc by disc (originally published June 2012)
Vengeance on Varos
Tonight’s soundtrack: Modest Mouse, “Dark Center Of The Universe”
Colin Baker, eh? Talk about your poster boy for the Monkey’s Paw Society For The Strict Management Of Wishes. Seeing Colin there in his gaudy parody of a costume, knowing the reputation his era will receive, contemplating the forces both creative and managerial that were to blindly crush his ambitions between them, I can say that it would not surprise me to learn Colin Baker had danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight.
It’s a classic Satanic pact, right? “Hullo Colin, fancy meeting you at these crossroads.”
“Hello, er, you. Have you got the time?”
“Yeah, it’s midnight. What’ll you have, then?”
“Gosh, can I be Doctor Who? It’s the greatest role on television.”
“Sure you wouldn’t like some money? Maybe immortality?”
“Ha! None of your tricks, Old Scratch. I’ll get the money by staying in the role as long as I like, and the immortality from the love of children as I play the Doctor as a true alien.”
“You’re too clever for me, Colin Baker. Sign here and the part’s yours.”
CUT TO: Colin Baker stress eating as he stares at the morning paper. The date is one year later. His tasteless Doctor coat hangs behind him, just out of focus. Around and under his many plates are script pages, full of corrections and cross-outs. “Why,” he mumbles, dead-eyed. “Why didn’t I tell them it was whippet shit?”
Like Hawkeye in that episode of M.A.S.H. where he finally gets to run the mess hall, Colin Baker hadn’t factored in the banality of evil. You can have the perfect recipe for French Toast (or a Time Lord), but so what. This is wartime; your product gets made in a 50-gallon drum with powdered milk. A sniper can take you out at any minute.