Quick DVD Review – ‘The Doctors: The Colin Baker Years’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

After enjoying ‘The Doctors: The Peter Davison Years’ DVD recently, it was time to delve into the Sixth Doctor era next with ‘The Doctors: The Colin Baker Years’ DVD. I was looking forward to uncovering the insights made by the people who were involved in the Sixth Doctor era on TV, both on-screen and behind-the-scenes. It was a fascinating DVD release covering a pretty turbulent TV era.

‘The Colin Baker Years’ DVD has six features as well as an introduction at the start, covering the Colin Baker era in general. There are ‘Myth Makers’ interviews with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford and Michael Jayston as well as with two ‘Doctor Who’ production crewmembers involved with the Sixth Doctor era, including the producer John Nathan-Turner and script-editor Eric Saward. 🙂

I have met people like Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford and Michael Jayston at conventions over the years. It was nice to see their ‘Myth Makers’ interviews and uncover more about them compared to how I’ve met them at conventions. I hope by the time I go to conventions again, I will get to re-watch the ‘Myth Makers’ interviews and have unique perspectives on the stars.

The introduction is given by producer/director Keith Barnfather and Nicholas Briggs, who is the voice of the Daleks as well as a writer/producer/director of many Big Finish productions. I liked how the two introduced these six ‘Myth Makers’ interviews on the 2-disc DVD compilation, explaining the decisions behind their inclusion, especially with John Nathan-Turner and Eric Saward’s interviews. 😐

On Disc 1 of the 2-disc DVD set, we begin with Colin Baker and his ‘Myth Makers’ interview, conducted by Nicholas Briggs. The interview was recorded in 1989 and has Colin and Nick going about the filming locations used for the stories ‘The Mark of the Rani’ and ‘Attack of the Cybermen’. Colin’s ‘Myth Makers’ also featured Michael Wisher playing some nasty villain in a shadowy room. 😀

I really like how Colin shares his insights on what it was like to play the Doctor and what he hoped would be an intriguing character journey with his Doctor starting off being very unlikeable to becoming likeable in the end. It was amusing when Nick kept disappearing and reappearing all the time and having his ties changed. Colin’s reflections on his exit from the show are touched on too. 😐

The second feature of ‘The Colin Bakers Years’ set is with Nicola Bryant. There are two segments to this ‘Myth Makers’ interview with Nicola, both conducted by Nicholas Briggs. The first segment is when Nicola is interviewed in 1985, in-between the 18-month hiatus of ‘Doctor Who’ at the time and before she went on to record her final stories in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’, which is enlightening.

Nicola also gets interviewed by Nick again for the second segment of her ‘Myth Makers’ interview, which was recorded in 1996, I believe. I enjoyed Nicola sharing her insights into playing Peri for ‘Doctor Who’ and what her acting career was like before and afterwards. In the 1996 segment of the interview, mention is made about Nicola working in ‘The Stranger’ series by BBV with Colin Baker. 🙂

After that, we have a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with Bonnie Langford and it is conducted by Sophie Aldred. At the time of Bonnie’s ‘Myth Makers’ interview, which was in 2019, she was starring in the London musical of ’42nd Street’. Sophie interviewed Bonnie somewhere in the Waldorf Hotel, I believe. Gosh, hearing that hotel did make me think of the ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode ‘Waldorf Salad’. 😀

I greatly enjoyed the interaction between Bonnie and Sophie when they had a conversation together, especially since they worked on ‘Dragonfire’ in Sylvester McCoy’s era and in the Big Finish audios. Bonnie shares what it was like to work in ‘Doctor Who’ both in the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy eras, which I found fascinating and it was intriguing what her thoughts of the show were like.

On Disc 2 of ‘The Colin Baker Years’ DVD, we have a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with Michael Jayston, who plays the Valeyard in ‘Doctor Who’, conducted by Robert Dick. This interview took place at ‘The Capitol III’ event in Crawley, 2018, I believe. I attended ‘The Capitol II’ event incidentally. 😀 There are even clips of a panel talk featuring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Michael Jayston as a threesome. 😀

I greatly enjoyed Michael Jayston’s ‘Myth Makers’ interview as he’s clearly intelligent and an amazing actor who’s done so much in his career as well as doing ‘Doctor Who’. I enjoyed his thoughts on what it was like to be in ‘Doctor Who’ on TV and he’s clearly enjoyed the Big Finish audios. I liked his work in ‘Emmerdale’, a BBC production of ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Only Fools and Horses’ was touched upon.

We move on from the actors’ side of the compilation into the production side as we have a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with producer John Nathan-Turner, which was conducted by Nick Briggs in 1990, I believe. The interview was shot at the various filming locations featured in ‘The Curse of Fenric’. I like how the interview was conducted as JNT is very enthusiastic about his involvement in the show.

The interview does have JNT share his experience of being a producer and the trials and tribulations that come with it. This includes its beginnings with working with Tom Baker through to Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. The hiatus period gets touched on as well as the breakdown in his relationship with Eric Saward. The interview has given me lots of insight into JNT. 🙂

The final feature of ‘The Colin Baker Years’ DVD is an interview with script-editor Eric Saward. This interview was conducted by Nick Briggs at Eric Saward’s home in London, I believe. The interview was made around 2005 when the new series starring Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor began. So, Nick Briggs would have recently voiced the Daleks in the new series at the time he interviewed Eric Saward.

I enjoyed Eric Saward’s interview. It was fascinating to hear from his point of view the trials and tribulations of being a script-editor on ‘Doctor Who’. Eric seems to be more forthright and open about his experience of making ‘Doctor Who’ compared to JNT. I liked how he shared with Nick about his early work and sometimes how he became critical being a writer and a script-editor then. 🙂

‘The Doctors: The Colin Baker Years’ DVD has been an insightful collection of ‘Doctor Who’ interviews with stars and production members, showcasing an era that was pretty turbulent in the TV series around the mid-1980s. I’m fond of the Sixth Doctor era, both in TV form and in the Big Finish audios and it was really nice to hear the actors and the production staff sharing their memories of it.

I’m looking forward to checking out ‘The Doctors: The Paul McGann Years’ DVD next!

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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