Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott discuss Colin Baker and clothes in Doctor Who in the sixth (well, okay…ninth) live Splendid Chaps episode, recorded at Agent 284 in Melbourne on June 15, 2013. Our guests for this episode are writer and podcaster Tansy Rayner Roberts (Galactic Suburbia, Verity!) and fangirl and theatre professional Zen Fletcher. We’ve spared you a narration of the cosplay competition (surprisingly visual for a podcast, is Splendid Chaps) but we do have too many prizes (we’ve gone maaaaaaad!) and musician Tim Cav bravely attempts to redeem that most infamous of Doctor Who tracks, “Doctor in Distress”. Massive thanks this episode to our sound engineer, David Ashton, and to John, who does all the editing, for delivering an excellent recording despite serious technical difficulties on the day.


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Don’t forget you can go into the draw to win a (Region 4) DVD box set of Trial of a Time Lord by commenting on this episode below! Are you a big Colin fan? Think Peri is the best companion ever? Tell us how we got it wrong! And we’d love to hear your thoughts on costumes and outfits from the show, and see photos of your best Doctor Who cosplay. Comment by July 13 to be in the running, and we’ll announce the winner at the recording of Seven/Religion on July 14.


  1. David Witteveen says:

    Re: theatrical Classic series costumes versus the new series’s coveralls:

    Henry Rollins said grunge killed the hair metal bands. Likewise, I think cyberpunk killed the silver jumpsuit. Audiences just wouldn’t take the sparkly costumes of the Classic series seriously anymore.

  2. Henrik Hansen says:

    As per usual, loving the show. It’s too bad you didn’t have time to get into the audio work, except to say it was good. I just listened to Dr. Who and the Pirates. I’d forgotten how poignant it was. Also, I was surprised that the singing was restricted to the third episode. As that was the bit I remembered most, I thought it was used all the way through. Another excellent Big Finish audio with Colin was “The Fourth Wall” where they are trapped in a science fiction television show. (When dramatic music starts up, you know you are in trouble!)
    I thought you all nailed the key problems with the Doctor/Peri relationship. It was abusive and lacked the fun and excitement that other companions got to experience.
    Great fun, thanks for all your hard work.

  3. Scott Vandervalk says:

    Having not watched much 6th Doctor for a long time (though I have listened to the audios), it was good to hear him recapped in this way and to see all the factors going into his run. I’ve just watched Vengeance on Varos (actually rather good!), and hope to track down some more.

  4. David Campbell says:

    Best episode yet. I really liked how much more of the episode talked about the Doctor himself. Colin Baker, like Sylvester McCoy were both ripped off by the way the BBC was treating Doctor Who at the time. It really appeared that the BBC was deliberately trying to kill the show, which I never understood.

  5. Loved this episode.. still have mixed feelings about the 6th Doctor’s era – but I did grow up through it, and Colin himself is still a lovely chap who occasionally scolds me for my bad jokes on Twitter : )

  6. Rhys M says:

    Another great show by all involved. The Two Doctors will always be one out my favourite serials, and, as with all the other Doctors, I can’t wait to start listening to 6th Doctor audios.

  7. Matt Saxon says:

    The new Doctor Who could do with more Glitz and or Glitz like characters. Some good old fashioned nihilism would act as a counterpoint to the kick-ass-lesbian-babes and comic relief Sontarans that form the current reoccuring characters cast. They feel ever so slightly shoehorned in to me.

    God, listen to me… Where’s my cane? Get off my lawn!

  8. Matt Saxon says:

    Also I don’t know if anyone here has every heard the BBC Radio episode ‘Slipback’ back it is really good and Baker is excellent. Shows what a good doctor he could have been.

  9. Trevor Holland says:

    I am one of those who turned off very early during Colin Baker’s stint as the Doctor but after listening to the podcast I think I need to reconsider (or at least track down a selection of episodes). If there was only some way I could get my hands on the “Trial of a Timelord” box set.

    Also I remember you stating your intention to bring Splendid Chaps to all major capital cities in Australia way back in episode zero. I am still waiting for details for your visit to Brisbane!

  10. actualchad says:

    This podcast has reminded me that I’ve never seen The Twin Dilemma. Am not going to change that fact.
    The Colin Baker era for me was the point when the show had become a pantomime. Too large performances, too little love. Sets were obviously taken over from other shows, or redressed from other stories.
    Music was blarrrrrrry.
    I think I was young enough to dismiss these problems with the Peter Davison era, but by the time Colin Baker arrived, I was realising that the show wasn’t the same show I loved in the 70’s.
    Not that there weren’t great moments: the space station model in Trial, the Rani’s TARDIS console, the Mogarians. But overall, the scales had fallen from my eyes and I began to realise that the show was becoming a ghost of its former self.
    I think that coat was definitely a nail in the coffin. While Davison’s costume was verging on ridiculous (I mean… celery? Really? Was there a fresh food agenda? A vegenda?), Colin Baker’s coat was a terrible blight.
    A semblance of reality was gone from that point: up til that point, if someone had walked in dressed as the Doctor, he would have been given the once-over, but probably accepted and listened to.
    If someone, anyone walked in dressed like Colin Baker, they would have been given the once-over, then asked to rejoin the kids’ party next door.
    At the time, I would have said the Colin Baker period was my least favourite, but I had yet to meet his replacement.

  11. Stuart says:

    By the time of the Sixth Doctor, I had lost the habit of watching Doctor Who (not to be regained until the relaunch). Consequently, I have never seen a single Colin Baker episode.

    After listening to the panel damning this era with but the faintest of faint praise, I find myself perversely interested in making amends.

  12. simon says:

    One of the things not discussed was the change in format that kept on happening during Colin Baker’s era. First you’ve got a regeneration story at the end of a series, rather than at the beginning… then you’ve got stories told in two or three forty-five minute episodes, a format that just doesn’t feel natural for classic Who, and then you have the fourteen-part Trial. Between that, the producer and script-editor at war, and a BBC controller who hated the show … it really didn’t have a chance…

  13. John Shea says:

    Another awesome podcast (and I’m not just saying this because I won a prize ;-)! Colin was not my favorite Doctor, but I did enjoy his stories and Peri. Thanks to your podcast, I watched Vengeance on Varos last night with a new appreciation.

    I look forward to next month’s podcast, especially its religion theme. I’m currently reading some of the NA Benny stories. Most (if not all) of the Benny books share the theme of religion. Might be a good opportunity to mention the Doctor Who spin-offs.

  14. Adam Ford says:

    Great show. I’m conflicted about C. Baker – I remember him fondly but that fondness is challenged when I watch the old episodes. I can hang onto it, but it takes some work at times. When I encounter him in other media, though, things go more smoothly, particularly the big finish audio thing I listened to recently about wrong numbers. Thinking about it now it may be that I love the sound of Mr. Baker’s voice. I also have no problem with the coat. Or the cat badge.

  15. Michael Schulz says:

    I agreed with the commentator who said that Glitz would have made a very decent companion (although since Peter Davison was my Doctor, I am a fan of the crowded Tardis).

    That said, in many ways I suspect Captain Jack is as close as we will get to a Glitz in the Tardis. Especially in the early stories, Jack isn’t a million miles away from Glitz’s brand of charming sociopath.

  16. Rohan says:

    I really enjoyed this episode and all of the insight into the production of the show during this period , bravo guys

  17. Richard Ingram says:

    Another enjoyable episode. It’s got me wondering how they are going to dress the new doctor, as the three recent doctors have been distinct, but still in what might be called normal clothes.

  18. Chaps and Petra,

    Thank you! I listened because Tanzy RR. I went back and listened to all the shows. In fact I am on my second listening because my wife loves the show. It’s lovely to listen to a podcast with her. She even liked Doctor in Distress! I hope you will continue after November! I am a weekly podcaster myself so I know the work involved. You all make it seem easy!

    Keep up the good work!


  19. Sam Streeter says:

    I love how items of Doctor Who clothing become so iconic. Every time I see a stripey scarf, it makes me smile & reminisce about Tom Baker’s doctor. Bowties & fez trigger a “… are cool” mental comment. I know I can’t be alone in these thoughts!

  20. Lucas Testro says:

    I was at Gallifrey earlier this year and had the pleasure of hearing costume designer June Hudson speak. My favourite quote of hers: “A shirt is like a shark. It’s a perfect design.” She was talking about JNT’s request that she design a new kind of shirt for Tom Baker to wear in his final season – something futuristic and alien that didn’t look like the way a shirt was normally tailored. She tried several disastrous options that are a bit hard to explain in writing before abandoning the idea and going with the buccaneer puffy sleeve job.

    My second favourite quote of hers came as part of her softening on the Colin Baker coat over the years: “Wouldn’t it be rather dull for everything to be tasteful.”

    She’s a delight.

  21. Tony Flynn says:

    Great show (as always)! Love how you faked the audio system crashes for that authentic 80’s feel. It was faked right? 🙂

    Petra is always wearing something interesting, though April’s femme Davros outfit was indeed freaky (admittedly I wasn’t actually sober for that session). And since Ben wore the “special” coat in episode six it seems only fair that John should wear something Whovian next time.

    By the way John, a colourful umbrella doesn’t count, though stuffing a ferret down your trousers would certainly get you off the hook. 😉

    See you all on Sunday!

  22. Joshua O says:

    Just discovered the podcast (through Tansy’s plugs on Verity)! What fun! Makes me wish I were in Australia so I could come to one the shows. You haven’t considered vidcasting, have you?

    • Ben says:

      Hi Joshua! While we are, as we sometimes mention, surprisingly visual for an audio podcast, we’re not very visual for a stage show, so we’re not likely to vidcast Splendid Chaps. We do try to get photos at as many events as possible, though!

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