This is my current desktop wallpaper--it's one of about 40 pictures my desktop cycles through every thirty minutes. It's a promotion photo from Tom Baker's last season as the Doctor on Doctor Who
(making it 1981-ish). Those faces speak volumes. Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), so chipper and happy to be there, to score such a nice gig. Baker, meanwhile, seems barely able to conceal his lack of enthusiasm. He began his run as the free spirited fellow with the orange scarf; seven years later and the curl's just about gone out of his hair and he just wants it to be over. Doctor Who
was moving from Dionysian to Apollonian. No more improvisations, the humour and horror always so close to the hearts of Baker, Holmes, Hinchcliffe and Adams. Now was the time for Christopher Bidmead to put it all in a tight can in which Baker couldn't fit.
It's wonderful how the audio plays have given better stories to the Fifth and Sixth Doctors than they had in their run, a couple miracles like The Caves of Androzani
Last night I listened to a Sixth Doctor audio play from 2007 called The Wishing Beast
. With Colin Baker as the Doctor and Bonnie Langford as his companion Mel, it's possibly the worst Doctor/Companion combo from the television series but it works in this decently written audio. The Doctor and Mel receive a transmission from a couple young women who turn out to be a couple very old women living in a house in the woods. They're taking care of a "wishing beast" with which they seem to have a peculiar relationship. It has a wonderfully creepy atmosphere assisted in no small part by the fact that none other than Jean Marsh plays one of the women. These audio plays do get some impressive guest stars. I wonder if there's any chance of her appearing on the television series. As Sara Kingdom, the character she played on Doctor Who
in the 60s, or as Morgana Le Fay, whom she played on Doctor Who
in 1989 (basically she was reprising her role as the evil queen from the Ron Howard movie Willow
), or as someone new. Maybe 1989 counts as too recent. I seem to remember there being an unspoken rule instituted on the show that guest stars had to wait three years before appearing again as another character. It seems a waste to have her only on audio if she's game for more.