As promised, photos of the contents of the Eleven Doctors figure box, alongside my TARDIS and various friends and enemies of the good Doctor. No photos of my miserable-looking Peter Davison, basically due to the fact that I’m writing and posting these in the waning hours of my day off and I’d like to be happy and positive and stay in a good mood and not grouse about how I had to spend an extra sixteen bucks to buy someone ELSE’S Peter Davison out of THEIR Eleven Doctors set to get one that didn’t look like he was suffering from a major head injury. Also, wasn’t sure how well the “damage” would photograph and didn’t want to hear any “oh, that’s a fixer-upper, you’d just have to do such-and-such,” or, “oh, that doesn’t look too bad, what are you complaining about?”
Okay, totally failed on all that. On to the photos!
I don’t really have a lot to say about this figure of William Hartnell as the first Doctor. I’ve watched very little Hartnell-era DOCTOR WHO — the first episodes of “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” and “The War Machines,” and the whole of “The Time Meddler.” All good stuff, but I’ve little emotional investment in this incarnation of the character. I think his appearance in “The Three Doctors,” appearing on a monitor and obviously reading off of cue cards, offering little in the way of the spirit and fire he brought to the role when he was at his best, put some distance between me as a DOCTOR WHO fan and the original incarnation of the Doctor. The fact that Richard Hurndall’s portrayal of this incarnation of the character in “The Five Doctors” was strangely so-so and not actually reflective of Hartnell’s portrayal of the character didn’t help matters, either.
The figure is well-articulated and has one of the better paint jobs out of the lot of ’em, and comes with his cane. I was sorely tempted to have him poised to whack the Dalek with it, but thought better of it.
While I came out of “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors” unimpressed with the First Doctor, I was positively enchanted by Patrick Troughton’s performance as the Second Doctor. He’s the best thing about the final multiple Doctor story of the classic series, “The Two Doctors,” and on the strength of his appearances in the seventies and eighties I went back and watched a few of his surviving stories: “Tomb of the Cybermen,” “The Mind Robber,” and “The Invasion.” He’s everything the Doctor is supposed to be in my mind: possessed by a childlike wonder about the universe, endlessly curious and outgoing, but also capable of great anger in the face of injustice, greed, and violence. The best friend you could ever have, but also the most dangerous enemy, because even if he sometimes — scratch that, more often than not — gets in over his head, he is almost always the most clever person in the room (appearances to the contrary), and that makes him extremely dangerous.
I’ve never been a big fan of Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. He has an authoritarian air about him that rubs me the wrong way. Where the Second Doctor is a goofy uncle sort, the Third always comes off to me as a stern father figure. I think this perception comes from, again, “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors” and watching his fights with Troughton’s Second Doctor and his somewhat patronizing paternalistic routine with Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith. I’m also not a fan of the Doctor being stuck on Earth playing scientific advisor for the military, though the story that introduces this setup, “Spearhead From Space” is, to be fair, a bona fide classic. Indeed, what I’ve seen of his first season in the role has me chomping at the bit to see the rest; the later stuff, where he seems happier and settled in his role with UNIT, interests me less.
Troughton’s Second Doctor is well detailed and comes with his recorder, his best-known prop from his time as the Doctor. He can sort of be posed like he’s playing it, but it doesn’t come off particularly well. I tried to get him cross-legged so he could randomly decide to sit down and play a quick game of solitaire, but he’s not quite THAT posable. I kind of wish he came with multiple heads to reflect the character’s range of expressions, but that’s probably asking for a bit much. What probably wouldn’t be asking too much would be that sometime in the future Character Options start doing figures of the classic Doctors’ companions. What’s the Second Doctor without Jamie McCrimmon, the Scottish Highlander who stood by his side from his second story all the way through his last?
The Third Doctor has a removable cloak, and I honestly think he looks better without it. He also has his sonic screwdriver, which the Doctor first used towards the end of the Second Doctor’s era and would keep handy until its destruction in the Fifth Doctor story “The Visitation.” It would reappear again in the 1996 TV movie and became a mainstay of the modern series. His very blue eyes kind of creep me out in the same way Amy’s really brown eyes creep me out, and he’s posable enough that you can put him in all sorts of fighting stances so that he can grab dudes and throw them around, as the Third Doctor is wont to do with his mastery of Venusian Aikido. All in all, it’s a great looking figure that makes me wish I was a bigger fan of this incarnation of the Doctor. I probably just need to watch more of his stories.
I already had a Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor action figure. And yet, from the minute I saw a picture of this particular head sculpt, I knew I had to have this one as well. He has that faraway stare that you see in the intro to every episode of his first six seasons in the role. This figure perfectly captures that. I also dig the longer coat and the orange tie done up in a bow. While I like the original release Character Options did, especially the big grin on his face, I’m not a big fan of his shorter red first season jacket. Just not the costume that comes to mind when I think of this Doctor.
While Tom Baker last appeared as the Doctor in 1980, a year before I was born, it was reruns of his episodes of DOCTOR WHO that got me into the show when I was a kid. He and Peter Davison will always be “my” Doctors; they’re the ones whose stories were played and replayed on OETA out of Tulsa, OK when my parents watched and taped such classics as “The Deadly Assassin,” “City of Death,” and Davison’s final story, “The Caves of Androzani.” While I was eager to get a Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor figure, and I’m happy to have a Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor figure, it’s this SECOND Tom Baker I gravitated towards when I was freeing them from the big TARDIS-shaped box.
One very nice touch, as you can see here, is that his head is swappable with the previous Tom Baker figures’ heads. Here I took off his scarf and gave him the “neutral,” non-hatted head that came with the original figure for his confrontation with the rotting, decayed “The Deadly Assassin” version of the Master. Looks good to me!
Until I started playing catch-up in the wake of the 2005 relaunch of DOCTOR WHO, I’d never actually seen a Colin Baker DOCTOR WHO story. After Peter Davison regenerated into Colin Baker at the end of “The Caves of Androzani,” OETA started running Jon Pertwee reruns. So I was terribly bummed to discover that the intriguingly arrogant man who sat up in Peter Davison’s old clothes A) got off to a terrible start with a terrible story (“The Twin Dilemma”), and B) only did two seasons in three years before getting fired from the role. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen — “Attack of the Cybermen,” “The Two Doctors,” “Revelation of the Daleks,” and parts of “Mark of the Rani” and “Vengeance on Varos.” Well, I also started to watch “The Twin Dilemma” once, but within fifteen minutes I realized that was a terrible idea …
Now, I was four years old when Colin Baker became the Doctor, so I’m “immune” to that costume. On some bizarre level I actually LIKE that costume. And while this version of the coat isn’t exactly right, I like this color scheme as well. For some reason it puts me in the mind of a pack of Starbursts candy. Likewise, the waistcoat and scarf combination, which I believe comes from an ensemble he wears during the second half of “Trial of a Time Lord,” reminds me of frosted cupcakes with sprinkles.
I quite like the likeness of Colin Baker on this figure; I think it captures his attitude as the Doctor, the mood and energy he brought to the role. There’s something a little posh and very flamboyant about his Doctor, and it’s not all in the clothes. Somehow that comes across in this figure, from the look on his face to the poses he can take. The only two problems with this figure are both issues with quality control: as you may be able to see on the picture with Colin and Davros, there’s some missing paint on his elbow joint, and on the back of his coat there’s some glue or something caked up that I managed to sort of remove by licking my finger and rubbing vigorously. I was worried that it was another spot where there wasn’t any paint applied, but underneath it appears it was colored the same as the surrounding area (green), but I was momentarily worried.
The final actor to portray the Doctor in the original TV series (1963-1989) was Sylvester McCoy. Here he is presented without his trademark hat, which he brought to the audition and was told to bring back for the series, and wore through almost all his stories. If I’m remembering right, he only didn’t have in in “Ghost Light,” his next to last story and the final original DOCTOR WHO story filmed.
The first Sylvester McCoy story I saw was “Silver Nemesis,” which isn’t very good, but is fun if you’re just in the mood to watch Cybermen being massacred using gold-tipped arrows and pieces of gold fired from a slingshot. I liked his version of the Doctor alright, and came to truly embrace his take on the character after seeing “Remembrance of the Daleks,” “Battlefield” (yes, “Battlefield”; it’s not great, but there’s some neat stuff in there), “Ghost Light,” and “Survival.” (I keep meaning to watch all of “Curse of Fenric”; I make it into Part Two, but I always get distracted a little ways in, and I’m not sure why.) He was the first Doctor I came into “cold,” after the ones I grew up with, and I find his quirky, seemingly bumbling but always scheming version of the Doctor interesting. I’d love to see his Doctor in a multiple Doctor story with the modern Doctors; I’m curious how their personalities would collide, especially with the ruthless yet humane and exceptionally “human” Tenth Doctor.
The Seventh Doctor figure seems more simple than the others, but it’s accurate to the character and the head sculpt is a very good likeness. As I said, the only thing that seems weird is that he doesn’t have his hat, which did appear on earlier Seventh Doctor figures that were exclusive to the UK retailer Forbidden Planet. However, those figures also had a big goofy grin on the Doctor’s face, much as the original Tom Baker Fourth Doctor figure’s hat-wearing-head has a big grin on his face. He does come with his trademark question-mark-handle umbrella, so that he can climb down that cliff and hang over the edge in the notorious cliffhanger at the end of that one episode of “Dragonfire.”
I think I’ll stop there for today and post up the remaining four Doctors tomorrow. I’ll also snap some more shots once my replacement Peter Davison comes in, alongside some more baddies for him and the other Doctors to face.