The Sixth Doctor

Bold, bombastic, and much maligned, the verbose Sixth Doctor was definitely an anomaly. He was designed to shake up things on the program—to suddenly seem alien and untrustworthy. Ultimately, this was a failure as a creative tactic. I read an article that pointed out how it could have been a great character arc to see the Doctor learn again to be sensitive and reconcile that with his new personality, but it was not explicitly pursued across his scattered seasons. Indeed, between post-regeneration trauma, unreliable story-telling by the Matrix, and the Doctor masking his real intentions, we’re never sure for most of his tenure when he’s actually ever himself. In the end, it just felt like there was no purpose to his initial characterization and really turned off a generation of fans.

That said, the Sixth Doctor was definitely a unique personality. So self-assured that he could wear his hideous jacket without the slightest regret, he often came across arrogant and dismissive. Not a great look when interacting with his companions, but I at least came to appreciate this bravado in terms of how it colored his interactions with the villains he encountered. And really, while his stated intention and motivations were often very egocentric, in the end his actions most always served the same good and justice as always. At least in this sense, we knew he was still the Doctor.

Traits of the Sixth include:

  • Bad fashion sense
  • Loud outbursts and speeches full of big words
  • Quotes of classic literature and theater
  • Wearing a different cat-shaped pin every day and stroking it for good luck
  • An supercilious arched brown and smug frown when offended
  • An gleeful gloating grin when pleased
 Signature story: The Two Doctors
 Best match to a companion: Peri, in a dysfunctional sense

You must forget how I used to be. I’m a Time Lord. A man of science, temperament and passion.