We all know the the Sixth Doctor was played by Colin Baker from 1984-1986, but he played another character in a Fifth Doctor story named Commander Maxill (who actually shot the Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison).

As Peter Davison later regenerated into the face of the Commander who shot him on Gallifrey, so I thought: why does the Sixth Doctor have the face of Time Lord Commander Maxill? Was it by coincidence?

  • 3
    I'm pretty sure this was never explained in-universe, though IIRC Colin Baker once said as a joke that he got the job of playing the Doctor by shooting his predecessor.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 21, 2016 at 23:58
  • More detail on the Maxil Tardis Wikia page.
    – Politank-Z
    Apr 22, 2016 at 0:00
  • how will this wikia page help for a answer Apr 22, 2016 at 0:02
  • It expands on the joke Colin Baker made, and lists (unsourced) comments about connections discussed, but never established, between the two characters.
    – Politank-Z
    Apr 22, 2016 at 0:04
  • 1
    Presumably the Sixth Doctor chose that face to remind himself of something important, much as the Twelfth Doctor later did. Possibly that Gallifreyan Chancellery Guards can be dicks? Apr 22, 2016 at 0:58

2 Answers 2


I asked Colin Baker about this, actually. He said that it should just be treated as a coincidence, and that there was not meant to be any deeper connection between the characters. (This was right after Baker was fired from the show, but he was very enthusiastic toward the show's fans, and he was very candid about everything that had happened surrounding his difficult tenure on Doctor Who.)

The out-of-universe reason was that John Nathan-Turner was impressed by Baker when he played Maxil in "Arc of Infinity," and that was where Nathan-Turner got the idea of casting Baker as the next Doctor. Producing Doctor Who was Nathan-Turner's first job as part of the creative staff of a television show; he had extensive credits previously, but only in logistics and financial management of shows. One downside of this was that Nathan-Turner did not have close relationships with very many actors. This was reflected in his casting both of Peter Davison (Nathan-Turner had been production unit manager on Davison's previous show All Creatures, Great and Small) and Colin Baker, who had so impressed the producer during "Arc of Infinity"; they were among the relatively small stable of actors he had worked with closely.

Ironically, the traits that got Colin Baker the role of The Doctor may have ended up being irrelevant to how he played the role. Both of the characters Baker played on Doctor Who were quite hard edged, while in person, Colin Baker had an extremely funny and charming personality.

  • I've read many times that the idea was to soften Baker's Doctor over time. He just never got the chance to play that. Apr 22, 2016 at 14:09
  • I've heard that too, although not until some time in the 1990s, after the show was canceled. I've wondered about whether that was substantially true or mostly an attempt to save face on the part of the creative staff from that era.
    – Buzz
    Apr 22, 2016 at 17:54
  • +1, nice. No offence to Politank-Z, but this should be the accepted answer.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 24, 2016 at 0:55
  • No offense taken. It should be indeed.
    – Politank-Z
    Apr 25, 2016 at 21:34
  • Is the first paragraph your actual first person experience or is that a quote from somewhere?
    – FreeMan
    May 11, 2016 at 15:45

In-universe, it appears to be coincidence, or at least has not been explored. No references to the resemblance have been made in any licensed materials I could locate.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.