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MARCH 2016
Well another year has passed and my dear friend Rob Cope who has created this website has been very patient with me as ever and has not nagged me into a stupor because I haven’t updated this page for so long.  He knows that I am now a doddering old fool and therefore has cut me some slack, for which I am very grateful.  So the fault dear solitary reader is mine not his. I remain in Rob’s debt for the superb service he provides for me because for some reason that he alone can explain, he likes me.  Well I can’t think of any other reason anyway.

So the last year has followed a pattern it seems.  I spent a lot of time all over the UK meeting all you lovely people who like Doctor Who so much and are tolerant of Old Sixie and his costume.  In between I have done a few Big Finish stories of which I continue to be proud of and love making. As I have repeatedly asserted, were I to be asked to pop up to the Moat Studios for a couple of days every week I would consider that an elegant semi-retirement. Sadly Doctors are becoming as thick on the ground as ex Managers of Chelsea Football Club (apologies for the non-Geek reference – but that is my particular area of interest – I suppose I could have said – actors who have played Batman) and they are all muscling in on the act after Peter, Sylv and I blazed the original trail for them.

But I did also film my role in Star Trek Continues in Florida last January as a result of my meeting the impossibly handsome and energetic Vic Mignogna at a Comicon in 2014.  He told me of his project and showed me what they had done and although, I was not a regular viewer of Star Trek, I had seen enough to realise that his vision of boldly going in exactly the same direction as the original series was meticulously and superbly realised. How could a Doctor resist an an opportunity to vacate the TARDIS for the Starship Enterprise for a short while.  Though my character never got to visit the Enterprise, I did and sat in Captain Kirk’s seat and went through the wonderful whooshing doors onto the bridge. The cast were very welcoming, fun and simply brilliant – so that was a high – and a great start to 2015.

Later in the Spring I recorded The Two Doctors novelisation, which was great fun, as I got to do allt he voices.  I haven’t heard the finished result but am told it has worked out alright.

In August I celebrated my 20th anniversary as a columnist for the Bucks Free Press – my local newspaper – another milestone that I am quite proud of.  I am not sure how many other weekly columnist have managed to maintain an uninterrupted weekly contribution for that long.

I made a short film in Manchester which is yet to come out – called The Last Man on Earth –  the script of which was interesting enough to attract me to arise from my torpor and do something.  And I am looking forward enormously to filming Neighbours from Hell which was originally scheduled to be filmed last month but is now going to done later in the year in order to accommodate the availability of all the members of the very strong cast.

I also decided that Panto was perhaps becoming too demanding in time and energy and that it might be time to call it a day.  I must say that Christmas was very relaxing in 2015, as a result.  But who knows – I may be tempted back in a leisurely role like Baron Hardup maybe one day.

I also recorded a Celebrity version of Pointless with my very dear friend Louise Jameson – which I will forbear to describe in detail in case you haven’t seen it, but I will say that I did better than the previous occasion when I was paired with Simon (Chunky) Williams – when we were booted out after round one – oh the shame of it.

My family are well.  Lucy my oldest daughter has written some delightful children’s books which we are trying to get published.  Bindy my next daughter is singing her heart out with Vocal Works Gospel Choir in Bath and doing gigs with the Rat Pack.  Check her out on YouTube -  BeeBop20

Lally (no 3) is Media manager for The Supervet – Noel Fitzpatrick – on TV – a genius! And Rosie – No 4 is in her first year at Royal Central School of drama – the baton is being carried on I am delighted and terrified to say!

 
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!
It is a year since I last updated this blog.  I suppose I should therefore stop calling it a blog and call it my Christmas message, if her majesty will forgive me for comparing myself with her – although she has set a handy precedent.  But then she is an old queen and can do what she likes whereas I am…  perhaps I’d better stop there or the Tower of London might be put to good use again.

It was a year when acting played a minor part in my calendar.  In fact after panto the only acting job on stage that I had was sadly curtailed during rehearsal, when I was unwell and could no longer play James Bridges in Nick Wilkes’ lovely play Mog Bridges.  Fortunately they had time to rehearse a replacement to save the day for the show, but I was appalled to have to let down my old friend and colleague Nick and Malvern Theatre which has always been one of my favourite touring venues.

I also took the decision not to do a panto this year for the first time in many years.  I was committed to attend Conventions in Sweden and America at the beginning of December and my experience in 2012 when I went straight from the Jungle (yes it really was two whole years ago) to dress rehearsals of panto made me realise that as the years pass pacing oneself a little more carefully is not a bad idea.  I also wanted to spend a Christmas for once when I spent more than the day itself with my family, without shows on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.  The end result of course was that I ate and drank far more than I have been able to do in past years and am contemplating the arduous task of shedding even more weight as the New Year dawns.  Heigh ho.  What the heck!  It was fun.

The Swedish Convention in Stockholm enabled my wife to join me for the first time in around 25 years at one of these events.  We had met while working in Sweden on a production of Private Lives in 1981 and we were able to revisit one or two of the places that we spent time in then and revive (for me at least) some happy memories.  I flatter myself that she agrees with me.

2015 seems to also be a year in which I will be visiting fans around the world who are kind enough to want to meet a pensioned off time lord.

But of course I have been also continuing to ply my trade as an actor – for Big Finish.  As you know I would happily work for Big Finish every day of the week if they asked me to.  I have loved the opportunity they have given me to chart the unfathomed waters of Old Sixie’s peregrinations around cosmos and ‘chronos’. The standard of writing remains as high as it has always been and the opportunity to work with the calibre of actor that Big Finish are clearly able to attract because of the standard of the work – as well as Toby, the studio owner’s magnificent lunches  - is irresistible.

I already have two dates in my Big Finish diary for 2015 and hope there will be many more.

I am also off to America in January to take part in a rather exciting project – Star Trek Continues.

My good friend and actor/voice-over supremo – Vic Mignogna has already made three beautifully accurate episodes of what I can only describe as Original Star Trek.  He plays Kirk (superbly) and the look feel and style are identical to the originals. He has invited me to guest in his fourth episode and I hesitated for less than second before agreeing.  A Doctor in Star Trek?  Unmissable.  Next stop – The Death Star!

I would like to thank all of you who have maintained an interest in my career in general and this website in particular despite my failure to blog more often.  I would especially like to thank Rob Cope who has been a loyal friend and website supremo despite my inadequacies as a subject of that website. He does a brilliant job and I hope I will have enough of interest happening over the next months to enable him to keep you informed of my diary and doings.

I did turn down one or two things in 2014 because I didn’t want to tour again so soon after my last tour and because my availability was limited.  I’ve also had a dodgy knee which didn’t help my mood or manoeuvrability over the last few months.  Mercifully that has been sorted – well for the moment anyway – so I am looking forward to a more active 2015 and to perhaps seeing you dear blog reader at some Convention or event or stage door. WHO knows?

Happy New Year all of you, be happy, be lucky and behave.

 
 
DECEMBER 2013 - Christmas Thoughts
 
Well wat a year it has been.  The 50th Anniversary celebrations have taken me all over the world and it has been a great experience to meet so many people whose love of our favourite programme is strong enough to convince them that it’s worth gathering together to celebrate.

Since I last updated this Blog I have spent some very happy hours filming in Cardiff for the no longer secret (thank goodness) project – The Five Doctors (ish) Reboot. I must immediately put on record here my admiration and respect for Peter Davison for having the tenacity and hutzpah to get this project off the ground.  His script as you will all now know was very clever and very funny and he and his daughter Georgia managed to persuade any number of unlikely people in the world of Who to become not only participants but supporters of a project that they might have had reservations about were it not for Peter’s doggedness in sticking to his guns about the content of the script and Mrs Tennant’s undeniable and irresistible charm in persuading the powers that very much be to support his efforts.  The end result was very well received and it was lovely that our families were able to join in the celebrations in such a fun way.

As far as the 50th anniversary show is concerned – do you know I have still haven’t had time to watch it.  I decided that I would rather sit down and watch it with my family rather than as a part of the whole brouhaha of watching it at the BFI in a full cinema – despite the 3D enticement.  Because I went straight from the 50th bash off to Chicago for the big celebration there and then straight back off the plane into panto, I genuinely have not had the time when all my girls are free to watch it.  I am looking forward to doing that panto finishes in January.

I do of course now know that Tom Baker is in it.  I had not expected any of us ‘oldies’ to take part I must confess and it was a surprise when I discovered Tom had been offered a role.  It did of course explain why he had been so elusive when Peter had asked him to join in our offering, which we intended to be our way of celebrating with the fans in the knowledge that we were surplus to requirements in the official offering on the BBC.  And at this point I will challenge the national press’s misquotation of me on that subject. I was asked as part of a lengthy interview – somewhere or other – whether we ‘oldies’ would be in the anniversary show.  I replied I thought it unlikely as we were probably ‘surplus to requirements’.  In true press hyperbole style this induced some dailies to assert that I had ‘slammed the BBC for judging us to be surplus for requirements’.  Nothing could be less true.  No ‘slamming’ just a rather ironic and slightly rueful assessment of the realities of life.

I concede that casting Tom alone did rub a little salt in a graze, as it were – but no more than that.

Yes of course we could have played cameos as non-doctor characters. It would have been for the long term fans only and the majority of the audience would probably have missed it completely but The Five Doctors(ish)… has kept me happy and it seems the many thousands who have seen/downloaded it  were delighted and enjoyed it.  Nuff said. 

I also went to New York, Newcastle and Orlando and met lots of lovely warm and encouraging fans.

Big Finish continues to offer exciting and irresistible scripts and projects – and long may it continue.  I am already scheduled to do more in the New Year.

Currently panto is occupying my almost every waking moment – I am Abanazar in Aladdin in Basingstoke at The Anvil Theatre until January 5th, having a fun time with a lovely cast.

Like last year when I had just two days rehearsal for panto when I came out of the Jungle (gosh is it really a year?) – I arrived in Basingstoke long after all the rest of the cast because I was celebrating Dr Who in Chicago while they were rehearsing.  But we have now been open a week and all is well.

There were two lovely lady fans at the Stage Door last night all the way from Perth Australia who generously presented me with a knitted ‘ Sixie’ and Evelyn my lovely companion from the Big Finish audios.  People are so generous.

So thank you all for still caring about this wandering player and his work.  My imperfect dedication to this site is only a measure of how busy you all keep me – and not of my gratitude to you all for caring.

Happy Christmas and have a Joyous anniversary year – because after all the anniversary has only just started!

And the best of Gallifreyan regards to Peter Capaldi as he starts his most enjoyable odyssey

 
 

MARCH 18, 2012: Spring At Baker Towers

Is it really five years that you have all been kind enough to log on to this website and see how your humble blogger has been faring and what I’m up to generally and professionally? Five years – gosh! And it would be wrong of me to allow this anniversary to go past without reiterating my great thanks to Rob Cope who has mastered the intricacies of web design and maintenance at the same time as being endlessly patient when this old codger forgets to update him about my doings. Part of the problem is that he is so competent and knowledgeable that I seem to expect him to know things by osmosis.

“I know it therefore Rob must know it too!”

Clearly this is asking a lot – but he is always very forgiving when he is the last to know something!

Today, as I write this, it’s Mothers' Day and the sun is shining – Spring is nibbling away at the Buckinghamshire countryside outside my window. I am grabbing a few minutes away from the chores at Baker Towers to share with you all a few words about what is going on in my life.

I have agreed to go on tour with a really exciting new play by Chris Paling called The Final Test. It is beautifully written piece about a man who is perhaps a little too fond of his crossword and the cricket to know what is actually going on a round him and has to deal with the consequences of that lack of attention to the people in his life. I mustn’t tell you any more about the plot, as it would spoil your fun if (as I hope) you all come and see it while it is on tour this summer. It opens in Lincoln on May 31st and tours for the next three months to venues all around England and Wales (alas no Scottish dates at the moment) You can check the venues elsewhere on this site. The play is being toured by Ian Dickens International – the same producer for whom I did Woman in White last year. Also in the cast will be Peter Amory and Karen Ford who were both also in Woman in White, which I am delighted to report will also probably be touring again later in the year to some of the theatres we didn’t appear at in 2011.

Before that I shall be recording a few Big Finish audios in April, as I will not be available to record any for a few months after then. As you know, I am always delighted to get back in to Moat Studios to revive the doings of ‘Old Sixie’, and his endless stream of excellent companions – one of the vintage ones will be returning imminently! I shall also be recording an exciting and spooky audio drama for Moonscape Productions in the West Country soon. It is called 'Abercorn House' and is written by Kirby Fraser. I’m looking forward to going down there in a couple of weeks time to record it.

I’ve been enjoying a rare opportunity to attend a few games at Adams Park where my local team Wycombe Wanderers play their home matches. I’m a season ticket holder but usually I’m on tour and we always work on Saturdays in the theatre, which are invariably two shows days, so I miss a lot of matches. Mind you, my presence doesn’t seem to have worked wonders as we’re struggling at the bottom of League 1, though we are showing recent encouraging signs of a late come back and recovery. Fingers crossed.

Life at Baker Towers remains as hectic as ever. Our Jack Russell puppy, Henry Herbert, is keeping us on our toes. He is simultaneously the naughtiest and the most beguiling dog we have ever had. His favourite trick is to grab something he thinks you might like/want/need and then leg it, stopping to waggle it at you as if to say ‘Come on - chase me!’ He also has a slightly protruding lower jaw and a snaggle tooth which add to the raffish and comical air. The end result is we have fewer hairbrushes, pens, pencils, loo rolls than we should – but we’re never bored. And if we do get cross with him he just rolls over and presents his tummy for a tickle. I wish I could get away with that when people are cross with me. Maybe I should try it. On the other hand….

FEBRUARY 2, 2012: Come Panto With Me - and after!

Well, panto is over and I am sufficiently recovered now to send my greetings to all of you who are kind enough to give a hoot what I have been up to since October when I last blogged. The Woman in White tour ended just before panto started and was one of my happier experiences on the road. They were a great company of actors and we’re all waiting to hear whether the play is going to be touring again later in the year. Provided that I am free, I would be more than happy to give my Count Fosco another airing to those areas of the UK that haven’t yet seen the play. It’s a great story; and now we’ve played it to a dozen or so towns, we know the areas that need tightening up and it could be even better next time out.

As soon as that tour ended I got caught up in the exhausting process of recording ‘Come Dine With Me’, which many of you may have seen when it went out in the week between Christmas and New Year on Channel Four.

My first reaction when my agent said that they wanted me to do it was to say ‘Not for all the tea in China!’ - I genuinely am not ,and never have been, anything resembling a cook, let alone a cook with pretensions to giving dinner parties for anyone – let alone four strangers. But, as always, my family urged me to do it and I decided not to be a wuss and thought ‘What the heck! As long as I don’t poison the unknown foursome, it could be a laugh!’

Fortunately, a lovely actress called Karen Ford (who had played Mrs Michelson in Woman in White) had entertained the cast after the show one night with a superb dish that she had said was ‘easy’ to do, when we all declared how wonderful it was. It was a slow cooked shoulder of pork and was mouth-wateringly stunning. So, I got the recipe off her and had a couple of practices on my family before the big day. I’m glad I did because one or two of the other celeb cooks were literally winging it on their nights, it seemed. Anyway Karen’s pork won the day for me and I collared 1000 for my local dog charity – The Stokenchurch Dog Rescue Society –which was fab! The process was exhausting though. Most nights I didn’t get home until long after 2am from the other people’s houses – and on my night,the camera crew arrived at 9am and the last person left at 5-30 the following morning! I genuinely don’t know how they do it, because we only had to do it for that week. The production team and crew have to do it week after week. They were a great lot though and seemingly still retained a sense of humour and some energy. Heaven knows how. Funnily enough it was the two young ones of the ‘celebs’ who found the pace unbearable and kept falling asleep over dinner. And they were the ones who were used to going out clubbing all night! We three older diners, who generally view any time after midnight as alien territory to be avoided, seemed to hold out much better and keep our sense of humour. Linda Nolan made me laugh a lot. She was great fun.

As soon as that finished and I had had a few hours sleep, it was into panto time. The Mansfield Palace Theatre. I don’t know what I did expect, but it wasn’t that I would come away saying that was my best panto experience ever. But it truly was. The cast were, without any small exception,the nicest bunch of performers I’ve ever worked with – and talented in equal measure too. The Palace Theatre is a little gem that I had never been to before. And the management and crew made us all feel more welcome than I have felt in a theatre for years. If you had told me before I went there, that I would say ‘I can’t wait to go back to Mansfield’, I wouldn’thave believed you. But it’s true and I hope I get to work there again. And I hope too that I get to work with all or any of the cast. We were genuinely sorry to leave each other. Usually I have to be, let us say, 'diplomatic' in one or two cases when I leave a job.

Now I am at home with a diary full only of Conventions and signing events at the moment, but for a few weeks I won’t be agitating to get work. My agent’s phone isn’t getting red-hot yet, though in a few weeks I might arise from my torpor like Smaug and start harassing him.

The good news is that my book of short stories, ‘Gallimaufry’ is, even as I write this, being printed. Yippee. Tim Hirst, the publisher, had to wait longer than I would have liked for my final manuscript, which I delivered before Christmas at his busiest time, poor chap. But we have been through the setting out and proof reading processes and I am really pleased with how it looks. I only hope that the reading of it provides some pleasure to the countless millions (I wish!) whobuy it. There are a couple of stories in particular that I am especially proud of and hope that they find favour. Perhaps it’s time for me to dig a novel out from the recesses of my chaotic imagination. I’d like to give it a go before senility creeps in, anyway!

I am enjoying my Twitter life - both in reading other people’s wittering and chuntering on myself. The joy of Twitter is that you can take it or leave it, follow who you like and others can do ditto. When the odd numpty becomes abusive or irritating, you can just block them and they go away, well at least as far as you are concerned. Most Tweeters are lovely – and, of course, brief – which is the joy of Twitter. Whenever I can, I scroll through the @mentions and answer a couple, although I can assure you that if I answered all of them, I would get nothing else done at all. Not showing off – just explaining. So don’t feel rejected or ignored if you tweet and get no response. There just aren’t the hours in the day, I’m afraid.

My next event is a trip to Prestatyn this weekend to Pontins for the SFX event, at which it appears there will be hordes of folk. Should be fun. See you there perhaps? And in two weeks time – Belfast. I’m really doing the UK this month! Check elsewhere on this site for full details of all . Spring’s on its way. Hooray! And my thanks yet again to Rob Cope website maestro and guardian of my reputation for keeping this site so interesting and as up-to-date as he can given my terrible memory!

OCTOBER 10, 2011

Once again I should start by apologising for the length of time it has taken me to update this occasional Blog. But it gets tedious if I always start by saying ‘Sorry’ and making feeble excuses – so I won’t. Although I am. Anyway….

Since my last update I have been trotting around England being Count Fosco in The Woman in White. The production, I am delighted to report, has been very well received everywhere, since we opened in Wolverhampton back in July. The reviews have been very positive, which has surprised all as we had, to be honest, been worried that a play which is in total pretty much three hours long might prove too much for most people. We hoped we were doing a good job but feared for the staying power of the audience! But such is the strength of the original story by Wilkie Collins that the length of the play doesn’t seem to bother people. That is useful to know for the future. I have been in plays that have been around two hours forty five minutes long in the past and people have complained that that was too long. Clearly, if what the audience is watching is sufficiently gripping, then the time will go quickly.

I guess too that the adaptation by Nicola Boyce and the actors can and should take some of the credit as the cast is very strong throughout – and it is a larger cast than one might normally see on tour these days; so the producer, Ian Dickens, should be commended for taking the risk of sending out such an expensive production when times are so tough financially.

It has been a great cast to work with and all of them have become good friends over our three months together. Most of us shared a house when we were in Derby and had the best week I’ve had on tour for many a long year. We rented a big old mansion near Ashbourne and stayed up far too late and talked far too much. But it was great. As I write this, we have only three weeks to go before the tour ends; so if you are in Crewe this week, Malvern next week or Taunton the week after, come and see us, if you haven’t done so already.

Otherwise, I must confess that I have still failed to deliver the final version of my book of short stories to Hirst Books, so the delayed production of it remains my fault and not the Publisher’s. Sorry - all of you who paid up front. I promise you that Iwill complete the final bit before my tour ends in three weeks time and deliver it to Tim Hirst. Otherwise all is well at Baker Towers. No 1 daughter Lucy has started her second Year as a Primary Schoolteacher. My second daughter Bindy whohas been in Rhodes since April as a quarter of an ABBA tribute band has returned, slimmer, browner and glad to be home – and is now – as is the norm in the entertainment business – looking for the next gig. No 3 – Lally – is all graduated and ready forthe fray – but in common with all those other young hopeful graduates lookingfor the right job, while doing a temporary unpaid internship for an animal charity. Rosie my fourth daughter is still saving her pennies as fast as she can before auditioning for Drama School.

We have a new dog – a Jack Russell puppy now five months oldwho is a complete NUTTER! His name is Henry Herbert. He is very funny and very naughty and has fitted very well into the existing menagerie.

My wife and I managed to grab a three day ‘holiday’ in Cornwall during a weekout from Woman in White and were lucky to do so during that wonderful weather at the beginning of October. We both share a love of Cornwall and dream of downsizing there whenthe girls finally flee the nest. If ever!

Panto approaches fast. Although I have a day or two in audio studios coming up – not sure if I’m allowed to say what I’m doing so to be on the safe side I won’t say what I’m doing now and will update in the fullness of time.

I still haven’t found anywhere to live while I’m in Mansfield and really should be doing something about that instead of writing this probably – but I have never been a very good time manager and felt a sudden stab of guilt for Rob Cope whose continuing generosity of spirit keeps this web site running.

The most exciting thing that has happened to me this year arose because of very sad circumstances. My dear friend, the much loved Nick Courtney died this year, as I mentioned in my last blog. As a result the Presidency of the Doctor Who Appreciation which he so rightly and gloriously held after the first President Jon Pertwee was taken from us, became vacant. I was astonished and humbled when I was contacted by DWAS to ask if I might consider accepting the Hon. Presidency. Anyone who has seen me at a Convention knows that I am not normally at a loss for words; but on this occasion both given the status (in my eyes) of my predecessors and the wealth of other Doctor Who luniaries available, it did not occur to me that I might be in the frame for this great honour. I am very, very touched that the membership who voted consider me a suitable person to bear the grat seal - and I do most sincerely hope that I will be in charge of it for some considerable time. But I must be circumspect here - I did - remember - say I wanted to beat Tom Baker's seven years as the Doctor when I got that job. So I shall just be honoured and humble and shut up now!

We have also just seen another fabulous new season of the programme reach a very complex and stunning conclusion. I loved it and cannot understand those few fans who say they don't. I think Matt Smith just gets better and better and for me just IS the Doctor. No question. I hope he stays on for some time. He and Steven Moffat are a winning combination - long may it continue. And bring on the labyrinthine plots, I say!

As for next year for me – it is at the moment an open and empty diary after panto. I was in the running for a rather nice tour but someone else recently pipped me to the post for that – so that's another actor's name to add to me grudge list! Watch this space basically. I shall notify Rob as soon as I know what is afoot.

Full Colin Blog archives will be available soon.

 
 
 
 
Thanks go to the Potteries Prydonians - Steve Worman and Paul Wood - for their help, Ron Brunwin for supplying artwork and Garry Jones for being a regular stalwart of the news section.
Extra special thanks go to the mighty Colin Baker himself for casting his mind back and helping catalogue his career.