The Doctor will regenerate again in 2015...just maybe not the one you were expecting

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Feb 5, 2015, 7:01 PM EST (Updated)

2015 is probably going to be a big year for Doctor Who. It's the 10th anniversary of the new version of the show, it seems it's going to really and truly be the last go-round for companion Clara Oswald, and, oh, remember when Steven Moffat revealed that he already had an idea for a massive cliffhanger ending to the show's upcoming ninth season?

Yeah, this has nothing to do with that.

But it's still big news for anyone who loves the classic series. And it's enormous news for the minority of us who love Sixth Doctor Colin Baker.

You see, Colin's Doctor is finally getting his regeneration story. More on that in a moment.

Rewind with me for a second back to the mid-'80s, because there's a bit of backstory here and, for those not in the know, it's relevant. The first thing you ought to know is that the '80s were not a very easy time for Doctor Who. Its waning popularity with children was not helped by British campaigner and Christian crusader Mary Whitehouse constantly singling the show out as the most hyper-violent and evil thing in the history of television. And, in particular, Colin Baker's era was also singled out as being the very worst thing about a show gone awry, not just by Whitehouse, but also by new BBC Controller Michael Grade, who was not a fan of the show, and even more specifically, not a fan of Colin Baker.

Things were so dire that the show's schedule was repeatedly changed and, for an entire year, it found itself on an indefinite hiatus.  And then the situation became so grim that it turned to parody -- during the year break, Who tried to bounce back by releasing a "We Are the World" pop song, but about Doctor Who and sung by the cast in addition to some decidedly B-grade pop singers. The song, "Doctor in Distress," is so laughably bad that it's shocking it only burned itself out without taking the show with it.

In fact, Colin's Doctor would get one last season, Trial of a Timelord, before being unceremonously axed at the behest of Grade. The good news was that the show would live on. The less good (but totally fair) news was that Colin Baker utterly refused to return to do a regeneration scene. And so, in lieu of that, we got Sylvester McCoy absolutely swimming in Colin's outfit with a hilarious blond wig on.

The point of all this is that Colin Baker has never truly had his regeneration scene. Until now. Yes, the wonderful people at Big Finish, whose audio dramas gave the Sixth Doctor new life, are finally telling his last story. Here's the press release from Big Finish themselves, revealing all the details:

Colin’s last outing in the Doctor Who role on television was The Trial of a Time Lord in 1986, but there was no proper handover story to Sylvester McCoy when he joined the series in 1987. Now, 28 years later, the full details of the Sixth Doctor’s death will be revealed – and it’s part of an epic battle that spans many sections of his life, and involves many of his companions.

‘I spoke to Colin not long after Matt Smith’s final outing, The Time of the Doctor, was broadcast on television,’ says producer David Richardson. ‘I felt very strongly that regeneration stories, and each Doctor’s final end, are very important to Doctor Who fans – these are stories that allow us to see the Doctor at his most courageous, making a sacrifice that only makes us love him more. And so I asked Colin if he might finally consider doing the Sixth Doctor’s final story with us. To my huge delight, he said yes.’

‘I owe a lot to Big Finish,’ says Colin. ‘They have given my Doctor the opportunity to live beyond those few episodes on television which were recorded during a time when the programme was under siege from various quarters. My Doctor did not benefit from that time. However at Big Finish the Sixth Doctor has lived and breathed anew and developed in a way that I am extremely happy with.

‘That would be the only reason I have agreed to bring my Doctor to an end – although it’s not really an end, because Big Finish plucks stories from the whole era of every Doctor. But because I never actually filmed a regeneration, and left poor Sylvester floundering around in my empty clothing with a blond wig on, I have resolutely maintained the lie that I am still the Doctor and all the rest are imposters because I never regenerated!’ (He laughs) ‘So it’s a tribute to the smooth talking people at Big Finish and the standard of the work completed thus far that I have cast aside my reluctance and joined all the other Doctors in actually having a regeneration.

‘And I can promise you: it’s a cracker.’

The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adevnture is due out in September of this year. And, yes, it will involve the Valeyard, along with TV companions Peri and Mel, as well as a host of the Big Finish companions.

I'm so excited I could dance in the streets wearing a coat of many colors. How about you?

(via Doctor Who TV)