Time Lord Is First Lord

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Time Lord Is First Lord


Byline: By Sara Wallis

Former time traveller Colin Baker is set to star in Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera, HMS Pinafore.

Colin, best known for his role as the sixth Dr Who in the BBC TV series, will appear in the opera at Newcastle's Theatre Royal, from Tuesday.

Satirising the snobbery and hypocrisy of the English social system of its day, HMS Pinafore is a comic tale of love, class pretensions and mistaken identities. Questioning the integrity of the ruling elite and exposing the motives of leaders of power, this 126-year-old comedy still has a resonance today.

"The themes are still relevant," says Colin. "It's about people who are pompous and the class system.

"I play First Lord of Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter, actually based on the bookseller WH Smith, who really was the First Lord. He became known as HMS Pinafore and was ridiculed in Parliament as he'd never been on a boat.

"It's quite a comical production and takes the mick out of the class system and those people who take themselves far too seriously.

"What ensues is uproarious laughter. Everything that it is talking about is stuff very familiar. And the music is so familiar as well. As soon as people hear the opening score, they go oh that's where that music came from."

"The cast are all proper opera singers, except me. But luckily most of my songs are not operatic as such, they just need a lot of diction and speed.

"I have been having a great time doing this show. It's lots of fun. We only had two weeks to rehearse though, so it has all been very hectic.

"I come to Newcastle whenever I get a chance, usually two or three times a year. I have a friend from Chester-le-Street that I write songs with so I usually visit him. …

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