Peter Davison On What He’d Change About The Five Doctors

Peter Davison, who portrayed the Fifth Doctor in Doctor Who, has revealed the one thing he would have changed, given the chance, about The Five Doctors, the 20th-anniversary feature-length special in 1983. In a conversation with the BFI Southbank Event (H/T The Radio Times), which marked the launch of the Doctor Who – The Collection Season 20 Blu-ray set, Davison shared his regret on not spending more screen-time with his other incarnations of the Time Lord. 

The special featured, in chronological order of appearance, Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, Jon Pertwee as Third, Tom Baker as the Fourth (the actor declined to return, so The Five Doctors features archive footage of Baker for the story), and Richard Hurndall, who stepped in to play the First Doctor (since William Hartnell passed away in 1975). 

“I’ve always felt it was a bit of a shame that we weren’t together more of the time,” Davison explained at the Q&A event. He was joined by fellow co-stars Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa). Fielding featured with Davison in Jodie Whittaker’s series finale last year. “We were kept apart and John [Nathan-Turner, series producer] said to me that was because he thought there would be too many egos on set.”

The Fifth Doctor - Doctor Who.
The Fifth Doctor – Doctor Who. (Pic: BBC).

“He sensed there could be a bit of rivalry that might turn unpleasant – it never did, I have to say! We all got on very well,” Davison added. Known for his work on All Creatures Great and Small, Davison discussed the “to-ing and fro-ing” regarding Tom Baker’s return to the series, following his exit in 1981, just two years earlier. 

Davison said Baker “was a bit teasing about whether he would be in it… and then he decided not to be, I think because he just felt he’d done it for seven years and he just wanted to steer clear of it.”

“I understood that, but it was a shame.” 

According to an official synopsis from the BFI for The Five Doctors, Davison’s Time Lord, “his previous incarnations, and associated companions and enemies are captured in a Time Scoop and transported to the Death Zone on Gallifrey, where they become ensnared in a fiendish plot involving the Time Lords.” 

Doctor Who can be streamed via the BBC iPlayer, with classic episodes on Britbox. What are you most excited to see from the future of the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Have you watched the brand-new 60th-anniversary special trailer?

Matt Bailey

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