“For some people, small, beautiful events are what life is all about”
When Tom Baker decided to step down after a mighty seven-year reign in the TARDIS, it was the task of today’s birthday boy to take up the mantle and ensure Doctor Who continued to go from strength to strength in a brand new era. That’s right, today we’re celebrating The Fifth Doctor himself – Peter Davison!
Already a household name from his role as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, Davison joined Doctor Who in 1981 and made his debut appearance at the end of Tom Baker’s regeneration story, Logopolis. At the age of 29, he was the youngest actor to have ever played The Doctor – at least, until Matt Smith came along in 2010. Davison would reappear in 1982 for his first full story, Castrovalva, and stayed with the show until the 1984 serial The Caves of Androzani, which stands tall as one of the most beloved Doctor Who stories of all time and is consistently voted at the top of viewer polls. In this dark and dire finale, The Fifth Doctor succumbed to the toxic drug spectrox, and although an antidote was found from the milk of a queen bat, there was only enough for one dose. Heroically, he sacrificed himself to save his new companion Peri, collapsing and regenerating into a new body on the floor of the TARDIS.
Although Peter Davison only stayed in the role for three years – a decision he made following advice given to him by The Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton – he starred in many of the show’s most iconic episodes, including The Resurrection of the Daleks, twentieth anniversary special The Five Doctors, and perhaps most famously Earthshock, which saw a battle with the Cybermen end in the tragic death of companion Adric. Davison has also returned to the series on a few occasions since his departure, beginning with 1993’s thirtieth anniversary crossover Dimensions in Time, and then more recently in the 2007 Children in Need special Time Crash – an appearance that saw him opposite Tenth Doctor David Tennant, who would later become his son-in-law after marrying his daughter Georgia Moffett (who had previously played The Doctor’s daughter in, well, The Doctor’s Daughter). Wibbly wobbly, family wamily!
Even more recently, Davison has been seen masterminding 2013’s The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot alongside Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann to celebrate the show’s fiftieth anniversary, and only last year he returned to his duties as the host of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular. With fans always clamouring for more, we’re sure it won’t be long before we see him pop up again somewhere in the extended Whoniverse.
So, please join us in wishing Peter Davison a very happy birthday as he turns 65 today – we’ll all be playing cricket and wearing a decorative vegetable on our lapel in his honour!