There are certain moments that you will remember for a lifetime, and kneeling down asking questions to a man who has been a role model for generations, will definitely be one of those moments for me.
Peter Davison, known best for his role as the Fifth Doctor in the long running series Doctor Who, will forever stand as a legacy due to the unique traits he brought to the show.
Chris Daniel talks to Davison at MCM Comic Con Liverpool about his time as the cricket obsessed, vegetable wearing doctor in the 1980’s.
CD: You serve such an iconic purpose to the Doctor Who series, how did it feel when your time was up?
PD: “Well it was my decision to leave the show, and I did so when I thought the time was right. That was after three series. I was quite young and there were a lot of other things that I wanted to do. It was still a bit of a shock when we were filming that regeneration scene, because it is so hard to believe they actually found someone to replace you”.
CD: In the 2007 episode ‘Time Crash’, you made a guest appearance alongside David Tennant, who was the current doctor of the time. He quoted, “…because you know what doctor, you were my doctor”. With that in mind, who was the doctor that you drew inspiration from?
PD: “Patrick Troughton. Well, Patrick Troughton and obviously William Hartnell (who played the first and second doctors), but I think Patrick had the hardest job, being the first regeneration”.
CD: That particular episode was such a touching tribute to your time as the doctor. Had you previously shared a relationship with Tennant?
PD: “We had worked together on a show called ‘Mrs. Bradley Mysteries’ but we hardly had a scene together. I got to know him through my daughter, considering they ended up marrying each other”.
CD: Do you have a most memorable on set moment?
PD: “Throughout my entire time as the Doctor? Oh lord there are so many. I remember almost being completely suffocated by the dry ice they decided to use for a particular scene, forgetting that its practically carbon dioxide that you cant breathe. The moments you tend to remember are the near disasters”.
CD: Maybe not having a specific favorite memory, do you have a favorite episode?
PD: “My last story called ‘The Caves of Androzani’, which was very well directed, greatly scripted and also had a great cast. Unfortunately I did turn into Colin Baker at the end of the episode, but aside from that, I would say that was my favorite.”
CD: Between the transitions of Doctors there is always mixed feelings, because it doesn’t matter who they cast, you will always have a connection with the previous actor.
PD: “Of course, but usually those mixed feelings seem to disappear. I remember my son, who was about twelve or thirteen when Matt Smith left the show, was almost positive that he would hate it afterwards. As soon as [Peter] Capaldi walked on screen, he moved on instantly. It’s a passing thing really”.
CD: I constantly hear stories about actors on big budget films and productions that steal props and costumes, and when confronted with the question, say that it has been ‘misplaced’. Did you do that with anything on set of Doctor Who?
PD: “Oh yes, I took my costume home”.
CD: What about your sonic screwdriver?
PD: “No, because they blew my sonic screwdriver up many years beforehand in my first or second episode. If they hadn’t of done that, I would have nicked it. I didn’t actually ‘steal’ my costume, Colin Baker wore it for a short while and then I took it”.
CD: So it simply ‘went missing’?
PD: “That’s exactly right. Last seen in my wardrobe”
CD: At the end of this year, the Doctor Who Christmas Special will see Peter Capaldi put down his sonic screwdriver and regenerate into the 13th doctor. There has been a lot of controversy about who should be next, with the whole ‘first female doctor’ argument gaining traction. What are your thoughts?
PD: “Well there has been that controversy since Tom Baker left, which was in 1981. These days you get into terrible trouble when you say what you think, but I personally think that the doctor is best being a man because he is a tremendous role model. It would be a shame to lose that, simply because of a modern view of inclusiveness. At the end of the day, it all comes down to Chris Chibnall who will choose the actor based on their ability to act, not based on their skin color, what sex they are or what people believe is politically correct”.
Photo by Shane Zeiler