peter davison will be appearing at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con! on Saturday, and Sunday.
Peter Davison (born Peter Malcolm Gordon Moffett on 13 April 1951) is an English actor, best known for his roles as Tristan Farnon in the television version of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, and as the fifth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, which he played from 1981 to 1984. Also, he played David Braithwaite in At Home with the Braithwaites. Since 2011 he has played Henry Sharpe in Law & Order: UK.
Davison studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. His first job was as an actor and assistant stage manager at the Nottingham Playhouse. He chose the stage name Peter Davison to avoid confusion with the actor and director Peter Moffatt, with whom Davison later worked.
His first television work was an episode of the BBC drama Warship in which he made a cameo appearance in 1973. This was followed by a 1975 episode of the children’s science fiction television programme TheTomorrow People, alongside American actress Sandra Dickinson, whom he married on 26 December 1978.
Davison portrayed an alien named “Elmer”, who arrives on Earth along with his sister (played by Dickinson)and his mother, known as “the Mama” (played by Margaret Burton).
In the mid-1970s, during a lull in his acting career, Davison spent 18 months working in a tax office in Twickenham
In 1976, he was offered a prominent role in the 13-segment TV miniseries Love for Lydia opposite a young Jeremy Irons; the series was broadcast on ITV the following year. In 1978, Davison’s performance as the youthfully mischievous Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small made him a household name. Davison has said that he was mainly cast in the role because he looked as if he could be Robert Hardy’s younger brother.
Davison and his wife composed and performed the theme tunes to Button Moon, a children’s programme broadcast in the 1980s, and Mixed Blessings, a sit-com broadcast on ITV in 1978. Davison subsequently appeared alongside Dickinson as the Dish of the Day in the television version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1981), whose producers considered it humorous for an actor known for playing a veterinary surgeon to appear as a cow. The couple had a daughter, Georgia Moffett, in 1984. They divorced in 1994.Davison has also appeared in several British sitcoms, including Holding the Fort and Sink or Swim, as well as appearing in dramatic roles.
In 1980, Davison signed a contract to play the Doctor for three years, succeeding Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor) and, at age 29, was at the time the youngest actor to have played the lead role, a record he retained for nearly thirty years until Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) took the role in 2009 at age 26.
Attracting such a high-profile actor as Davison was as much of a coup for the programme’s producers as getting the role was for him, but he did not renew his contract because he feared being typecast. Patrick Troughton (who had played the Second Doctor and whom Davison had watched on the programme as a teenager) had recommended to Davison that he leave the role after three years, and Davison followed his advice. The Fifth Doctor encountered many of the Doctor’s best-known adversaries, including the Daleks (in Resurrection of the Daleks) and the Cybermen (in Earthshock).
Davison did, in fact, return to play the Fifth Doctor in the 1993 multi-doctor charity special Dimensions in Time and in the 1997 video game Destiny of the Doctors (audio only). He continues to reprise the role in a series of audio plays by Big Finish Productions. He returned once again in “Time Crash”, a special episode written by Steven Moffat for Children in Need; in the episode, which aired on 16 November 2007, the Fifth Doctor met the Tenth Doctor, played by future son-in-law David Tennant Tennant later presented a documentary, Come in Number Five, which examined Davison’s Doctor Who years in some detail, and which was included as a special feature on the 2011 DVD re-release of Resurrection of the Daleks. It is one of many DVD releases of his Doctor Who serials in which Davison has appeared as an in-vision interviewee or in DVD commentary recordings.
In 2012, Davison expressed further interest in returning to the role of the Doctor for the series’ 50th anniversary but he did not take part. He did, however, write and direct The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, an affectionate and comedic account of Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and himself attempting to get parts in the Anniversary Special, featuring cameos from numerous Doctor Who cast, crew, and famous fans. In 2014 Davison pre-recorded a video cameo appearance as himself in Benjamin Maio Mackay’s touring comedy show “50 Years of Doctor Who: Preachers Podcast Live 2!” which played Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival to great acclaim. This was recorded after the interview Peter conducted with Benjamin’s podcast surrounding the Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular.
Davison has been critical of the original series of Doctor Who and has expressed great admiration for the 21st-century revival. In 2008, Davison spoke unfavorably of some of the writing for the series during his tenure, claiming: “There were some very suspect scripts we did, knocked off by TV writers who’d turn their hand to anything. Fair enough, but they weren’t science fiction fans. You do get the impression, both with the television series now and Big Finish, that they are fans of science fiction and that’s why they are doing those stories. Davison has also praised the sexual frisson between the Doctor and his companions in the revived series and claimed: “They were struggling for many years to make the companions more rounded characters and… they never once thought it was a good idea to put any frisson or sexual tension – even in its most innocent form – between the Doctor and companion. I think it would make it easier to write a better character. All I know is they’ve struggled for many years to write a good companion’s part. I don’t think they’ve ever really managed it till Rose, when the series came back.”
Interviewed in 2013, Davison stated that The Caves of Androzani, The Visitation and Earthshock were his favorite serials from his time on the series, and that Time-Flight was the biggest disappointment because of a lack of budget.
After Davison left Doctor Who in 1984, he immediately landed a role in Anna of the Five Towns, a period drama. In 1985, he appeared in the television movies Miss Marple Mysteries: A Pocketful of Rye, an All Creatures Great and Small Christmas special, and a feature-length episode of the American show Magnum, P.I. (“Deja Vu”, set in the UK).
Davison played Dr. Stephen Daker, the central character in A Very Peculiar Practice (1986–88). Written by Andrew Davies, it concerns a university’s health center; Daker is the center’s only effective physician.
The black comedy-drama ran for two series and had a sequel with A Very Polish Practice (1992), a television film largely set in a post-communist Polish hospital.
Davison reprised his role as Tristan Farnon in four more series (1988–1990) of All Creatures, although he was absent from 24 episodes of the final three in order to play the lead in Campion, a series based on the period whodunnits of Margery Allingham. Davison’s next lead television roles were in the TV movie Harnessing Peacocks (1992) and the sitcoms Fiddlers Three (1991) and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1993 and 1995).
In 1995, Davison presented Heavenly Bodies a six-part series about astronomy broadcast on BBC1. This led to him being featured on the cover of Practical Astronomy magazine.
It was not until 2000 that he returned in another major role, that of David Braithwaite in At Home with the Braithwaites. During convention appearances in 2013, Davison cited this as his favourite among the roles he has played.
Davison has appeared in several radio series including Change at Oglethorpe in 1995 and Minor Adjustment in 1996. In 1985 he appeared in the BBC Radio 4 comedy drama series King Street Junior, as teacher Eric Brown, but he left after only two series and was replaced by Karl Howman (as Philip Sims). In the 2000s, he starred in the comedy series Rigor Mortis.
In 1994 he provided the voice of Mole in The Wind in the Willows animated special Mole’s Christmas. He also played a doctor in Heartbeat episode “A Bird in the Hand”.
In 1997 Peter Davison acted the part Buttons in the pantomime Cinderella in the Arts Theatre in Cambridge.
In 1998 he guest starred in the sixth episode of the crime drama Jonathan Creek as the son-in-law of a horror writer who was shot dead on Halloween.
In 1999 he appeared as the outgoing head teacher in the television series Hope and Glory, and had the recurring role of Inspector Christmas in several episodes of the 1999 series of Diana Rigg’s Mrs. Bradley Mysteries.
He has also starred in the television series as Dangerous Davies in The Last Detective (2003–2007) and Distant Shores (2005), both for ITV, in the latter of which he also played a doctor. In 2006 he appeared as Professor George Huntley in The Complete Guide to Parenting. He has also appeared on the TV series Hardware as himself.
Davison made a guest appearance in the first episode of the second series of the BBC Radio 4 science fiction comedy series Nebulous, broadcast in April 2006.
Davison has also worked on the stage. In 1984, he appeared in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park at the Apollo Theatre alongside his then-wife, Sandra Dickinson. In 1991, he appeared in Arsenic and Old Lace at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Further theatre appearances include The Last Yankee, by Arthur Miller at the Young Vic Theatre and later the Duke of York’s Theatre, London in 1993, and Vatelin in An Absolute Turkey, by Georges Feydeau, at the Gielgud Theatre in 1994. In 1996 he played the role of Tony Wendice in the theatrical production of Dial M for Murder. He also appeared as Amos Hart in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre in 1999, and as Dr. Jean-Pierre Moulineaux, in Under the Doctor at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley and later at the Comedy Theatre, London in 2001.
In early 2007 Davison appeared in a BBC comedy Fear, Stress and Anger, which also starred his daughter Georgia Moffett. Davison plays one half of an overworked couple with two irresponsible daughters and his senile mother at home.
Davison performed as King Arthur in the London production of Spamalot. He first appeared in the role on 23 July 2007 and his final performance was 1 March 2008. Also in 2008, he voiced Simon Draycott in the radio adaptation of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.
He appeared in the popular television show Al Murray’s Happy Hour in March 2008 and in January 2009 appeared in Unforgiven, an ITV1 drama starring Suranne Jones. Davison played John Ingrams, a lawyer who helps Jones’ character, Ruth Slater, find her sister after her release from prison. Davison has made television appearances in an episode of Midsomer Murders, in July 2009, and a guest
appearance in Miranda Hart’s sitcom, Miranda, on BBC 2 in autumn 2009.
In October 2009, Davison was seen in a small but memorable role as a bank manager in Micro Men, a drama about the rise of the British home computer market in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In December 2009, he played Denis Thatcher in The Queen, a docudrama on Channel 4.
Throughout 2010 and 2011 he appeared as Professor Callahan in the West End production of LegallyBlonde, which opened at the Savoy Theatre.
In November 2010, it was announced that Davison would be joining the regular cast of the UK version of Law and Order as Henry Sharpe, the Director of the London Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Davison’s debut in the role will be from the beginning of the series’ fifth season, alongside fellow Doctor Who actress Freema Agyeman.
He appeared in an episode of the police comedy-drama New Tricks in 2011, and an episode of Lewis in early 2013.
In 2015 he joined the cast of Gypsy in its West End transfer to the Savoy Theatre in London, playing the role of Herbie, alongside Imelda Staunton as Mama Rose. The role was originally played by Kevin Wheatley during its run in Chichester in 2014.
Davison married his third wife, actress and writer Elizabeth Morton, in 2003. The couple have two sons, Louis (born 1999) and Joel (born 2001). They both appeared in The Five(ish Doctors) playing themselves.
Louis Moffett made his professional theatrical acting debut aged 14, playing Prince Edward in the 2014 Trafalgar Studios stage production of Richard III, credited as Louis Davison, having adopted his
father’s stage name as his own. His brother Joel also made his theatrical debut aged 13 in the summer of 2014, playing Jack in The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd at the Orange Tree theatre Richmond, credited as Joel Davison.
Davison’s daughter from his second marriage is actress Georgia Moffett. In December 2011 she married Scottish actor David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, and has three children, Ty (born 2002), Olive (born 2011), and Wilfred (born 2013).