||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
Davison at the 2012 New York Comic Con.
|Born||Peter M. G. Moffett
13 April 1951
Streatham, London, England
|Spouse(s)||Diane J. Russell (1973–1975) (divorced)
Sandra Dickinson (1978–1994) (divorced)
Elizabeth Morton (2003-present)
|Children||Georgia Moffett (born 1984)
Louis Moffett (born 1999)
Joel Moffett (born 2001)
Peter Davison (born Peter M. G. 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 been playing Henry Sharpe in Law & Order: UK.
Davison was born Peter Moffett in Streatham, London, son of an electrical engineer who was originally from Guyana. The family then moved to Knaphill in Surrey. During this time, Davison was a member of an amateur theatre company called the Byfleet Players. Before becoming an actor, he gained three O-levels at Winston Churchill School, St John's, Woking, Surrey, and then had several odd jobs, including a stint as a mortuary attendant and a Hoffman Press operator.
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.
In 1973, aged 21, Davison married Diane Russell.
His first television work was in a 1975 episode of the children's science fiction television programme The Tomorrow 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 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, but later divorced in 1994.
Doctor Who (1981–1984 and later revivals)
In 1981, 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). In 2008, Davison spoke unfavourably 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." Interviewed in 2013, Davison stated that The Caves of Androzani, The Visitation and Earthshock were his favourite serials from his time on the series, and that Time-Flight was the biggest disappointment because of a lack of budget.
In 1982, Davison had lent his name to two series of short stories published by Arrow. The two were Peter Davison's Book of Alien Monsters and Peter Davison's Book of Aliens which both featured a photograph of him on the cover.
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.
After Doctor Who
After Davison left Doctor Who in 1984, he did not work on another popular series until 1986, when he played Dr Stephen Daker, the ingenuous hero of A Very Peculiar Practice, written by Andrew Davies. The surreal comedy-drama was revived several years later as A Very Polish Practice. Davison also played the lead in Campion, a series based on the period whodunnits of Margery Allingham. This, and the opportunity to play Tristan Farnon again in 1985 and 1990, kept Davison busy until the early 1990s, when he gradually faded from the public eye. He continued to appear occasionally on television, including playing the leads in Fiddlers Three (1991) and Harnessing Peacocks (1992) and an appearance on the American show Magnum, P.I. (in the feature-length 1985 episode "Deja Vu", set in the UK). In 1994–1995, he co-starred in the British sitcom Ain't Misbehavin', then in 1995 he 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.
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 1992 he presented the video documentary release Doctor Who: Daleks – The Early Years, showcasing surviving episodes of missing stories featuring the Daleks.
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 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.
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 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.
Davison married his third wife, actress and writer Elizabeth Morton, in 2003. The couple have two sons.
Davison's daughter from his second marriage is actress Georgia Moffett. She is married (since December 2011) to Scottish actor David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, and has three children, Ty (born 2002), Olive (born 2011), and Wilfred (born 2013).
Views and advocacy
On 21 April 2010, Davison appeared in a party election broadcast on behalf of the UK Labour Party, following in the footsteps of fellow Doctor Who actor David Tennant and Jon Pertwee's son Sean Pertwee. Quoted in The Guardian, Davison said:
I'll be voting Labour without a doubt. I tremble at the idea we might put a Tory government back into power. I think back to the last time a Conservative government was running the country and can't believe we might do it. I'm also a big Brown fan; he might not have that slick charm that we seem to buy into these days, as we did with Blair, which turned into a big mistake, and as we seem to be doing with Cameron. With Brown, it's substance over style; he's a career politician, who has spent his life working to help people. I like that he isn't slick, unlike Cameron, who's only been in politics for a few years.
|1975||The Tomorrow People||Elmer||Davison met his future wife, Sandra Dickinson whilst filming this programme.|
|1977||Love for Lydia||Tom Holland||13-part series for LWT|
|1978–1990||All Creatures Great and Small||Tristan Farnon|
|1979–1982||Once Upon a Time||Himself|
|1980||Pebble Mill at One||Himself||Appeared to discuss his new role in Doctor Who|
|1980–1982||Sink or Swim||Brian Webber|
|1980–1982||Holding the Fort||Russell Milburn|
|1981||The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy||Dish of the Day||Appears alongside then wife Sandra Dickinson|
|1981–1984||Doctor Who||The Doctor|
|1982||This is Your Life||Himself|
|1985||Fox Tales||Various||Voice only|
|1985||Anna of the Five Towns||Henry Mynors|
|1986–1988||A Very Peculiar Practice||Dr Stephen Daker|
|1986||Agatha Christie's Miss Marple||Lance Fortescue||Episode: "A Pocket Full of Rye"|
|1986||Magnum P.I.||Ian Mackerras||Episode: "Déjà vu"|
|1988||Tales of the Unexpected||Jeremy Tyler||Episode: "Wink Three Times"|
|1991||Fiddlers Three||Ralph West|
|1992||A Very Polish Practice||Dr Stephen Daker|
|1993||Harnessing Peacocks||Jim Huxtable|
|1993||Dimensions in Time||The Doctor||A celebration of Doctor Who's 30th Anniversary; shown as part of Children in Need|
|1994||Heartbeat||Doctor||Episode: A Bird in the Hand|
|1994–1995||Ain't Misbehavin'||Clive Quigley|
|1995||Mole’s Christmas||Various||Voice only|
|1995||Heavenly Bodies||Himself||A 6-part series about astronomy|
|1997||Dear Nobody||Mr Garton|
|1997||Scene||Episode: "A Man of Letters"|
|1998||Jonathan Creek||Stephen Claithorne||Episode: "Danse Macabre"|
|1998||The Stalker’s Apprentice||Maurice Burt|
|1998||Verdict||Michael Naylor||Episode: "Be My Valentine"|
|1998||Wuthering Heights||Joseph Lockwood|
|1999||Hope and Glory||Neil Bruce||Episode 1|
|1999||The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything||Ferdinand Magellan|
|2000||The Mrs Bradley Mysteries||Inspector Henry Christmas||3 episodes|
|2000||It’s Only TV… But I Like It||Himself|
|2000–2003||At Home with the Braithwaites||David Braithwaite|
|2003||Too Good to be True||Robert|
|2003–2007||The Last Detective||DC ‘Dangerous’ Davies|
|2005–2008||Distant Shores||Bill Shore|
|2006||The Complete Guide to Parenting||Professor George Huntley|
|2007||The Wright Stuff||Himself|
|2007||Fear, Stress and Anger||Martin Chadwick||Appeared alongside his daughter, Georgia Moffet|
|2007||Marple||Hubert Curtain||Episode: "At Bertram’s Hotel"|
|2007||Doctor Who||The Doctor||"Time Crash" Special mini-episode for Children in Need|
|2008||Al Murray's Happy Hour||Himself|
|2009||Al Murray’s Multiple Personality Disorder||Nazi doctor|
|2009||Micro Men||Bank Manager|
|2009||Midsomer Murders||Nicky Frazer||Episode: "Secrets and Spies"|
|2009||Miranda||Mr Clayton||Appeared alongside Patricia Hodge, his co-star in Holding the Fort|
|2009||The Queen||Denis Thatcher||Episode: "The Rival"|
|2010||Sherlock||Planetarium Voice||Episode: "The Great Game", uncredited|
|2011||New Tricks||Charles Allenforth||Episode: "The End of the Line"|
|2011–2013||Law and Order UK||Henry Sharpe|
|2013||Lewis||Peter Falkener||Episodes: "The Ramblin Boy", parts one and two|
|2013||Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor||Himself||Guest|
|2013||Doctor Who At the Proms||Himself||Guest|
|2013||Pat & Cabbage||Michael|
|2013||The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot||Himself||Also Writer and Director|
|1993||The Airzone Solution||Al Dunbar|
|1994||The Zero Imperative||Patient One|
|1994||A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day||Robert|
|1994||Black Beauty||Squire Gordon|
|1995||The Devil Of Winterborne||Gavin Purcell|
|1996||Ghosts Of Winterborne||Gavin Purcell|
Radio and CD audio drama
|1997||Destiny of the Doctors||The Doctor||Voice only|
- GRO Register of Births: JUN 1951, 5c 47, Battersea, Peter M. G. Moffett, mother's maiden surname Hallett
- "Doctor Who – Classic Series – Episode Guide – Fifth Doctor Index". BBC. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Davison, Peter; Yvonne Swann (22 February 2007). "All Roles Great and Small". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- "Peter Moffett aka Peter Davison". streathamlife.co.uk.
- Peter Davison biography at the BFI
- Starlog (102). 1986.
- Haining, Peter (1988). Doctor Who: 25 Glorious Years. WH Allen Planet.
- Interview with Peter Davison (April 2009)
- "Peter Davison ('Doctor Who')". Digital Spy. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Peter Davison: 'I was quicker than most Doctors'". BBC News. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- Howe, Stammers, Walker (1996). Doctor Who: The Eighties. London: Virgin Publishing Ltd. p. 168. ISBN 1-85227-680-0.
- "Who Needs Another Doctor?". BBC Doctor Who website. 21 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-23.[dead link]
- "Peter Davison on Doctor Who's 50th anniversary:"I don’t think it will involve the older Doctors"". Radio Times online. 7 March 2013.
- "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, BBC Red Button Review". The Daily Telegraph online. 24 November 2013.
- Practical Astronomy, Volume 1, number 5, dated March 1995
- "Unforgiven". itv.com. January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
- "Midsomer Murders – Episode List". Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
- "Casting Complete for London's Legally Blonde The Musical", Playbill, 10 September 2009
- Duncan, Andrew (26 October - 1 November 2013). "Geeks should rule the world". The Radio Times. p. 13.
- "General Election 2010: leading stars oppose Tory BBC plans". The Daily Telegraph (London). 25 April 2010.
- "My vote". The Guardian (London). 11 April 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peter Davison.|
- Peter Davison at the Internet Movie Database
- Peter Davison Biography – British Film Institute
- Violence & Vulnerability – Peter Davison article at Kasterborous.com
- Chicago TARDIS 2011 – Peter Davison Interview on The Omega Podcast
- Works by or about Peter Davison in libraries (WorldCat catalog)