Peter Davison was at New York Comic Con this year, and there were plenty of fans scrambling to get into the room with him. The reason why became apparent in seconds: Davison is a con veteran, the sort of man who knows exactly how to respond to every question put to him and engage a gigantic room. If he was ever slightly uneasy, it certainly didn’t show. So here are some fun bits gleaned from a truly adorable panel, including what might be up for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary!
Destroying an Iconic Scarf
When asked how he felt about unraveling the Fourth Doctor’s scarf (in his first full serial as the Doctor), Davison admitted to relishing it. It looks as though getting the chance to really make his mark on the part by getting rid of the Fourth Doctor’s most recognizable prop was something that made him gleeful; he specifically asked if he could do it. It turns out that there were a few scarves used, and it was a good thing that they were all on hand, because they needed more yarn than one scarf could have provided for him to make that breadcrumb trail with it. Davison made the point that they were pretty shoddily made and came apart easily.
Fifth Doctor Romance
It was pointed out that new New Who did not shy away from romance the way Classic Who did, and one fan got up to ask who Davison though the Fifth Doctor might have fallen for, were that in the cards. His initial response was Tegan, though he noted that she would likely “drive him crazy.” His next thought was Nyssa, though he admitted “that was the easy choice,” perhaps too easy. When Peri was suggested, Davison firmly shook his head. “She stole my regeneration scene!” he insisted.
He Once Straight Up Wrestled A Bull Calf to the Ground
Some fans of other BBC programs might know that Davison was on the show All Creatures Great and Small, adapted from the eponymous novel. There was a vet on set who advised Davison and other cast members on how to handle the live animals on set like real vets would do, but when it came time to wrestle a bull calf to the ground, the professional vet merely said, “This is really very hard to do.” One of the other actors was incapable of filming the scene, so it was left to Davison to do the two-man job by himself.
Rose, The Most Influential Companion
When asked what companion’s reign was most important in the show’s history, Davison answered “Rose” without hesitation. In his opinion, her arrival was the place where the show finally figured out how to tell a companion’s story effectively, instead of simply defining them by one goal (such as Tegan’s desire to get off the TARDIS, or Turlough’s initial plan to kill the Doctor at the behest of the Black Guardian).
50th Anniversary News?
None as such: Davison either had no information to tell, or would not give it out. He claimed that he had not been asked to do anything yet, and that if he wasn’t asked, he was going to make his own 50th Anniversary Special. Which no fan would likely say no to, so at least we’ve got that to look forward to if all else fails.
The Audio Commentary on Fifth Doctor Episodes
Davison and his companions have done quite a few audio commentaries for their episodes, but he insists that he would love to record them all again, completely uncensored, for posterity. “Maybe record them now and release them years later,” he suggested, noting that whenever they had a director for the commentaries it was usually easy to tell because they had to stop themselves from “slagging off” the show entirely. Of course, he points out, all their poking fun is meant in the most loving way, and he enjoyed the commentaries best when it simply sounded as though they had all gathered in his living room and one of the episodes just happened to be on.
Envious of the Tenth Doctor’s Clone
Davison admitted that he was quite jealous of the Tenth Doctor’s clone (created from his severed hand at the end of season four) because it could potentially allow the older, human Doctor to return, letting David Tenant age as much as he pleased and still come back to the show. Let it be known: Peter Davison wants his own handy loophole! Either that, or they’ll have to Tron Legacy him up.
Coming Back as a Villain
When one fan dressed as Anthony Ainley’s version of the Master approached the microphone, he reminded Davison that Sylvester McCoy (Doctor #7) had recently stated that he would love to return to the show as a villain. So he asked which villain our former Fifth Doctor might like to return as. Without missing a beat, Peter Davison leveled his eyes at the man and said, “You.”
So there you have it! It’s almost like you were really there. Now just imagine that you left feeling completely charmed and sort of like you had been cuddled. That’s sort of what it was like. Much thanks to Peter Davison for being so deft with a crowd, and providing us with such a lovely hour.
Emily Asher-Perrin's favorite Classic Who Doctor is indeed the Fifth. It was all that fainting and playing cricket that did it. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.