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Peter Malcolm Gordon Moffett (born 13 April 1951), known professionally as Peter Davison, is an English actor with many credits in television dramas and sitcoms. He made his television acting debut in 1975 and became famous in 1978 as Tristan Farnon in the BBC's television adaptation of James Herriot's '' All Creatures Great and Small'' stories. Davison's subsequent starring roles included the sitcoms '' Holding the Fort'' and ''Sink or Swim (TV series), Sink or Swim'', the Fifth Doctor, fifth incarnation of Doctor (Doctor Who), the Doctor in ''Doctor Who'', Dr. Stephen Daker in ''A Very Peculiar Practice'' and Albert Campion in ''Campion (1989 TV series), Campion''. He also played David Braithwaite in ''At Home with the Braithwaites'', "Dangerous" Davies in ''The Last Detective'' and Henry Sharpe in ''Law & Order: UK''.


Early life

Davison was born to Claude and Sheila Moffett in Streatham, London. Claude was originally from British Guiana (now Guyana), and worked as a radio engineer before opening a grocer's shop, whilst Sheila worked in intelligence during World War II before becoming a housewife. Davison had three sisters: Shirley, Pamela and Barbara. Whilst in Streatham, he attended Granton Primary School. 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 General Certificate of Education, O-levels at The Winston Churchill School, Woking, 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. He only uses Davison professionally, continuing to use Moffett personally (viz. his daughter's maiden name was Georgia Moffett not Georgia Davison). In 1973, aged 21, Davison married Diane Russell. They divorced two years later.


Career

His first television work was 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 (actress), 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-part TV series ''Love for Lydia (TV series), Love for Lydia'' opposite a young Jeremy Irons; the series was broadcast on ITV (TV network), 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. "I don't know how much it changed my life. It creeps up on you really. You become used to it quickly, I think. I wasn't aware of it suddenly changing my life, although I had a bit more money to spend on rubbish. I bought a house, but the money was rubbish because I was a BBC newcomer, though nobody's money was very good, except probably Robert Hardy's. I remember after the third series I bought a car, which was a Renault 18. I thought it was pretty flash, and I went to this garage to fill up with petrol, and the guy said, 'Aren't you that bloke off the vet series?' I said yes I was, and he said, 'Why are you driving that piece of shit?'"''All Memories Great & Small'', Oliver Crocker (2016; MIWK) Davison and his wife composed and performed the theme tunes to ''Button Moon'', a children's programme broadcast in the 1980s, and ''Mixed Blessings (British TV series), Mixed Blessings'', a sit-com broadcast on ITV (TV network), 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 (TV series), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'' in 1981. The producers considered it humorous for an actor known for playing a veterinary surgeon to appear as a cow. The couple have a daughter, Georgia Tennant, born in 1984. Davison and Dickinson divorced in 1994. Davison has also appeared in several British sitcoms, including '' Holding the Fort'' (1980–82) and ''Sink or Swim (TV series), Sink or Swim'' (1980–82), as well as appearing in dramatic roles.


''Doctor Who'' (1981–1984 and later revivals)

In 1980, Davison signed a contract to play Doctor (Doctor Who), the Doctor in ''Doctor Who'' 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 (actor), 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 as getting the role was for him, but he did not renew his contract because he feared being typecasting (acting), 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 Cyberman, Cybermen in ''Earthshock'' (1982) and the Daleks and Davros in ''Resurrection of the Daleks'' (1984). After leaving ''Doctor Who'', Davison returned to the franchise several times. He presented the special videotape documentary release ''Daleks – The Early Years'' (1993), showcasing selected episodes of missing Dalek stories from both the First Doctor and Second Doctor's eras. 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 Davison's future son-in-law David Tennant. Tennant later presented a documentary, ''Come in Number Five'', which examined Davison's tenure 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 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 special (Doctor Who), 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. Davison has been critical of some aspects of ''Doctor Who''’s original run, and has expressed great admiration for the 21st century revival. In 2008, Davison spoke unfavourably of some of the writing for the series during his tenure: "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 Productions, Big Finish, that they are fans of science fiction and that's why they are doing those stories." In 2013 Davison also praised the frisson between the Doctor and his companions in the revived series: "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 Tyler, Rose, when the series came back." Interviewed in 2013, Davison stated that ''The Caves of Androzani'', ''The Visitation (Doctor Who), 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 2013, Davison was asked in an interview about the possibility of a female Doctor, to which he replied: "I have a slight problem with that because it’s not as if genders are interchangeable on Gallifrey... I don’t like the idea of the Doctor having a sex change - it’s not as if you would have a female James Bond." In July 2017, Davison reacted positively to the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor, but expressed the belief that it was "the loss of a role model for boys who I think ''Doctor Who'' is vitally important for". He added: "I feel a bit sad about that, but I understand the argument that you need to open it up." Davison closed his Twitter account following the backlash to his comments, saying the "toxicity" from the series’ viewers on both sides of the dispute had been "sobering".


1984–present

File:Peter Davison.jpg, Davison in October 2016 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 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 (writer), Andrew Davies, it concerns a university's health centre; Daker is the centre's only effective physician. The black comedy-drama ran for two series and had a sequel with ''A Very Polish Practice'' in 1992, a television film largely set in a post-communist Polish hospital. In 1986 he appeared as Lance Fortescue in an episode of the BBC's ''Miss Marple (TV series), Miss Marple'' ("A Pocketful of Rye"). Davison reprised his role as Tristan Farnon in four more series of ''All Creatures Great and Small'' between 1988 and 1990, although he was absent from 24 episodes of the final three to play the lead in ''Campion (1989 TV series), Campion'', a series based on the period whodunnits of Margery Allingham. He appeared in the sitcoms ''Fiddlers Three (TV series), Fiddlers Three'' for ITV in 1991, and ''Ain't Misbehavin' (TV series), Ain't Misbehavin''' in 1993 and 1995. He played Jim Huxtable in the 1993 TV movie ''Harnessing Peacocks (film), Harnessing Peacocks'', based on the novel by Mary Wesley In 1994 he provided the voice of Mole in ''The Wind in the Willows'' animated special ''Mole's Christmas''. He also appeared as a doctor in ''Heartbeat (UK TV series), Heartbeat'' episode "List of Heartbeat episodes, A Bird in the Hand", and played Squire Gordon in the 1994 film of ''Black Beauty (1994 film), Black Beauty''.Dr Who: films of Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy , Den of Geek
/ref> Davison presented ''Heavenly Bodies'' a six-part series about astronomy broadcast on BBC1 in 1995. This led to him being featured on the cover of ''Practical Astronomy'' magazine. He guest starred in the sixth episode of the crime drama ''Jonathan Creek'' in 1998 as the son-in-law of a horror writer who was shot dead on Halloween. The following year he played the outgoing head teacher in the television series ''Hope and Glory (TV series), Hope and Glory'', and appeared in ''Parting Shots'', the last film to be directed by Michael Winner. It was not until 2000 that Davison 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. Also in 2000, he appeared in the recurring role of Inspector Christmas in several episodes of Diana Rigg's ''The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, Mrs Bradley Mysteries''. The first episode, ''Death at the Opera'', saw Davison appear with his future son-in-law (and future Doctor Who actor), David Tennant. He starred as Dangerous Davies in the television series ''The Last Detective'' (2003–2007) and as Dr Bill Shore in ''Distant Shores (UK TV series), Distant Shores'' (2005–2008), both for ITV (TV network), ITV. In 2006 he appeared as Professor George Huntley in ''The Complete Guide to Parenting'', and appeared as himself in the TV series ''Hardware (TV series), Hardware''. Davison starred as Martin Chadwick, one half of an overworked couple coping with two irresponsible daughters and his senile mother at home, in the BBC Two comedy ''Fear, Stress and Anger'' in early 2007. The show also starred his daughter Georgia Tennant. Later in 2007, he played Hubert Curtain in an episode of ITV's ''Agatha Christie's Marple'' ("At Bertram's Hotel"). In January 2009 he appeared in ''Unforgiven (TV series), 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 July 2009, he appeared in an episode of ''Midsomer Murders'', and made a guest appearance as a teacher in Miranda Hart's sitcom, ''Miranda (TV series), Miranda'', 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, and in December 2009, he played Denis Thatcher in ''The Queen'', a docudrama on Channel 4. In November 2010, it was announced that Davison would be joining the regular cast of the UK version of ''Law & Order: UK, Law and Order'' as Henry Sharpe, the Director of the London Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Davison's appeared 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 in 2013 he played divorcee Michael in the comedy series ''Pat and Cabbage'', as well as appearing in an episode of the ITV detective series ''Lewis (TV series), Lewis''. Davison had been lined up to appear in writer/director Daisy Aitkens' first feature-length film ''You, Me and Him'' (previously titled ''Fish Without Bicycles'') in late 2016. However, due to a scheduling clash, Davison was forced to pull out of the film. The film stars his son-in-law David Tennant, and is co-produced by Davison's daughter, Georgia. In 2017 Davison appeared in an episode of the third series of ''Grantchester (TV series), Grantchester'', playing a cricket-loving solicitor. Davison appeared with Christopher Timothy in the three-part series ''Vintage Roads Great & Small'' in 2018. In it the pair travel in vintage cars on three trips from London to Land's End, from Loch Ness to The Isle of Skye and from Cardiff to Snowdonia. In April 2020, Davison was asked to narrate the tenth season of Channel 5's documentary series, ''The Yorkshire Vet'', which features veterinarians Julian Norton and Peter Wright. Christopher Timothy had been doing so since the start of the series, but he was self-isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Davison's home was equipped with a recording studio, making the role practical for him.


Radio

Davison has appeared in several radio series, including the BBC Radio 4 comedy drama series ''King Street Junior'' in 1985. Davison played teacher Eric Brown, however, he left after two series and was replaced by Karl Howman (as Philip Sims). In 1995 he appeared in ''Change at Oglethorpe'', and the following year he played Richard Stubbs in a six-part comedy called ''Minor Adjustment''. He played Dr Anthony Webster in the comedy series ''Rigor Mortis (radio), Rigor Mortis'' on Radio 4 in 2003 and 2006, and 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, In 2008 he voiced Simon Draycott in the radio adaptation of ''The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (radio serial), The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul'', and between 2012 and 2013 he played Richard Lyons in the BBC Radio 2 comedy ''Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully''. Since 1999, he has reprised his role as the Fifth Doctor in numerous ''Doctor Who'' audio dramas for Big Finish Productions.


Theatre roles

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 (play), Arsenic and Old Lace'' at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Further theatre appearances during the 1990s 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'', and in 1997 he played Buttons in the pantomime ''Cinderella'' in the Arts Theatre in Cambridge. He appeared as Amos Hart in ''Chicago (musical), Chicago'' at the Adelphi Theatre in 1999, and played Dr Jean-Pierre Moulineaux, in ''Under the Doctor'' at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley and later at the Comedy Theatre, London in 2001. Between July 2007 and March 2008, Davison performed as King Arthur in the London production of ''Spamalot''. Throughout 2010 and 2011 he appeared as Professor Callahan in the West End production of ''Legally Blonde (musical), Legally Blonde'', which opened at the Savoy Theatre. Davison played the part of Oliver Lucas in David Hare (dramatist), David Hare's play ''The Vertical Hour'' at the Park Theatre, London between September and October 2014. In 2015 he joined the cast of ''Gypsy (musical), 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 Whately during its run in Chichester in 2014.


Other ventures

Davison lent his name to be used to endorse two science-fiction anthology books published by Hutchinson (publisher), Hutchinson: ''Peter Davison's Book of Alien Monsters'' released in 1982 and ''Peter Davison's Book of Alien Planets'' released in 1983.


Personal life

Davison has been married three times. His 1973 marriage to Diane J. Russell ended with divorce in 1975. In 1978 he married American-British actress Sandra Dickinson. They divorced in 1994. Davison's daughter from his second marriage is actress Georgia Tennant, Georgia Tennant (née Moffett) (1984). In December 2011 Georgia married actor David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor. Davison married his third wife, actress and writer Elizabeth Morton, in 2003. The couple live in Twickenham and 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 (play), 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. Louis Davison plays the part of Victor in Tim Burton's film, ''Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (film), Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'' released in 2016, and Joel Davison played Lord Heybrook in ''French Without Tears'' at The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. Louis has appeared as Parker Whitfield in BBC One's ''Holby City''. Davison's autobiography, titled ''Is There Life Outside the Box?: An Actor Despairs'', was published on 6 October 2016.


Politics

In April 2010, Davison declared his support for the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party at the 2010 United Kingdom general election, general election of that year. He was also one of 48 celebrities who signed a letter warning voters against Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party policy towards the BBC. Davison publicly supported the UK's membership of the European Union in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 EU referendum, describing Brexit supporters as "mad old farts who want to return the country to an age that never existed".


Filmography


Film


Television


Non-acting television


Theatre


Radio and CD audio drama


Video games


References


External links

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Peter Davison Biography – British Film Institute

Violence & Vulnerability – Peter Davison article at Kasterborous.com

Chicago TARDIS 2011 – Peter Davison Interview on The Omega Podcast
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{{DEFAULTSORT:Davison, Peter 1951 births 20th-century English male actors 21st-century English male actors Alumni of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama English male radio actors English male stage actors English male television actors English people of Guyanese descent Labour Party (UK) people Living people People from Streatham People from the Borough of Woking