We have now finished reviewing, all of Peter Davison’s – Fifth Doctor episodes; in the episodes section.
Davison’s time in Doctor Who, can be summed up as the “impossible challenge”. Davison was brought in, to fill the massive shoes of outgoing Fourth Doctor; Tom Baker. To also present, a new fresh portrayal of the Doctor. He was also the then youngest actor cast – at only 30 years old.
Episodes like Castrovalva – 1982 and Four To Doomsday – 1982, did little in establishing the new Doctor’s character. Black Orchid – 1982 was a fun romp but didn’t help re-affirm the Fifth Doctor’s “thing” – either.
It was however, the excellent career-definer – Earthshock – 1982; featuring the Cybermen – that finally nailed Davison’s much more accessibly ‘human’take on the Fifth Doctor. A world away from Tom Baker’s “olympian” – alien detachment.
His companions, where a weird bunch – at the best of times and not very relatable. Adric was precocious and unlikeable. Tegan was for the most part, a miserable hostage of the Doctor and didn’t want to travel in the Tardis.
Turlough was character assassinated, by his turn in The Black Guardian Trilogy and after that, no one fully trusted him again. Only Nyssa, came across as thoughtful and likeable.
Davison’s time saw a number of big transitional changes, in the show. It was finally fully brought into the 80’s – kicking and screaming. The theme music and orchestral incidental music, was replaced with electronica. Out went the time-tunnel opening credits, for a Davison-shaped star-field blend.
The sonic screwdriver was destroyed and companion Tegan was given a character spotlight – and the deepest characterisation to date, in The Mara Tales and The Awakening – 1984.
Davison, also had the privilege of being the Doctor in charge for the 20th anniversary special; Five Doctor’s – 20th Anniversary Special. A one-time only, feature-length romp through the entire back catalogue of 30 years of Doctor Who.
If his fight against the Cybermen, was career defining. Then his showing against the Daleks was considerably flatter, in Resurrection of the Daleks – 1984. It was contrived and offered no new continuation – to either the Doctor or the Dalek’s story (since their previous outing in Tom Baker’s Destiny Of The Daleks – 1979).
Their were some low points – too; Four To Doomsday – 1982, Warriors of the Deep – 1984, Time-Flight – 1982 and The Guardian Trilogy – Terminus – 1983; were not worthy of Who’s previous established legacy.
The continual re-introduction of The Master, was at times annoying. Overuse of the character, was compounded by the production team’s insistence, on dressing him up as other characters; for a third-act shock (but very obvious) reveal!
Which wasn’t particularly shocking, as we could tell it was him – all along. He did partially redeem, in Planet of Fire – 1984. With an intended swansong, that finally seemed to be written for Ainley’s strengths.
Apart from Earthshock, Davison’s other notable turn, was in his final episode; The Caves of Androzani – 1984. Which allowed him to bow out, with integrity, by sacrificing himself for his companion; Peri.
Davison was – in retrospect, an excellent choice for the Doctor and he was part of the show, when it was still highly regarded.
He left, long before the BBC’s axe began to loom over proceedings. His era, (although not as strong as Tom Baker’s era); was a respectable followup, for the Fifth Doctor.