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The Fifth Doctor Who


The fifth Doctor Who was Peter Davison, a popular actor known best for his appearance in All Creatures Great and Small. Davison was absolutely superb in the role. He brought to the Doctor a combination of the innocence of youth and the wisdom of old age, and played the part with absolute conviction throughout. If there is a fault with Davison's Doctor, it lies not with the actor but with the production regime throughout the eighties, which tended to concentrate on glossy production values at the expense of decent story telling. The producer also didn't understand what made Doctor Who so popular, and as with the final year of Tom Baker's tenure, most of the humour was removed from the series. That's not to say that the programme went bad overnight - indeed, there were many excellent stories during this period. Also, the new format proved initially popular, and audience ratings were quite high, but they tailed off somewhat during Davison's run. It has been speculated that the audience figures were inflated at first by new viewers who were fans of Davison rather than of Doctor Who itself. It is probably significant that Davison's episodes coincided with the series being moved from its traditional Saturday teatime programming slot, which I believe may have contributed to it losing much of its most important audience - children. A weekday early evening timeslot was perhaps not the ideal time to pick up and inspire a new generation of children, what with school the next day, homework to do, and so on. In retrospect, we can probably see this as the beginning of the end for Doctor Who. At the time however, things still seemed fairly rosy. When the programme celebrated its twentieth anniversary during Davison's tenure, it was confidently predicted that it would go on forever. Who could have imagined that in just six short years, it would all go so horribly wrong?

Best and worst TV stories

Adventures of the fifth Doctor Who