It’s been 35 years since Peter Davison signed on the dotted line to become Doctor Who‘s then-youngest ever lead, at just 29 years old.
In the years since he played the first incarnation of the Time Lord, Peter has remained very much part of the Doctor Who world – and next month, he’ll be hosting a special concert tour celebrating the show’s iconic soundtrack.
Davison spoke to Digital Spy about fronting the 13-date Symphonic Spectacular, whether he’ll ever play the Doctor on-screen again and if the rumors about a ‘Five-ish Doctors Reboot’ sequel are true.
For fans who are unfamiliar, what can we expect from the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular?
It’s the music of Murray Gold, that he’s written for the series – a fair part of it is the music he’s written for Peter Capaldi’s series, but there’s also music from earlier Doctors.
It’s a shift in focus – when you see it on the television, the music is in the background – here, you have a symphony orchestra on-stage playing the music and you have clips in the background.
But also we have various creatures from Doctor Who wandering around the auditorium – and sneaking up on people when they least expect it. At one point, the Daleks try to take over the show – and I have to come on and save the day with a cup of tea!
So it’s a fun thing – and I come in and introduce the various pieces of music, with a little anecdote or two!
Doctor Who has taken you many places – but did you ever expect to be hosting an international arena tour?
No, not at all – I was asked in 2013 whether I would introduce a segment at the Doctor Who BBC Proms night – and I was slightly worried that I’d go out there and people wouldn’t know who I am!
But they did fortunately because what’s happened since the series came back is that fans have gone back and rediscovered the older series – and they’re very forgiving about the effects, I have to say!
They’ve rediscovered it, so they do know who you are – and they know what we look like now, so they’re not appalled when they see us! But no, I never would’ve dreamed I would be doing this. It’s great fun though!
Do you think the music from ‘classic’ Doctor Who – and the work of the Radiophonic Workshop – gets enough credit?
In a way, I do – they were hugely important to the show and the music for what’s now called the ‘classic’ Doctors is absolutely iconic. When the series came back, they decided to go with a more orchestra-based type of music… the music that was written by the Radiophonic Workshop was more incidental music, in the way it was put together.
They weren’t so much ‘compositions’ as they were wonderful… ‘tone poems’ almost. It was equally as important as the modern music, it just doesn’t lend itself quite so handily to doing a concert. But I wouldn’t downgrade the importance of the Radiophonic Workshop at all – still now, you just have to hear that music and it immediately takes you into Doctor Who – it was very iconic music.
You’re still playing the Doctor – on audio for Big Finish Productions. How has playing the part changed since the ’80s?
It doesn’t really change – you just do it. Obviously you are older so it probably has changed from the way we were on the telly – but I don’t think about it.
I just play it as I probably would do now if I was appearing on the program – and we get some great scripts for those Big Finish shows, so it’s a pleasure to do.
We do them very quickly, that’s my only problem with them. When fans ask me about a certain Big Finish story, I rarely can remember which one they’re talking about – although I love doing them at the time!
You reprised the role on-screen for 2007’s ‘Time Crash’ – would you ever do something like that again?
Yeah, if they came up with a good enough reason why we don’t look exactly as we did when we left the series. That was a very clever script from Steven Moffat – with the 10th Doctor remembering the 5th Doctor, but also David Tennant remembering watching me on the TV – so it worked on two levels.
But that’s always been the problem with regards us older Doctors returning – theoretically we should look exactly the same, as we did. Of course, we don’t – as time has passed, cruelly!
If someone could come up with a good enough reason, then I would love the idea – but I’d never push it. I never thought we would get a look in at the 50th – and that was fair enough, I think.
You had a brilliant retort to that, with ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ – did you expect that to get such a big reaction?
Not as big as it did, no. I was very worried early on because I’d said that I was making something – and then I thought, well now I’ve got to come up with something good!
I’ve never worked so hard in my life as in that year – because I was writing the thing at night and we’d film something the next day… it was odd days here and there because everyone’s availability was very limited, but in a way that’s what made it so great.
Sylvester was in New Zealand – which gave me the idea to write a scene with Peter Jackson in it. We sent it to him and he loved it – so everything kind of fell into place.
I think I knew from my point of view that it had worked out… better than I’d hoped, really – but I didn’t know what the fans would think. You have to appreciate the joke – and I suppose they could’ve taken it quite badly, because we were sending up a lot of it. But the fans like that.
On the night that it went out, I remember we were all at the big 50th anniversary convention and I sat around the bar with Colin and Sylvester – and we were just seeing all these tweets coming in, and comments from the fans, saying it was brilliant – and we sat up til literally 1.30am, really excited, because it was just going down so well, much better than we thought it would!
There’s been talk of a sequel – will it ever surface?
If I came up with a good enough idea. There are two problems, really, in my head. I wouldn’t want to do it if it was half-hearted and nowhere near as good as the other one, so it would have to be a good enough idea.
The other problem – and it’s a fairly major one – is we had probably the best cast you can imagine. Literally everyone said yes – with one exception – and it’s very difficult to imagine getting that cast together again… and not paying them!
I couldn’t really ring up people and ask them to do a day for no money at all – their patience might run out! So if I did come up with a good enough idea, I’d then have to figure out a way of actually paying them some money!
All these things are not impossible, but I wouldn’t even want to go down that road unless I thought it could be better!
Would you like to write something else Doctor Who-related – maybe a Big Finish audio?
I’d like to try – I don’t know if I could do it. I find that I instinctively don’t believe that I can do something – and then when I sit down and put my mind to it, things fairly often fall into place. But it’s not an easy process – it’s not like my brain is bubbling with ideas.
Sometimes if I sit down in front of a blank page, things fall into place – and, like what happened with ‘Five-ish Doctors’, once you start getting excited about a thing, then your brain goes into overdrive. So I’d lIke to do these things… but I’m instinctively a very lazy person!
The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular starts on Saturday, May 23. Tickets can be bought at doctorwhosymphonicspectacular.com.
Posted on April 28, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged 50th Anniversary, BBC, concert, Doctor, Doctor Who, doctorwho, fandom, Five-ish Doctors Reboot, London, Peter Davison, Symphonic Spectacular, The Doctor. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.