Fifth Doctor: Wikis


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The Doctor
Fifth Doctor.jpg
The Fifth Doctor
Portrayed by Peter Davison
Tenure 1981–1984
First appearance Logopolis (Part 4)
Last appearance The Caves of Androzani (regular)
"Time Crash" (charity special)
Number of series 3
Appearances 20 stories (69 episodes)
Companions on television:
Tegan Jovanka
Vislor Turlough
Peri Brown
in spin-offs:
Sir Justin
Robert McIntosh
Thomas Brewster
Preceding Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)
Succeeding Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker)
Series Seasons 19 to 21

The Fifth Doctor is the name given to the fifth incarnation of the fictional character known as the Doctor seen on screen in the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He was portrayed by actor Peter Davison.

Within the series' narrative, the Doctor is a centuries-old Time Lord alien from the planet Gallifrey who travels in time and space in his TARDIS, frequently with companions. When the Doctor is critically injured, he can regenerate his body; in doing so, his physical appearance and personality change.



After the famous and popular Fourth Doctor (as played by Tom Baker), the decision was taken for the next Doctor to be played by someone who presented something of a physical contrast to Baker and by an actor who was already firmly established in the British public's mind. Peter Davison was chosen, due in no small part to his popular and critically acclaimed role as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, a BBC series based on the books of James Herriot.

The Fifth Doctor's era was notable for a "back to basics" attitude, in which "silly" humour (and, to an extent, horror) was kept to a minimum, and more scientific accuracy was encouraged by the producer, John Nathan-Turner. It was, at times, a darker and grittier series in which it saw the death of one of his companions, Adric. It was also notable for the reintroduction of many of the Time Lord's enemies; such as the Master, Cybermen, Omega (a founding-father of Gallifrey), the Black and White Guardians, the Sea Devils, and the Silurians.


The Fourth Doctor's regeneration into the Fifth was a problematic one, and nearly failed, with the Doctor briefly taking on personality aspects from his four previous incarnations. After recovering in the fictional city Castrovalva, he continued his travels with Tegan Jovanka, Nyssa of Traken and Adric. After trips to the future and the past encountering villains such as Monarch and the Mara, the Fifth Doctor was confronted with tragedy when Adric died trying to stop a space freighter from crashing into prehistoric Earth (Earthshock).

When the Doctor met a new companion, an alien boy stranded on Earth by the name of Vislor Turlough, he did not know that Turlough had been commissioned by the Black Guardian to kill him. Soon after, Nyssa left to help cure Lazar's Disease on the space station Terminus. After meeting the entities known as Eternals racing in yacht-like spacecraft for the prize of "Enlightenment", Turlough broke free from the Black Guardian's influence, and continued to travel with the Doctor and Tegan. The Doctor met three of his previous incarnations when they were summoned to the Death Zone on Gallifrey by President Borusa, who was attempting to gain Rassilon's secret of immortality.

After further adventures in which the Doctor re-encountered old foes including the Silurians and the Sea Devils both Tegan and Turlough left the TARDIS. Tegan would find the death and violence they encountered on their travels too much to bear (Resurrection of the Daleks), and Turlough returned to his home planet of Trion in the company of his younger brother, as well as other exiles of Trion, from the planet Sarn (Planet of Fire).

Ultimately, the Fifth Doctor and his last companion Peri Brown were exposed to the drug spectrox in its deadly toxic raw form on Androzani Minor. With only one dose of the antidote available, he nobly sacrificed his own existence to save Peri, regenerating into the Sixth Doctor, expressing doubt for the first time that regeneration might be possible.

A sketch of the Fifth Doctor is seen in John Smith's book in the new series episode "Human Nature".

The Fifth Doctor meets the Tenth Doctor.

Somewhere in his life (perhaps set after the events of Snakedance) he crashed his TARDIS into the TARDIS of the Tenth Doctor and consequently nearly opened a "Belgium sized" black hole because of the paradox caused, which the Tenth Doctor also uses to explain the notably aged appearance of his former self. However the Tenth Doctor, remembering the event, knew how to stop it because he recalled watching himself correct the mistake when he was the Fifth Doctor. ("Time Crash")


The Fifth Doctor was far more vulnerable, sensitive and reserved than his previous incarnations, and would often react to situations rather than initiate them. Frequently he would make decisions by flipping a coin. Unlike his more authoritative predecessors, he would treat his young companions as parts of a team, and would often willingly participate in situations under the leadership of someone else who had the strong command presence that he apparently lacked. However, the Fifth Doctor's boyish appearance, nervous energy and charm all hid the fact that he was a Time Lord of great age, compassion and experience.

This Doctor greatly abhorred violence and would often hesitate about taking matters into his own hands. For the first time indecision weighed seriously on the character, and it had its consequences - yet this Doctor was also one of the most courageous of his incarnations. He was willing to take chances with companions like Turlough and Kamelion, who were originally threats, even as he pretended (as was the case with Turlough) to be unaware of it at first in order to grant his companion the opportunity to do the right thing, under a careful watch of course. He was also willing to make enormous sacrifices (Mawdryn Undead) simply to keep his word and liberate others from suffering. It was perhaps the awful realisation that his very existence begat violence, and the weight of companion Adric's death on his conscience, and perhaps Tegan's near emotional breakdown as well, that led him to sacrifice his own existence to save his last companion, Peri. In an episode of Doctor Who Confidential, Steven Moffat said that "this doctor takes the emphasis off the eccentricities and turns it into a pained heroism of a man who is so much better than the universe he is trying to save but cannot bear to let it stand."

The Fifth Doctor was the last to use the original sonic screwdriver, which was destroyed during The Visitation, although the Seventh and subsequent Doctors were later seen using new versions of the tool. In Time Crash, he declined to borrow the Tenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver, prompting the Tenth Doctor's sarcastic remark, "Oh no, of course, you mostly went hands free didn't you? It's like, 'Hey I'm the Doctor, I can save the universe using a kettle and some string. And look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable.'"



The Fifth Doctor's chosen mode of dress was a variation of an Edwardian cricketer's uniform, and he was even seen to carry a cricket ball in one of his pockets (which saved his life in one adventure). He wore a cream-coloured frock coat, striped trousers, plimsoll shoes and occasionally a pair of spectacles. The Tenth Doctor, who inherited various traits from this incarnation such as spectacle use, revealed in Time Crash that the spectacles weren't actually needed to aid the Doctor's eyesight but were just for show to make him look clever (perhaps to counter his youthful appearance). The Fifth Doctor's costume also retained red question marks embroidered onto the collar which producer John Nather-Turner added to the Fourth Doctor's costume in 1980. The Fifth Doctor also displayed an unusually acute sense of taste in Planet of Fire, also inherited by the Tenth Doctor.

On his lapel, this Doctor wore a celery stalk. He claimed in The Caves of Androzani that the celery would sometimes turn purple in the presence of certain gases in the "Praxis" range to which he was allergic, although this allergy was not mentioned by any incarnations before or since. He said that if that happened, he would then eat the celery (explaining, "If nothing else, I'm sure it's good for my teeth"). In the same story, while attempting to revive a feverish Peri from Spectrox Toxemia, he had noted that celery was an "excellent restorative from where I come from", but that the human olfactory system was "comparatively feeble." The Tenth Doctor repeatedly poked fun at the celery in Time Crash, describing it as a "decorative vegetable".

Peter Davison stated in an interview on the DVD of Castrovalva that he thought the clothes he wore were far too "designed" and that he would have still kept them, but wanted to add some individual flair to them, as other actors portraying the Doctor have done in the past.


The Fifth Doctor was first seen on television in the last episode of Logopolis, broadcast on 21 March 1981. Davison played the role through the 19th and 20th seasons of Doctor Who, including the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors. Patrick Troughton, who played the Second Doctor, advised Davison to stay in the role for three years, and acting on this advice Davison informed producer John Nathan-Turner that he would leave the role after the 21st season. In a break from recent tradition, Nathan-Turner decided to regenerate the Doctor in the season's penultimate story, in order to introduce the Sixth Doctor to audiences before the seasonal hiatus. Davison's last regular appearance as the Fifth Doctor was in the last episode of The Caves of Androzani, broadcast on 16 March 1984.

Davison returned to the role briefly in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time. Beginning in 1999, he recorded a series of Doctor Who audio plays for Big Finish Productions. In 2007, Davison, at the age of 56, appeared alongside Tenth Doctor David Tennant in a Doctor Who special for Children in Need, written by Steven Moffat and titled "Time Crash". This was the first official time that a Doctor from the New Series met a Doctor from the original 26-year run.[1] This is the first "multi-Doctor" story in the revived series and the first televised one since The Two Doctors in 1985.

The Fifth Doctor has also appeared in officially licensed novels, short stories and comics.

Non-television appearances

Short stories


Virgin Missing Adventures
Past Doctor Adventures
Eighth Doctor Adventures
Telos Doctor Who novellas


Doctor Who Magazine
  • The Tides of Time
  • Stars Fell on Stockbridge
  • The Stockbridge Horror
  • Lunar Lagoon
  • 4-Dimensional Vistas
  • The Moderator
  • The Lunar Strangers
  • The Curse of the Scarab
Doctor Who Yearbook
  • Blood Invocation

Video games



  1. ^ Nathan, Sara (2007-08-21). "Dr Peter is back in the Tardis". The Sun.,,2001320029-2007380654,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

This page is a collection of quotations from the era of the fifth official incarnation of the Doctor from the BBC science fiction television programme Doctor Who, during which the role of the Fifth Doctor was played by Peter Davison. As Doctor Who stories in other media (such as books, audio plays, etc) are the subject of intense debate as regarding their place in the series' overall canon, these quotations are largely taken from episodes broadcast on television.


Audio Plays

The Mutant Phase

Emperor Dalek: Doctor.
The Doctor: I see we've both had a face lift since we last met.

Season 19

Castrovalva [19.1]

The Doctor: That's the trouble with regeneration. You quite never know what you're going to get.

The Doctor: Which is the quickest way out of here?
[Each of the women at the fountain point in different directions.]
The Doctor: Yes. Well, That's democracy for you.

Kinda [19.3]

The Doctor: An apple a day keeps the... Ah, never mind.

The Doctor: There's always something to look at if you open your eyes!

The Visitation [19.4]

The Doctor: Why are Earth people so parochial?

Terileptil Leader: You're being a very stupid woman.
Tegan: That isn't a very original observation.

Black Orchid [19.5]

[after a cricket match]
Sir Robert: Superb innings! Worthy of the Master.
The Doctor: [alarmed] The Master?
Sir Robert: Well, the other Doctor! [The Doctor still looks alarmed] W.G. Grace!
The Doctor: [relieved] Yes, of course!

[Speaking on why he wouldn't have attacked Anne and killed the butler]
The Doctor: And besides -
Sir Robert: Besides what?
The Doctor: Well, it wouldn't be cricket.

Earthshock [19.6]

The Doctor: When was the last time you smelt a flower, watched a sunset, ate a well-prepared meal?
Cyberleader: These things are irrelevant.
The Doctor: For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about!

Tegan: I'm just a mouth on legs.

Time-Flight [19.7]

The Doctor: It's times like this I wish I still had my scarf.

The Doctor: The illusion is always one of normality.

Season 20

Arc of Infinity [20.1]

The Doctor: You know how it is; you put things off for a day and next thing you know, it's a hundred years later.

The Doctor: It's too late! Omega controls the Matrix!

Mawdryn Undead [20.3]

The Doctor: Well, there's a probability of anything. Statistically speaking, if you gave typewriters to a treeful of monkeys, they'd eventually produce the works of William Shakespeare.
Nyssa: [trying to draw the Doctor's attention away from his conversation with Tegan to the approaching craft on the viewscreen] Doctor...
The Doctor: Of course, you and I both know that at the end of a millennium they'd still be tapping out gibberish.
Tegan: And you'd be tapping it out right alongside them. I only asked you a simple question.

[Upon seeing Mawdryn's disfigured colleagues]
Tegan: Who are they?
The Doctor: Fools, who tried to become Time Lords.

Terminus [20.4]

The Doctor: If we don't do something quickly the whole universe will be destroyed!

The Doctor: The outside universe is breaking through!

The Black Guardian: (to Turlough): This is your last chance, boy... KILL THE DOCTOR!

Enlightenment [20.5]

Tegan: But what if the White Guardian tells me something important?
The Doctor: ...Thank him politely. [The Doctor smiles] Won't be long.

The Five Doctors [20.7]

First Doctor: One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. [title theme begins]

Third Doctor: I've reversed the polarity of the neutron flow so the Tardis should be free of the force field now.

Season 21

Warriors of the Deep [21.1]

The Doctor: I sometimes wonder why I like the people of this miserable planet so much.
  • The Fifth Doctor on humans

[On the violence that resulted in the deaths of Humans, Silurians, and Sea Devils.]
Turlough: They're all dead you know.
The Doctor: [looking around at the carnage] There should have been another way.

The Awakening [21.2]

Turlough: We're running out of places to run.
Tegan: That's the story of our lives

Sir George: You speak treason!
The Doctor: Fluently!

Frontios [21.3]

The Doctor: Oh, marvellous. You're going to kill me. What a finely tuned response to the situation.

The Doctor: A risk shared is a risk doubled.

Resurrection of the Daleks [21.4]

Davros: If I were you, I'd be dead.
The Doctor: I lack your practice, Davros.

Davros: Once the Doctor has been exterminated, I shall build a new race of Daleks.They shall be even more deadly! And I, Davros, shall be their leader! This time we shall triumph! The Daleks shall once more become the supreme beings!!!

Davros: The Daleks are dead. Long live the new Daleks! Oh! What is happening? No! No! It can not be! I AM NOT A DALEK! I CANNOT DIE! I.. AM.. DAVROS!!!

Planet of Fire [21.5]

Turlough: The worst place in the universe: English public school on Earth.

[The Master's last words before his apparent incineration]
The Master: Doctor, help me! I'll give you anything in creation! [The Doctor doesn't move] Would you show no mercy to your own-

The Caves of Androzani [21.6]

The Doctor: Androzani Major was becoming quite developed last time I passed this way.
Peri: When was that?
The Doctor: ...I don't remember. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the future.

Peri: Doctor, why do you wear a stick of celery in your lapel?
The Doctor: Does it offend you?
Peri: No, just curious.
The Doctor: Safety precaution. I'm allergic to certain gases in the praxis range of the spectrum.
Peri: Well, how does the celery help?
The Doctor: If the gas is present, the celery turns purple.
Peri: And then what do you do?
The Doctor: I eat the celery. If nothing else, I'm sure it's good for my teeth.

Other appearances

NOTE: The following quotation occurred in an episode after the Fifth Doctor's era had officially ended (in the era of the Tenth Doctor to be exact) and thus is not technically part of this Doctor's era. As the quote involves the Fifth Doctor, however, it is included here for the sake of completion.

Time Crash - (Children in Need Special 2007)

Fifth Doctor: That could blow a hole in the space-time continuum, the size of... well actually, the exact size of Belgium. That's a bit undramatic, isn't it? "Belgium"?


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