Peter Davison (born Peter Moffett 13 April 1951) is an English actor, best known for his roles as Tristan Farnon in the television version of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small and the fifth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, which he played from 1981 to 1984.
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. His first television work was in a 1975 episode of the children's science fiction television programme The Tomorrow People, alongside American actress Sandra Dickinson whom he married in 1978. The couple composed and performed the theme tune to Button Moon, a children's programme broadcast in the 1980s. Davison subsequently appeared alongside Dickinson as the Dish of the Day in the television version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981), whose producers considered it humorous for an actor known for playing a veterinary surgeon to appear as a cow. The two divorced in 1994.
In 1978, Davison's performance as the ne'er-do-well Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small made him a household name. Davison has said that he was mainly cast in the role because he looked as if he could be Robert Hardy's younger brother.
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 David Tennant.
Davison has appeared in several radio series including Change at Oglethorpe in 1995 and Minor Adjustment in 1996. In 1985 he appeared in the BBC Radio 4 comedy drama series King Street Junior, as teacher Eric Brown, but he left after only two series and was replaced by Karl Howman (as Philip Sims). In the 2000s, he starred in the comedy series Rigor Mortis.
In 1999 he appeared as the outgoing headteacher in the television series Hope and Glory. He has also starred in the television series The Last Detective (2003–) and Distant Shores (2005) for ITV, in the latter of which he also played a doctor. In 2006 he appeared as Professor George Huntley in The Complete Guide to Parenting. He has also appeared on the TV series Hardware as himself.
Davison also worked on the stage. In 1991 he appeared in Arsenic and Old Lace at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Further theatre appearances 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, the play on which the movie by Alfred Hitchcock was based. He also appeared as Amos Hart in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre in 1999, and as Dr Jean-Pierre Moulineaux, in Under the Doctor at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley and later at the Comedy Theatre, London in 2001.
Beginning in 2003, Davison has starred as Dangerous Davies in The Last Detective for ITV. In early 2007, Davison appeared in a BBC comedy Fear, Stress and Anger, which also starred his daughter Georgia Moffett. Davison plays one-half of an overworked couple with two irresponsible daughters and mother-in-law at home.
Prior to her casting in Fear, Stress and Anger, Davison's daughter Georgia auditioned for the role of Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, and she recently played the role of the Tenth Doctor's daughter in the "Doctor Who" episode The Doctor's Daughter. Georgia Moffett is Davison's daughter by his marriage to Sandra Dickinson; he has two other children, sons Louis and Joel, with his present wife, Elizabeth Morton.
He also appeared in the popular television show Al Murray's Happy Hour in March 2008.
It was recently announced that Davison would be appearing in the next series of Midsomer Murders, due to be broadcast in late 2008/early 2009.