Peter Davison photo

Peter Davison

Birth name:
Peter Moffett
Date of Birth:
13 April 1951 Streatham, London, England, UK
6' 1" (1.85 m)
Peter Moffett, now better known by his stage name Peter Davison, was born on 13 April 1951 in the Streatham area of London. In 1961, he and his family - parents Sheila and Claude (an electrical engineer who hailed from British Guiana) and his sisters Barbara, Pamela and Shirley - moved to Woking in Surrey, where Davison was educated at the Maphill School. It was here that he first became interested in acting, taking parts in a number of school plays, and this eventually led to him joining an amateur dramatic society, the Byfleet Players. On leaving school at the age of sixteen, having achieved only modest academic success with three O Levels of undistinguished grades, he took a variety of short-lived jobs ranging from hospital porter to Hoffman press operator. He was still keen to pursue an acting career, however, and so applied for a place at drama school. He was accepted into the Central School of Speech and Drama and stayed there for three years. Davison's first professional acting work came in 1972 when, after leaving drama school in the July of that year, he secured a small role in a run of "Love's Labour's Lost" at the Nottingham Playhouse. This marked the start of a three-year period in which he worked in a variety of different repertory companies around the UK, often in Shakespearean roles. He then made his television debut, playing a blond-wigged space cowboy character called Elmer in "A Man for Emily", a three-part story in the Thames TV children's series "The Tomorrow People" (1973), transmitted in April 1975. Appearing alongside him in this production was his future wife, American-born actress Sandra Dickinson, whom he had first met during a run of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Edinburgh. They married on 26 December 1978 in Dickinson's home town of Rockville in Maryland, USA. Davison spent the following eighteen months working as a file clerk at Twickenham tax office. He also took the opportunity to pursue an interest in singing and song-writing, which led him to record several singles with his wife. He later provided the theme tunes for a number of TV series, including "Mixed Blessings" (1978) and "Button Moon" (1980). Davison played the romantic lead, Tom Holland in "Love for Lydia" (1977), a London Weekend Television (LWT) period drama serial transmitted in 1977. His greatest acting success came when he played Tristan in the BBC's "All Creatures Great and Small" (1978), based on the books of country vet James Herriot, a highly successful series, which ran initially for three seasons between 1978-1980. His success in "All Creatures Great and Small" brought him many other offers of TV work. Amongst those that he took up were lead roles in two sitcoms: LWT's "Holding the Fort" (1980), in which he played Russell Milburn, and the BBC's "Sink or Swim" (1980), in which he played Brian Webber. Three seasons of each were transmitted between 1980 and 1982, consolidating Davison's position as a well-known and popular television actor. He announced he was taking the lead role in "Doctor Who" (1963) on the BBC's lunchtime magazine programme "Pebble Mill at One", on 3 December 1980, when he discussed with the presenter a number of costume ideas sent in by viewers and was particularly impressed by a suggestion from one of a panel of young fans assembled in the studio that the new Doctor should be 'like Tristan Farnon, but with bravery and intellect'. His appearance in "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" (1981), was recorded on 19 December 1980 and transmitted on 2 February 1981, by which time the viewing public were well aware that he would soon be taking over the lead role in Doctor Who. There was in fact only a month to go before he would make his on-screen debut in the series - albeit a brief one, in the regeneration sequence at the end of "Logopolis". His first full story was in "Castrovalva", the first story of season nineteen transmitted on 4 January 1982. His final story was season twenty-one's story "The Caves of Androzani". The final episode of this story was transmitted on 16 March 1984. He became a father when on Christmas day 1984 his wife gave birth to a daughter, Georgia Elizabeth, at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London. Ten years later, however, his marriage to Dickinson broke down and they separated. Although he has taken occasional roles in theatre, radio and film, most of the actor's work has been in the medium for which he is best known: television. His credits have included regular stints as Henry Myers in "Anna of the Five Towns" (1985), as Dr. Stephen Daker in "A Very Peculiar Practice" (1986), as Albert Campion in "Campion" (1989) and as Clive Quigley in "Ain't Misbehavin" (1994) all for the BBC, and as Ralph in Yorkshire TV's "Fiddlers Three" (1991). In addition, he has reprised his popular role of Tristan Farnon on a number of occasions for one-off specials and revival seasons of "All Creatures Great and Small". He has also returned several times to the world of Doctor Who. In 1993 he appeared as the fifth Doctor in "Dimensions in Time", a brief two-part skit transmitted as part of the BBC's annual Children in Need Charity appeal, and in 1985 he narrated an abridged novelisation of the season twenty-one story "Warriors of the Deep" for BBC Worldwide's Doctor Who audio book series. In addition, he has appeared in a number of video dramas produced by Bill Baggs Video. In 2003 and 2004 he appeared as quiet and unassuming detective 'Dangerous' Davies in "The Last Detective" (2003), the Meridian TV adaptations of Leslie Thomas's novels.
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