Peter Davison: Doctor Who made me a gay icon

The fifth Doctor suggests the Time Lord's "outsider" status appealed to gay people at a time when being openly homosexual was more of a struggle


Fifth Doctor Peter Davison believes playing the Time Lord drew him a gay following during the early 1980s.


“I’m not sure if I wasn’t a gay icon, actually,” said Davison when asked whether Doctor Who had made him a sex symbol.

“When I first did Doctor Who I used to sit there in the make-up chair and I would not really be thinking, I’d be too busy learning the words for the scene, and then I would notice that I had blusher on and lipstick and things like that.”

But Davison doesn’t put the Doctor’s gay fanbase down to simply a bit of make-up, instead suggesting that the Time Lord’s position as an outsider may have appealed to gay men at a time when being openly homosexual was far more difficult than it is today.

“Doctor Who does have – and all power to it – quite a big gay following,” said Davison. “I don’t know if that’s because he’s a bit of an outsider I don’t know what that particular appeal is, but in terms of the fans that you meet along the way, as well as the straight ones there’s a gay fandom, so that’s fun.

“In those days it was more difficult to be in that situation and I think the Doctor was something [gay people] could latch on to, as a slightly odd and out of place and not-quite-accepted character, and that had great appeal for them.”

Davison played the Doctor for four years between 1981 and 1984. He recently hinted that he is to be involved in some part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebrations, saying “I’m making an appearance somewhere over that period of time but I can’t reveal in what.”