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Doctor Who's Peter Davison reunites with old friends in Fifth Doctor special from Big Finish

Two of Davison's former co-stars are among the guest cast for a celebratory adventure.

Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor in Doctor Who, poses outside the TARDIS
Published: Friday, 3rd December 2021 at 12:00 pm

January 2022 will mark 40 years since the Fifth Doctor's era began on Doctor Who and, to mark the occasion, Big Finish are reuniting actor Peter Davison with two former colleagues – though not from his days on the BBC sci-fi series.

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Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Adventures - Forty will celebrate four decades of Davison's Doctor and will feature Christopher Timothy and Barbara Flynn among its guest cast, RadioTimes.com can exclusively reveal.

Davison and Timothy both appeared in BBC One's All Creatures Great and Small – playing Tristan Farnon and James Herriot respectively – between 1978 and 1990, while Flynn appeared opposite Davison in BBC Two's A Very Peculiar Practice between 1986 and 1992 and in ITV sitcom Pat & Cabbage in 2013.

"Forty years of the Fifth Doctor is a big deal - Peter is the actor who changed the direction of the show forever, showing viewers for the first time that the Doctor could be portrayed as the wisdom of centuries within the body of a young man," said producer David Richardson. "I love the whole Fifth Doctor era, so this was a party I was very keen to throw - and it seemed very fitting that the guest stars should be memorable figures from Peter’s career outside of Doctor Who, from other major TV series in which he has starred."

Peter Davison, Christopher Timothy, Carol Drinkwater and Robert Hardy, photographed for Radio Times in connection with the television series 'All Creatures Great and Small', circa 1985

Peter Davison, Christopher Timothy, Carol Drinkwater and Robert Hardy, photographed for Radio Times in connection with the television series 'All Creatures Great and Small', circa 1985

Davison himself added: "I did ask if we could get some good names in the stories, and I was looking at some of the other Doctors doing their stories and they had very impressive cast lists. I wanted to get up there! Had I known Chris wanted to be in it, of course I would have suggested his name!

"All Creatures Great and Small was my big break. We had a meeting at Television Centre in London, and I knew of everyone else in the programme apart from Carol Drinkwater. We all met and I was terribly, terribly nervous, and I was introduced by the producer to Chris, who immediately said, 'Too tall, recast!'

"I didn't think he was serious, and it was obviously a joke, but then I thought, what if the producer thinks he's serious and goes, 'Oh, he is too tall? We'd better recast!'?" I really thought [producer] Bill Sellars, being terribly serious, with this was the first meeting of all the cast, would take it seriously."

Doctor Who: Forty

"It was my big break too! It was meant to create a unity between myself and this young actor I'd just met!" said Timothy.

"All through Doctor Who's life, when it was on, particularly when Peter was playing the Doctor, I was asking myself, why haven't they asked me to be in it, and to this day, I still don't understand!"

Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Adventures - Forty will finally right that wrong, with Timothy appearing in The Secrets of Telos as Professor Parry – a role originally played by the late Aubrey Richards in 1967 television story The Tomb of the Cybermen.

Barbara Flynn, David Troughton, Graham Crowden and Peter Davison – cast of A Very Peculiar Practice

Barbara Flynn, David Troughton, Graham Crowden and Peter Davison – cast of A Very Peculiar Practice

Flynn – who also recently appeared in Doctor Who: Flux on television as Tecteun – will play Professor Vansom in the new audio drama. "I spent my entire time being intimidated by Barbara on In A Very Peculiar Practice!" revealed Davison. "But I always loved it when people came up to me and said they enjoyed A Very Peculiar Practice - it was always slightly left-field.

"People would usually say I watched you in Doctor Who or All Creatures, so Peculiar Practice was a particular taste. Anyone who went to university at that time thinks it was based on their university. It was one of those things where you get a script and you don't want to change a line."

"In A Very Peculiar Practice, I was the more assured personality, and in Pat and Cabbage, the situations were reversed - Peter was the more assured personality and I was the dithering idiot!" said Flynn. "It's always great to work with Peter. It's been a delight working on Doctor Who, it's such a phenomenon."

Alongside Davison's former cast-mates, ex-EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite will also appear in the special celebratory adventure as a character named Morton.

Read more about Doctor Who:

Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Adventures - Forty is out in January 2022 and is available to pre-order now as a CD or digital download from Big Finish.

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