Forty years ago, Doctor Who marked two decades on our screens with anniversary special The Five Doctors.


The feature-length episode remains popular with fans, though star Peter Davison has now revealed one thing about the story he'd like to change.

Speaking at a BFI Southbank event to mark the release of the Doctor Who – The Collection season 20 Blu-ray set, Davison explained that he wishes he'd shared more time on-screen with his fellow Doctors: Patrick Troughton (reprising the Second Doctor), Jon Pertwee (back as the Third Doctor) and Richard Hurndall (replacing the late William Hartnell as the First Doctor).

"I've always felt it was a bit of a shame that we weren't together more of the time," Davison said.

According to the Fifth Doctor actor, it was a deliberate decision to have the Doctors spend much of the episode apart, only coming together for the dramatic conclusion, with series producer John Nathan-Turner allegedly fearing a clash of egos.

"We were kept apart and John said to me that was because he thought there would be too many egos on set.

"He sensed there could be a bit of rivalry that might turn unpleasant – it never did, I have to say! We all got on very well."

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Besides Hartnell (who had passed away eight years prior to The Five Doctors' broadcast in 1983), the other Doctor actor not to film any new material for the story was Tom Baker – having declined to return to the show, his Fourth Doctor was instead represented by way of archive footage.

"I can't remember when we found out that Tom didn't want to be involved in it," said Davison.

"There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, he was a bit teasing about whether he would be in it... and then he decided not to be, I think because he just felt he'd done it for seven years and he just wanted to steer clear of it.

"I understood that, but it was a shame."

Nevertheless, Davison was able to share the screen with Troughton, the actor he'd watched play the Doctor when he was growing up.

"He was a great actor, one I'd admired for many years, not just in Doctor Who – so, yeah, that was a great thrill."

The Five Doctors sees the First, Second, Third and Fifth Doctors trapped on Gallifrey's Death Zone by an unseen entity, joined by classic companion and familiar foes, while the Fourth Doctor ends up stuck in a time vortex.

The Doctor Who – The Collection season 20 Blu-ray set will feature a new 40th anniversary edition of the special, with updated special effects and a new sound mix.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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