Doctor Who’s Louise Jameson reflects on turning down a return opposite Peter Davison: “We would’ve had such a good laugh”

The actress, who played Leela from 1977 to 1978, was asked to return as a companion for the Fifth Doctor.

Leela (Louise Jameson) and the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) in Doctor Who

Louise Jameson has revealed she has no regrets about turning down a return to Doctor Who in the early 1980s – though she suspects she and Peter Davison would’ve had “a good laugh”.

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Jameson played Leela, companion to the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), from 1977 to 1978, later going on to star in the BBC’s prison drama Tenko from 1981 to 1982.

“I’d love to have done longer [on Doctor Who],” she told RadioTimes.com while promoting Big Finish audio drama Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 04: The God of Phantoms.

Related: Tom Baker: ‘I got Doctor Who right out of the blue – and I didn’t know what to do with it

“However, if I had chosen to do that, I would never have done Tenko, which is still a standout job for me and one of my favourites of all time, and I wouldn’t have missed that for anything. So with hindsight, I think I made the right decision. Although at the time, it was quite a difficult one.”

In 1980, as Tom Baker prepared to leave Doctor Who, then-producer John Nathan-Turner reached out to Jameson to discuss her returning to the series for Baker’s swansong and the show’s following 19th season, which would ultimately star Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor.

Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor (BBC, HF)

“We didn’t know [the next Doctor] was Peter at the time – he [Nathan-Turner] wanted to get the companion in place before the Doctor unusually,” Jameson explained. “But I only wanted to do the two stories – Tom leaving and a new one arriving – and he wanted an entire season.

“I thought, ‘I’ve kind of kind of moved on now’ – I think to have gone back for a whole season wouldn’t have been a wise move.”

Davison and Jameson would later play opposite each other as a married couple in the 1995 TV series Molly. “I worked with Peter since – I played his wife. And we had a ball, we just had the best time! So then at that point, I thought, ‘Oh, we’d have had such a good laugh on Doctor Who, had I decided to stay’, but as I say, [at the time] he hadn’t even been cast.”

Read more: Philip Hinchcliffe: ‘I was pushing the envelope on Doctor Who, but not irresponsibly’

Doctor Who: Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 04: The God of Phantoms is available now from bigfinish.com.

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