This year marks four decades since one of Doctor Who's most memorable pairings – Tegan (Janet Fielding) and the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) – debuted, with Big Finish putting out a special release, titled Forty 2, to celebrate the landmark.


Starring Davison and Fielding alongside Mark Strickson (Turlough) and Jon Culshaw (playing both Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Kamelion), this anniversary audio drama will see the Fifth Doctor and Tegan pitted against old foes the Autons.

It's been 40 years since Fielding first worked with Davison, having made her first appearance in Doctor Who a year earlier in Tom Baker's final outing, 1981's Logopolis.

"Tom was quite an intimidating figure, quite frankly!" she tells, chuckling. "I mean, I just sort of ended up keeping my head down and, you know, doing my work.

"It was, I think, a very emotional time for Tom, because he'd been doing the role for so long and was so associated with it. It must have been not an easy time for him."

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L-R: Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor), Mark Strickson (Turlough) and Janet Fielding (Tegan) in Doctor Who
Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor), Mark Strickson (Turlough) and Janet Fielding (Tegan) in Doctor Who. BBC

Baker's successor was a then 29-year-old Davison, best known at the time for his role as boyish vet Tristan Farnon in BBC One drama All Creatures Great and Small.

"I was the only person probably in the British Isles who had not seen All Creatures Great and Small," Fielding recalls. "I'd been out on tour and doing a lot of theatre, I was doing other things – but Peter was much more approachable as a person than Tom was."

Fielding and Davison's early working relationship led to a long – and playfully combative – friendship.

"We spend so much time taking the mickey out of each other, and being rude to each other. Genuinely, it’s like family – he's always trying to score points off me... and regrettably he often succeeds.

"David [Richardson], who produces the Doctor Who stories [at Big Finish] will tell you that he's had guest artists come in and say, 'Oh, Janet and Peter, they don't seem to really get on, do they?' and he says, 'No, no, they're like this all the time – when they're polite to each other, that's when you have to worry!'."

Doctor Who – Forty 2 (Big Finish)
Doctor Who: Forty 2 is out now from Big Finish. Big Finish

The pair's off-screen dynamic was mirrored on-screen by the Fifth Doctor and Tegan's own good-natured bickering.

"John [Nathan-Turner, Doctor Who producer] had said I was 'there for the dads' – but luckily, Tegan was cranky. I liked the idea that if I was there 'for the dads', I was going to be cranky about it," Fielding continues.

"I always described Tegan to people as Lucy in space – you know, Lucy and Charlie Brown in Peanuts. That was my take on her, because I'd always wanted to play Lucy and I never got to play her, so Tegan was the next best thing."

Tegan remained at the Fifth Doctor's side on his adventures across time and space until 1984's Resurrection of the Daleks, which saw her bid the TARDIS and her Time Lord friend a tearful farewell.

The character remains one of Doctor Who's most popular companions, with Fielding reprising the role first at Big Finish in 2006 and soon on television, with Tegan set to appear in the show's centenary special this October.

"People sort of warmed to her – they just like it because I think she's quite funny at times," says Fielding.

"I left acting [in the 1990s] and for a while I was an agent, and I can remember talking to one of my young clients who was so thrilled to meet Tegan. It suddenly truly hit me what a privileged place it is to be, to be part of somebody's childhood... you've formed part of their cultural heritage and that is a hugely privileged place to be.

"I’ve helped create a character – because it's not just me, it's the writers as well, and the directors and everybody – but I've helped create a character that is really held fondly by people and that's just a privilege. What a lucky thing, you know?"

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Doctor Who: Forty 2 is out now from Big Finish on CD and as a download. 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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