NZ Festival 2014
Dust off your cricket whites. The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular will be hosted by fifth Doctor Peter Davison.
Davison, who played the Doctor between 1981 and 1984 in flannels, will host two Wellington shows in February based on the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Proms at London's Royal Albert Hall.
He will share the stage with fourth Doctor Tom Baker (1974-1981) who will appear on screen in an especially filmed segment.
It will be the first time a Doctor from the classic era of the series, which ceased production in 1989, has hosted such an event. Previous such events have been hosted by recent Doctor Who companions, such as Freema Agyeman, who played Martha Jones, and Karen Gillan, who played Amy Pond, with appearances from the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, and 11th Doctor. Matt Smith.
Davison, who by some strange twist of the time vortex is now Tennant's father-in-law, made a surprise appearance in July at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Proms.
"I think they probably thought it went quite well," Davison said of his being picked to host the New Zealand event.
"I auditioned well so they gave me a large part. My career's on the up," he joked.
"It's a voyage of discovery for me, really, because I have not really done something like this before but I am veryexcited about it because I think it's just a brilliant way of bringing orchestral music to people who maybe wouldn't usually go to a concert like that."
The February 21 and 22 concerts, at the TSB Bank Arena, will feature live music from Doctor Who's 50 years performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra accompanied by clips from the show and the appearance of some of the Doctor's iconic foes such as the Daleks and the Cybermen.
"What really struck me when I went front of house at the Royal Albert Hall was how spectacular it is ... How fantastic it is to hear a live orchestra playing ... it's almost like having the best sound system in the world in your front room."
Davison, who will host two similar events in Australia before he lands in New Zealand, said there was little chance he would be accompanied by his daughter, Georgia Moffet, who played the Doctor's daughter in the David Tennant era episode of the same name, or his son-in-law would accompany him.
"David is busy filming and Georgia is busy looking after the family," he said.
The Doctor's space/time machine the TARDIS undergoes radical redesigns with each regeneration of the Doctor as does his sonic screwdriver tool.
Do Davison and Tennant ever compare theirs?
"I did have a sonic screwdriver but it was blown up very early on in my time as the Doctor because the producer at the time thought the sonic screwdriver solved too many problems.
"I had mine blown up by, I think, a Terileptil, if I'm right,"' Davison remembers.
"People ask do we sit around the lunch table and discuss Doctor Who. We don't really, although we discuss lots of things that surround Doctor Who. You know, how it affects one's life."
Tennant took the role with incumbent Matt Smith for last month's 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, while Davison wrote and produced his own farcical 50th anniversary story called The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.
In the 30-minute online special five(ish) of the actors who have played the Doctor in the classic era campaign for a part in the Tenant/Smith special. It's long guest list is an impressive homage to the show.
"At first it was going to be a very small affair, with hopefully the same people in it, with just me filming it on my video camera but I knew I needed to film at the Doctor Who studios so I sent them a script to get clearance to do that and they said 'well, we like this and we'd like to give you a small camera crew to help you film it'," Davison said.
"They were very good about it. [Current Doctor Who show runner] Steven [Moffat] threw himself into it and I thought was very good at it. He did, at one point in the middle of filming, stop and go 'hang on a minute, I'm the villain in this piece,' and I said, 'have you just worked that out?"'
The farce includes an appearance by The Hobbit director Sir Peter Jackson on the hunt for Radagast the Wizard actor Sylvester McCoy who played the 7th Doctor.
"I just sent him [McCoy] an email and asked him if he wouldn't mind doing it ... I got this email back from Peter Jackson ... It was fantastic of them to do it, it really was, because he was still in the thick of everything. He said 'we start filming the next block tomorrow, but I'll try and do it on the first day' and he did."
Asked what he thought of Jackson's offer to the Waikato Times to direct an episode of Doctor Who, after Smith suggested it, Davison said:
"They would be fools if they didn't take him up on it, wouldn't they, really? I mean it would be amazing. Yeah, I think it would be a terrific idea. He might come down to Earth with a bump, after the epics ... Doctor Who is still fairly small scale compared to a $500 million picture.
"When I first visited the set when David was still Doctor ... it was made in exactly the same seat of your pants way and everyone was rushing around like lunatics. They may well be the same on The Hobbit ... but there's a certain kind of chaos that was a part of making Doctor Who and that was still there."
Davison, who last appeared as the Doctor on screen in 2007 in the Children In Need Special Time Crash alongside Tennant, said he'd love to don the cricket whites again.
"That was nice to connect the classic series with the modern series. The script that Steven [Moffat] wrote worked on two levels. It was about the 10th Doctor remembering the 5th and David Tennant remembering sitting in front of the TV."
His tenure on the show was, he admits, sometimes frustrating .
"In those days it wasn't a prestige BBC show the way it is now, our budgets were really, really tight and it was in the days when the technicians would turn off the lights, and turn off the videotape machines, at 10 o' clock on the dot. If you weren't finished the shot you had to come back two weeks later and finish it."
Davison said the show, now, had passion behind it.
"Both with Russell T Davies [who bought it back in 2005] and Steven Moffat, because you couldn't find two bigger fans of Doctor Who than those two. It came back certainly with a passion and a desire to do it. They had grown up watching it and here they were with ideas whizzing around their head as part of the programme putting it into action."
- © Fairfax NZ News