Doctor Who – towards the Anniversary – the Fifth Doctor

Doctor Who - Castrovalva
Doctor Who – Castrovalva

On November 23, 2013 there will be the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who”. To celebrate this important moment let’s go over the Doctor’s history again. This article remembers the Fifth Doctor.

Played by Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor is a significant change from the Fourth Doctor. The regeneration, with all its consequences, had become one of the foundations of “Doctor Who” but in this case the transformation was profound even by the standards of the character.

After two incarnations who had a strong personality and quite impressive from the physical point of view too, the Fifth Doctor has the appearance of a boy and is much more vulnerable than his predecessors. Not surprisingly, after regenerating he struggles to recover and needs the help of his companions.

The continuity with the Fourth Doctor era is given by his companions: after the first few “Doctor Who” seasons, the tendency had been to have only one or two of them at a time. Instead, after Adric, suddenly Nyssa and had arrived in a Tardis that was crowded again after several years.

In the previous cases where there were three companions, the only problem for the Doctor was to drive the Tardis. The Fifth Doctor also struggles to lead his companions and that starts a semi- anarchic situation, also because for some time Tegan just wants to go home getting angry when the Doctor cant’t drive the Tardis to the right place and time. Needless to say, Tegan later changes her mind and the Doctor’s joy is contained when she keeps on traveling with him.

In those years, the stories tone becomes darker in adventures sometimes really violent when there are many deaths. In these situations, the Fifth Doctor always seeks peaceful solutions but unlike his predecessors often fails to control events. The climax is reached in “Earthshock” with the death of Adric, the first death of a companion since the First Doctor era.

In all these stories the Fifth Doctor shows his sensitivity, for better or for worse. His indecision has consequences but despite his weaknesses he’s ready to sacrifice himself to save someone. In those cases, he still shows the moral strength of his predecessors, he simply expresses it differently.

The Fifth Doctor era is centered around the twentieth “Doctor Who” season and for this reason is in many ways a celebration of the show with the return of many old foes. Some of them are responsible for the introduction of new companions: Turlough is originally sent by the Black Guardian of Time to kill the Doctor and ends up becoming his friend, the robot Kamelion had been used by the Master for its ability to assume the appearance of anyone.

At the end of his era, the Fifth Doctor meets Peri, who starts traveling with him by mistake after being saved by Turlough. It’s significant that the Doctor regenerates because both of them are exposed to a deadly toxin and he decides to use the only dose of antidote to save Peri.


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