As the cold evening draw in, it's great to wrap up warm in a Fifth Doctor Sweater and read a good book. And we can think of nothing better than Is There Life Outside The Box?: An Actor Despairs, the autobiography of Peter Davison.
Davison became a household name in All Creatures Great and Small, and was soon chosen to fill the considerable shoes of departing Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker in Doctor Who. He debuted as the Time Lord in 1982's Castrovalva, and across three seasons, faced Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians and Sea Devils, Omega, the Mara, and plenty more besides!
He was the incumbent Doctor for the show's 20th anniversary, but left the following year in The Caves of Androzani, a four-part serial written by Robert Holmes which frequently tops lists of fan favourite stories.
Peter then returned to the role in 2009 for the charity short, Time Crash, in which he appeared opposite the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. As part of Doctor Who's 50th anniversary, Davison also wrote the comedy special, The Five(Ish) Doctors Reboot, starring himself alongside numerous celebrities including Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann.
His autobiography has been a long time coming, and is full of his characteristic self-deprecating wit. Its subtitle, An Actor Despairs, is a riff on An Actor Prepares, an inspirational book often used by studying actors to help master their craft. Here's the synopsis for Is There Life Outside The Box?, out now:
His fans have spoken, but despite their requests, Peter Davison has gone ahead and written his autobiography anyway. It wasn't the book they tried to stop; it was more like the book they didn't want him to start. An aspiring singer-songwriter, once dubbed Woking's answer to Bob Dylan (by his mum, who once heard a Bob Dylan song).
From colonial roots - his dad was Guyanese and his mother was born in India - the family settled in Surrey where Peter's academic achievements were so unspectacular, he even managed to fail CSE woodwork, eliciting a lament from his astonished teacher ("All you have to do is recognise wood!").
Despite this, Peter has secured his place in science fiction history, becoming the fifth Doctor Who, despite nearly turning down the role. The Time Lord connection continued with the marriage of his daughter Georgia to Dr Who number ten, David Tennant.
The artist formerly known as Peter Malcolm Gordon Moffett has starred in a number of television series including Love for Lydia, A Very Peculiar Practice, At Home with the Braithwaites, and The Last Detective, and became a national treasure for having his arm up a cow in his role as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small. He was also in a Michael Winner movie...
He made his first stage appearance with an amateur dramatic company, but The Byfleet Players' loss is now the West End's gain as he now has a number of musicals to his name, including Legally Blonde, Chicago, and Spamalot. Most recently, he starred in the box office record-breaking Gypsy where he rubbed shoulders backstage with Dames Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith, and Judi Dench, all asking him for directions to Imelda Staunton's dressing room.
One thing is for sure: of all the British screen and stage actors of the last fifty years, Peter Davison is certainly one of them and, within these pages, intrepid readers will at last have the dubious honour of sharing in his life and times as he despairs over whether there truly ever can be life outside the box.