Davison had followed the show in his youth, and was basing his performance on none other than William Hartnell. There was a touch of the irascibility of the old man mixed with the vulnerability of Patrick Troughton. The effect was very much that of an old man trapped in a young man’s body, which led to a tension in Davison’s performance that, in my opinion, made him into a compelling Doctor. ... Sometimes the Doctor is a powerful alien like Tom Baker, immune to the frights of the universe that would make us cower. Sometimes, the universe is just so big, and the Doctor is just so lonely. Davison established those tenets of the character.
The essay also includes a guide to some of the best Davison episodes. James's review of "Castrovalva" made me laugh out loud, but it was his review of "Earthshock" that made me punch the air:
Peter Davison’s Doctor was ideally suited to these shoot-em-ups, since he gives every appearance of being out of his depth. He eschews violence, but has no choice but to pick up a gun. He shoots straight, but doesn’t look happy while doing it. Too many villains mistake his distaste for timidity and ultimately pay the price.
Which is exactly what I've been saying for years to all the people who insist that the Fifth Doctor is bland, vanilla, ineffectual, etc. To me, Five's love-hate relationship with violence is one of the most interesting things about his character -- a quality that the Tenth Doctor could stand to duplicate. (As it is, Ten's refusal to use a gun has very little meaning when he's so good at finding other ways to kill people.)
Yes, there are an unfortunate number of weak scripts in the Davison era, and the stories suffer from Too Many Companions at times. But when the Fifth Doctor gets to shine, he really shines -- and he can also break your heart.
Ah, never mind me, just go read the whole essay.
What if real life was like a musical? These people are about to find out:
Thanks to pubrants for the link.
And finally, my ever-fabulous fellow 2009 author anywherebeyond has not only created some more cover art for Knife, she's made bonus fanart as well! Check it out, and while you're there, have a look at the other covers she did for the 2009 Debs as well. I especially love her designs for Deva Fagan's Fortune's Folly and L.K. Madigan's Flash Burnout.