Moving onwards to Day 5 of my Doctor Who recap leads us to the Fifth Doctor. At 29, Peter Davison was the youngest actor to portray the Doctor in the classic series and the second-youngest Doctor in the entire series (26-year-old Matt Smith was the youngest). Following the immensely popular Tom Baker was a daunting task, and many felt that Davison was far too young to do a good job, yet his combination of winning charm and a spine of steel proved that he was more than up to the task.
It’s ironic, then, that my favorite Fifth Doctor episode is also his last–“The Caves of Androzani”. But what makes it so memorable is that it highlights everything that was so special about his Doctor–his unshakable courage, inventive resourcefulness, and undying loyalty are elevated to new levels. There’s something especially moving about how he sacrifices his life for Peri’s without a second thought even though you know he’ll just regenerate (although he thinks for a moment that he might not this time). This isn’t just a great Fifth Doctor story; it’s also the best regeneration story.