IT MAY be nearly a quarter of a century since Peter Davison handed in his Tardis key, but the man who brought the fifth incarnation of Dr Who to life is still more than happy to be associated with the role.
Peter has been a fixture on the nation's screens in one way or another since he first hit the big time as happy-go-lucky vet Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small.
Shows such as A Very Peculiar Practice, The Last Detective and Fear, Stress and Anger – and even a couple of episodes of Magnum PI – have kept him in the public eye, but it is still Dr Who that gets the fans excited.
And since the show's record-breaking return three years ago, Peter has seen a sharp upturn in his profile among young viewers.
"When the first series finished, the kids started to turn over to UK Gold and that's where they discovered me," he says. "They liked it because it was another young Doctor they had not seen before."
Peter may look a good deal younger than his 57 years, but he admits young fans used to be a little taken aback to meet him in the flesh.
However, since he returned to the role for a Children In Need special last year, the kids are all right. Time Crash saw the fifth Doctor appear alongside the tenth, played by David Tennant.
"Parents would say to their kids, 'Look, it's the fifth Doctor,' and the kids would look at me like, 'No it's not, you haven't got long blond hair,'" he says.
"But ever since the Children In Need thing, they know what I look like. They can relate to it more with me now."
Peter would love to don his cricket whites and return to the role of the fifth Doctor again, but thinks it is unlikely to happen.
But he will be settling down this Saturday to watch the latest episode of the new series.
The Doctor's Daughter, features a girl called Jenny who does, indeed, seem to be the Time Lord's off-spring.
And the iconoclastic character is played by none other than Peter's real-life daughter, actress Georgia Moffett.
"It is kind of surreal," admits Peter.
And he is quick to deny there is any element of nepotism involved:
"She got it off her own bat," he says. "I would love to get another part in Dr Who, I'm certainly not going to get her one first.
"She went up for another role originally about this time last year, but they said, 'If you can hang on, we've got a really good part coming up for you'."
Peter's visit to the North East may have been fleeting this time, but he is well acquainted with the region, having filmed ITV series Distant Shores in and around Craster.
Asked if the series is due to return, he reveals that a new run is sitting on the shelf.
"We filmed another series but it has never gone out," he says.
"I think it went out in Australia, but they have never put it out over here. I don't know what happened, whether they hated it.
"If they did, it was their own fault. They did this thing I hate – showed it to members of the public .
"Although I would love the public to love the series, I don't think they should be dictated to by a small sample. My view has always been, make the series you'd like to see.
"The reason I think the new Dr Who has done so well is that the producer is a writer – that does make a difference."
Doctors in the house
DR Who began on November 23, 1963 – the day after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
The First Doctor was played by movie and stage veteran William Hartnell and accompanied by his grand-daughter Susan.
The Daleks made their first appearance in only the series' second story and were an immediate phenomenon.
The First Doctor collapsed at the end of The Tenth Planet and underwent a complete physical change.
The new Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton, was said simply to have been "renewed".
The Third Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee, made his first appearance in the first episode of 1970's "Spearhead from Space."
The Master, conceived as Moriarty to the Doctor's Sherlock Holmes, made his debut the following year.
Pertwee left the role at the end of 1974's Planet of the Spiders and was succeeded by Fourth Doctor Tom Baker.
The Doctor's robotic pet K9 first appeared in The Invisible Enemy and there have now been four versions seen on screen.
Peter Davison became the youngest actor to portray the Doctor when he took over as the Time Lords's fifth incarnation in 1981. He was just 29.
Davison was succeeded in 1984 by Colin Baker, but Baker was sacked at the end of 1986 after the BBC decided three years was now the optimum time for any actor to spend in the role.
Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy took over the role in 1987 and played the part until the end of the show's original run in 1989.
The Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, starred in an American-made TV movie. McGann clocks up barely an hour as the Doctor, but the Eighth Doctor remained the "official" incarnation in comic strips and novels for nine years and McGann continues to play the role on audio.
Christopher Eccleston became the Ninth Doctor when the series made its triumphant return in 2005.
David Tennant appeared as the Tenth Doctor at the end of 2005, becoming the first self-confessed fan of the show to play the title role.