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Is There Life Outside the Box: An Actor Despairs

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  201 ratings  ·  36 reviews
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. Despite displaying unspectacular scientific aptitude at school – he even managed to fail CSE woodwork, eliciting a lament from his astonished teacher ("All you ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 1st 2017 by John Blake (first published October 6th 2016)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always take a keen interest in any actor who has played The Doctor, so I was excited to read Davison’s autobiography.

The first show I ever watched in the West End was Spamalot as he appeared, so I really enjoyed that section.
I was surprised to learn that he was also in Black Beauty so that’s added to the ‘to watch pile’.
Of course there were some Doctor Who annotates aswell!

An interesting upbringing and I never knew he was a Crystal Palace fan (I’ll forgive him!), this was a highly enjoyable
Alex Sarll
If you’re a celebrity writing a memoir, especially if you’re a man of a certain age and a certain mid-level fame, the spectre of Alan Partridge will always loom. The wise man owns this, for by acknowledging you’re a bit Partridge, you at least ensure you don’t go full Partridge (and you should never go full Partridge). And Peter Davison, as much as he wouldn’t admit it in public, is a wise man. So he’s quite upfront about stuff like being an actor who’s only done two feature films (and one of ...more
Sean Chick
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Davison's career is unusual. He admits to not being particularly ambitious, but his wit, affability, and talent landed him a series of high-profile television roles, most notably All Creatures Great and Small and Doctor Who. Furthermore, he had a much better post-Doctor Who career than most, landing starring roles in well received shows such as A Very Peculiar Practice and Campion, which is where I first saw him. The chapter on Doctor Who is far less than fans might crave. It is filled mostly ...more
John Peel
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Celebrity autobiographies are a mixed bag - some good, some ruined by the writer's ego. Thankfully, this is definitely one of the former! Peter Davison tells the story of his life with a delightful, whimsical wit, drily punctuating any possible pomposity with well-timed quips. There are stories, of course, about the people he's worked with (and, sometimes, against) and tales of dreams not achieved. But it's all told in a delightful manner, and you really do get a feeling of who he is under the ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is so much more that I didn't know about Peter Davison than I thought there was to know about Peter Davison. I'm very grateful (and this is coming from a fan of Doctor Who) that there wasn't a lot about Davison's time with the series, Doctor Who. The man had led a fascinatingly mundane life, and that's what makes his autobiography that much more interesting.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
First off, this book is full of hilarious anecdotes. Even better, the voice sounds so distinctly like Peter Davison's as given in interviews and voiceovers, that one does not have to worry that this book was written by a ghost writer. Davison's voice just leaps off the page and takes on a character all its own. I felt like I could curl up somewhere and let him tell me a story.

Also, the title is a reference to two great things: David Bowie's "Life on Mars" (which is one of my top 5 songs of all
Tim Rideout
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'There were moments where I was supposed to be myself and yet as I looked at this soft-spoken, charming Englishman, I didn't recognise him at all.'

I have always admired Peter Davison's tendency to self-deprecate, a quality that ensures that his many television appearances are so watchable (Stephen Daker in 'A Very Peculiar Practice' most notably comes to mind).

This quality pervades 'Peter Davison: Is There Life Outside The Box', a candid and witty account of Davison's long and successful
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I continue to read actor's autobiographies. Most of them have come from fairly uninteresting, affluent, middle class backgrounds and their books largely consist of dull recounts of various plays and films they've starred in, listing other actors they've played against. I don't think I've ever been thrilled by any of them.

Truth is of course, I'm a fully paid up Doctor Who geek, zip pulled right up to the top of my anorak. So after seeing a glut of promising reviews, the chance to
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Peter Davison fans
Peter Davison appears to be that little boy standing in the corner, wondering what all the fuss is about. It doesn't occur to him that the fuss is all about him. Not a bit of it. I found his book totally engaging, interesting and a little twisted... In a good way. Having watched Peter on things since I was six years old, having met him a couple of times and having read and listened to interviews over the years, I thought I had a pretty good idea what the man was like. He has always had that ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I met Peter Davison and his wife Elizabeth Morton at Loncon in 2014, and was just a bit starstruck. This was at the pre-Hugo reception, where he was attending in case The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot won (I had voted for it, mainly because it is very enjoyable but partly because I am briefly visible in it at about 08:03, but it didn't win). I chatted to them for a few minutes, and then Elizabeth's phone rang; it was David and Georgia, who had been dropped
I like Peter Davison. He's one of those actors I've always liked, since before I really knew who he was, although my fandom wasn't cemented until university when I got into The Last Detective, and consequently, needing a Peter-Davison-playing-a-detective fix, Campion, who is now one of my favourite fictional characters. Anyway, Davison's autobiography perfectly encapsulates his gentle charm and self-deprecating and acerbic wit. There are a few moments of repetition, but I feel like I should let ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-who, history
Vaguely unsatisfying read, not sure if it's because the book is meandering fluff, Davison's life/career is only mildly interesting or if I find Peter mildly annoying.

As with most readers, I first encountered him through Doctor Who and liked his performance enough to check out some of his other work.
He has a decent writing style, has the feel that he's telling you these stories and a nice, dry sense of humor, but the self-depreciating bit feels like fake modesty or he really has no clue what he's
Juliet Mike
Fairly good read. Davison's 'voice' is funny- dry and self-deprecating. Would have preferred more about his non-professional/ domestic life, plus more reflection, more analysis.

I can look up facts about him ( if I wanted to...) what programmes he's been in; which actors/ directors he's worked with. You want something else from a biography. I enjoyed hearing his parents' story very much and
when he anchors his life in the 'real world' i.e. when he mentions events such as the great storm of 1987.

For a celebrity autobiography this is refreshing. Of course I read it because I am a Doctor Who fan but actually there is only a small section devoted to that show - Peter has had a varied career in which he has starred on stage and (small) screen, but despite that he comes across as a very normal person, in touch with reality and a better person for it. And actually I had no idea that he had done quite that much stuff.
He doesn’t take things too seriously, admits that his life just sort of
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Obviously I picked this book up because I'm a Doctor Who fan, and Peter Davison knows that that's the reason many people will pick this up, but he's not tailored to us fans and it's very much an interesting account of a well-respected actor's life, so even non-fans will enjoy this.

As with an actor's autobiography it's full of "...and then I did this play, with these people, and it was great/awful, etc" - what matters is the style of writing and Davison has a dry and self-deprecating wit, and
Carol D
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished listening to the audio version of the book (I also have the kindle ebook version) and it was lovely to listen to. Full of warmth and humorous reflection. It's become one of my favorite autobiographies right along with George Takei's books.

He's such an Earnest writer that I really would love to see him write more. I'm actually going to go back to read my ebook kindle version because it's worth re-reading.
Derelict Space Sheep

Peter Davison is self-deprecating to a fault in this frank, entertaining, career-spanning autobiography, taking responsibility for his failings but not his successes (which are put down to good fortune and the one acting ability Davison is prepared to acknowledge: hitting his mark).
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
This was ok. As a North American, it was interesting to read about all the TV series he did in the UK that I've never heard before. The book is poorly edited, many missing words.
Ben Twoonezero
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book about a good actor, but a slightly flawed human being. He does come across as slightly selfish.
Nick Wilson
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining and well written book, really enjoyed reading it
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steady paced, not very revealing. Safe biography.
Gordon Watson
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very witty,entertaining book. And not just for Doctor Who fans.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting, easy-reading biography from an amiable actor.
really interesting read. an amazing career and family life ,. love the pride peter has for his children and son-in-law David.
Must Read: 1
Well- written: 3
Accessible: 5
Important: 3
Kept attention: 3
Katie Read
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book from start to finish but then I am a bit biased having had the pleasure of working with this wonderful man back in the 80s.
M Christopher
Davison has a way with a tale and isn't afraid to call himself out on his shortcomings. But the book is dreadfully edited. It's often not clear exactly who among his extensive family and friends an anecdote concerns. One could wish for more on his years as the Doctor as well as more stories from his more recent successes but it's a good look at the man.
Ben Reed
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it quite a bit. He would hate me though...I own and wear (from time to time) a fourth doctor scarf.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant autobiography, hilarious, and provides a really great insight into Davison's life.
Having enjoyed the Fivish Doctors and seen Peter Davison at a convention, and most importantly knowing he was in a tv show with Beatrix I borrowed a copy of this from the library. It was highly entertaining. Peter kept the whole thing flowing with little anecdotes from when he appeared in Gypsey (most of which involved Imelda Staunton swearing a lot). It was funny, self deprecating, information and had a wonderful description of being on pills! One I'd recommend to tv fans and doctor who fans.
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Peter Davison (born Peter Moffett) is an English actor, best known for his roles as Tristan Farnon in the television version of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small and the fifth incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who.