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Camcorder thief foiled by return of Dr Who

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2001-08-09 Times.jpg


TO SOMEONE who has defeated the Daleks, tangled with Yetis, regenerated several times and travelled the galaxy in a police box, catching a suspected thief on Earth was child's play.

Dr Who, in the form of the actor Peter Davison, made short work of his encounter with one of the perils of early 21st-century urban life. The Time Lord chased and arrested a youth who had broken into his car and stolen a video camera containing film of his newborn son.

Davison, 50, who last played the Doctor in 1986, had just returned to his home in Belsize Park, northwest London, after his partner, the actress Elizabeth Morton, had given birth. Davison looked through the window when he heard his car alarm go off. He ran out, chased the suspect on foot, by car, then on foot again for up to a mile before making a citizen's arrest, eschewing his Sonic Screwdriver for the basic but effective tactic of sitting on the suspect.

The camcorder contained footage of his wife and their as yet unnamed 8lb 15oz son, shortly after his birth on Tues-day. Davison, who also starred as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, said: "At the end of it all I was knackered. I don't have a fitness regime, but I was really pumped up and wasn't going to let him get away with it."

Colin Lai, 28, an electrical engineer who witnessed the incident, said: "Everyone came out to see what was going on. It's not every day you see Dr Who wrestling in your street. I guess the kid picked the wrong person's car to break into."

The actor had returned home with some takeaway pizzas after spending the day at the Royal Free Hospital with his wife and son.

He said: "I ran out and someone said 'He went thataway'. I ran down the road and saw in the distance this guy 200 yards ahead in a red T-shirt. I realised I couldn't catch him up on foot, ran back, got into my car and tried to head him off."

The plan worked and Davison caught up with the youth, who recognised him and ran off again. A chase on foot led to the actor cornering him when the youth made the mistake of running into Belsize Mews, a dead end.

"I said the immortal line, 'Did you smash my car window?' He said 'Get away, I've got a knife' and drew something out of his jacket. I then realised I wasn't bleeding to death and tackled him. It was scary for a moment.

"I half got him on the ground and some other member of the public nipped his feet from under him. We got him on the ground and pinned him down. I basically sat on him for about ten minutes until the police arrived."

Davison did not realise until then that the camcorder had been stolen from the back seat of his new Chrysler. "He said he'd give me the video camera back. It had been under his jacket. It was then I realised the pictures from the hospital were on it. Unfortunately, it got rather squashed but I think the tape is usable."

Police said that a 15-year-old boy had been charged with stealing from a motor vehicle. He will appear before Thames Youth Court on August 22.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Horsnell, Michael (2001-08-09). Camcorder thief foiled by return of Dr Who. The Times p. 7.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Horsnell, Michael. "Camcorder thief foiled by return of Dr Who." The Times [add city] 2001-08-09, 7. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Horsnell, Michael. "Camcorder thief foiled by return of Dr Who." The Times, edition, sec., 2001-08-09
  • Turabian: Horsnell, Michael. "Camcorder thief foiled by return of Dr Who." The Times, 2001-08-09, section, 7 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Camcorder thief foiled by return of Dr Who | url= | work=The Times | pages=7 | date=2001-08-09 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=6 December 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Camcorder thief foiled by return of Dr Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=6 December 2023}}</ref>