Doctor Who News 5th Doctor

Published on February 3rd, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Peter Davison Victim of Internet Death Hoax

Sometimes you read something on the Internet, and you end up wondering just what the world is coming to. A case in point is the Peter Davison death hoax, perpetrated by a bunch of utter idiots over the weekend.


Basically, it goes like this: a Twitter user faked a tweet from @BBCDoctorWho on their Tumblr page, as illustrated above. Then:

So, someone who should have their hands removed around electronic equipment typed on Tumblr that former Doctor Who actor Peter Davison had died (he hasn’t, of course.) This falsehood was then perpetrated by other fools – the kind that should clearly by receiving special counseling for their issues – and spread across the World Wide Web.

Fortunately there are some sensible people in the world, and the rumour was debunked despite thousands of retweets. This sort of idiocy, however, needs tempering.

I suddenly see the point of The X Factor. If it stops morons from thinking creatively, bring it on!

(Via TravelersToday.)


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

22 Responses to Peter Davison Victim of Internet Death Hoax

  1. avatar Alex says:

    I’m all for free speech, people who do this should be held accountable by police, and also Davison should now have the ability to sue this person into oblivion because these types of hoaxes can cause panic among friends and family, and cost a person work.

    • avatar Alex says:

      My above posting is missing an important word: “but” which should go before “but people who do this…” but I think my point is still clear.

    • avatar Cephalopoda says:

      “I’m all for free speech, but if somebody makes a joke I don’t like, they should be sued and arrested” is basically what you just said.
      It was harmless. Was it, perhaps, tasteless? Yes. But nobody was killed or hurt, and everything is fine. I’m pretty sure any of Davison’s friends or family would probably realize it’s a hoax – people don’t tend to hear news about their friends through tumblr posts, and it would take about seven seconds or less to check the twitter account and realize it’s a hoax.
      There is no law against lying on the internet, and frankly, I’d like to keep it that way. Policing what others say just so that gullible people won’t be fooled is ridiculous.
      How exactly could it “cost a person work”? I’m pretty sure casting directors don’t receive all of their information through a celebrity’s twitter tag.

    • avatar me says:

      the girl who started it is 14

      • avatar kessie says:

        just founf out that I follow her on tumblr

  2. avatar GallifreyanFallenAngel says:

    For goodness sake, why do people think doing this is hilarious? I did not believe this for a second. Twitter is not a news source, and neither is tumblr. First, this kind of thing always causes panic among fans who do not check sources all the time. Second, this was just rude to Davison and his family. What if one of his preteen aged sons found out about this? Well, at least we were all reminded about the important lesson of checking sources.

  3. avatar Jo says:

    Wow everyone, stop taking this so seriously. That whole thing was in INSIDE JOKE and her post wasn’t even tagged. It didn’t take much to find out that this is not real, anyone who believed it without at least looking at the official doctor who twitter page is just as stupid. Sorry for bad english.

  4. avatar carry-on-my-wayward-butt says:

    omg no Maddy and Caroline love Peter Davison more than anything and if people can’t research things like this before believing them then they probably deserve to be mildly confused.

    it’s so easy to fake a tweet or a facebook status and you really shouldn’t just believe things you see online. if you’re concerned, google it. it takes like 4 seconds, it’s not that difficult.

    • avatar Bradondo says:

      If they love him so much that’s a pretty sick way of showing it. People need to realize that these things DO go viral and DO get oit of control–and so far as checking sources I concerned, yes I agree that’s necessary with everything online, but this kind of thing spreads fast enough that people will hear about it from multiple places and not be sure. How would you feel if you were one of Peter’s kids and you heard this from a friend who read it and was convinced it was real? Your first reaction would be panic and distress regardless of how credible you thought the information was. You can’t shift the responsibility for having perpetrated a stupid and tasteless joke onto the people who fell for it. It doesn’t work that way. The people who did this obviously feel otherwise as their subsequent posts are not so much apologies as basking in wht they did. Also if you think this is harmless fun you clearly have little empathy and even less understanding of human nature.

      • avatar Cephalopoda says:

        It was an inside joke. Between them, as friends. It wasn’t tagged as “peter davison”. And I’m pretty sure that his family wouldn’t be getting their news about him from Tumblr.
        There’s a difference between ‘tasteless’ and ‘harmful’. You may have found it unsavory, but nobody was injured, or emotionally scarred, or traumatized. And anybody with half a brain would at least bother to check about very quickly to see if it was true.

        • avatar Bradondo says:

          You don’t see it as harmful because no real harm came from it but the potential for harm is clear–and that’s what changes something like this from protected speech to something potentially actionable. I’m sure the poster meant no harm, but if haarm had come from it she would have been legally liable. This isn’t an opinion–it’s a fact. There are practical limits to free speech in any public forum and neither intent nor ignorance serve to absolve the speaker/poster of responsibility. You may personally feel that the poster of this bit of “humor” should be protected by the tenets of free speech, but there’s ample precedent for this type of hoax leading to successful litigation. Regardless of strictly legal considerations don’t you at least feel that these people should take responsibility for their actions and apologize to those they’ve upset? Perhaps I’m asking too much, but I would like to think, given the opportunity, people might opt to do the decent thing. I want to be clear–I don’t think these ladies are bad people. I just think they’re young and made a mistake (or at the least didn’t consider the consequences of posting something like this). I just hope they’ve learned to be more careful what they do on a public forum in the future. I’m not trying to demonize anybody here–I’m just an advocate for civil and responsible use of social media. Say and do what you like but remember: once it’s online it’s public and permanent and there may well be consequeces.

  5. avatar badlywolf says:

    And this idiot uses a screencap of my synchronised gifset, which showed up oddly if not loaded properly, as her profile picture. How embarrassing.

    This is a dirty way to get attention. I am disgusted.

  6. avatar Iltu says:

    I’m just relieved it was a hoax …. could someone please grab this kid an SPANK it for doing another stupid Death Hoax …. so glad I conpletly missed this untill it was cleared up.

  7. avatar costumer says:

    My heart stopped when I read this. I can only imagine what his kids might have felt if they saw it. The people who perpetrated this hoax, aside from being utter morons, have too much time on their hands and need to be put to work on the chain gang.

    • avatar Cephalopoda says:

      Let’s imprison people and force them into unpaid manual labor for making jokes we think are tasteless.
      What a beautiful plan.

      • avatar costumer says:

        Glad you agree! This was way more than a “tasteless joke.”

        • avatar Cephalopoda says:

          Yeah, it wasn’t just a tasteless joke, it was a tasteless joke involving a celebrity. Oh, the horror!

      • Respect works both ways, Cephalopoda. Weather the originator tagged the post or not, they should know enough about the platform they are using to realise that things can get out of hand. One only has to look at news reports of Twitter users being arrested for saying stupid things to know this (regardless of the social platform involved).

        The plan is quite simple, and not particularly beautiful – don’t say something stupid without being responsible for your actions, and don’t take ridiculous, over-the-top and reactionary steps to discourage it from happening again.

        This is all about responsibility, ownership and thinking things through. Basically if someone can’t appreciate those things then perhaps they shouldn’t have access to a computer.

        • avatar (topical) sìol nan ùpraid says:

          “The plan is quite simple, and not particularly beautiful – don’t say something stupid without being responsible for your actions”

          Late reply – Well it’s not like the user in question didn’t take ownership of the fake tweet. They immediately tweeted about it and don’t deny that they were the source.

          If Davison wants to press charges (which I doubt) then that’s up to him but lets not slander a slanderer by trying to imply they didn’t take responsibility like those McAlpin retweeters.

  8. avatar Philip Bates says:

    This is seriously sick. I honestly don’t know understand why anyone would do this.

    Mind you, there are a lot of fake deaths trending on Twitter. It’s totally bizarre.

  9. avatar Kayla says:

    She’s done it again, this time Tom Baker is the victim

  10. avatar RequiredName says:

    This is pretty much what I’ve been saying is wrong with Tumblr or Twatter or Failbook or whatever all along, so you idiots have nobody to blame but yourselves for creating a channel that allows you to believe a bunch of overpaid LARPers are communicating to you through your internet.

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