Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!

"Somehow I seem to have been gently bypassed as a serious actor."

"In all my years as an actor, I had never been me - I had always hidden behind my glasses, moustaches and funny voices."

In all the hoo-ha and partying that accompanied our faboo Gay Pride weekend, we missed marking an important centenary in the annals of campery - the ebullient "Third Doctor" in Doctor Who, Mr Jon Pertwee!

Just about every child in the UK has grown up with one or other of the "Doctors", and from his debut in 1970 to his departure in '74, Jon Pertwee was mine. In hindsight, all his swishing of capes, velvet suits and enormous frilly collars, his penchant for vintage cars (his was "Bessie") and fine living, as well as for fighting monsters using the latest space technology (the "sonic screwdriver" and "the Whomobile" were every bit as exciting as the control room of the TARDIS) and "Venusian aikido" were probably great formative influences on little gay moi...

Outside his most famous role, Mr Pertwee was a well-respected actor and comedian. Prior to Who he was a Music Hall artiste, became a fixture on BBC radio including in The Navy Lark, and appeared in four Carry On films; and after his on-screen demise at the hands of the Planet of the Spiders, he became a beloved figure for a new generation of children as Worzel Gummidge, and cemented his louche on-screen persona as the host of the gameshow Whodunnit. He never quite shook off the mantle of "The Doctor" however, reappearing in The Three Doctors and many other Who-related shows, productions and conventions.

I still associate him with the role, almost half a century later.

John Devon Roland “Jon” Pertwee (7th July 1919 – 20th May 1996)


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