Jon Pertwee at 100

Jon Pertwee, the third actor to play the Doctor, was born a hundred years ago today, on 7 July 1919. He died on 20 May 1996, when most of Doctor Who fandom was looking forward to the British premiere of the TV movie which was Paul McGann’s first appearance (of two on television, at least) as the eighth actor to play the part.

Jon Pertwee loomed large over the early years of Tides. For most of us involved at the start of the Oxford University Doctor Who Society, Jon Pertwee’s stories figured at the dawn of our memories of the programme or else were tales we’d first learned through the Target novelizations, all bar two of which were written by Terrance Dicks or Malcolm Hulke. The Pertwee era was a foundation myth for the young Doctor Who fans of the Tom Baker period, full of legendary monsters and villains tantalisingly absent from most of the fourth Doctor’s seasons. In the 1990s Pertwee resurfaced, visibly identifying with the role of the Doctor again, not only at conventions but on mainstream television with the velvet jacket and ruffled shirt being donned on Noel’s House Party among other shows, quite apart from the Doctor Who special for Children In Need, Dimensions in Time.

One of my favourite pieces of fiction ever published in the magazine is One More Time by Derek Haywood. (I think it can be revealed at this distance that Derek Haywood was a pseudonym for then-editor Matthew Peacock.) The third Doctor, suffering from radiation sickness after his encounter with the Great One at the end of Planet of the Spiders, visits old friends and takes Bessie for a last spin before he regenerates. If you thought David Tennant’s Doctor’s fifteen-minute series of calls on companions in The End of Time was a dangerous innovation… Well, Tides did it first over a decade before. See page four of issue 22 from 1998. (pdf download)

We intend to have more Pertwee-related material in the magazine very soon. Stay tuned, as the late John Nathan-Turner liked to say.

Matthew Kilburn

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