Jon Pertwee (1985)

Here’s Jon Pertwee talking to DWM about his time on the show, including his thoughts on the character of Liz Shaw, his favourite (and least favourite) monsters, and his return for ‘The Five Doctors’.

“In my opinion, Caroline John didn’t fit into ‘Doctor Who’. I couldn’t really believe in her as a sidekick to the Doctor, because she was so darned intelligent herself. The Doctor didn’t want a know-it-all by his side, he wanted someone who was busy learning about the world. Although Caroline and I worked well together, I don’t think it did the series any harm when she left, incidentally to have a baby, and not because she was sacked or anything melodramatic like that.

“I remember when we were filming in some BBC training premises for ‘Spearhead From Space’, I went for a little walk about the place, being perennially inquisitive. I found, in the course of my walk, a little Victorian bathroom with the most amazing Victorian bah and shower. I went rushing back to Derek Martinus and said ‘Look what I’ve found – we’ve got to use it’. He came along, agreed it looked supuerb, and we used it.

“The tattos were a little mistake from younger and more foolish days. I always thought it was quite amusing to have the Third Doctor, who was so pre-occupied with being the archetypcal gentleman, displaying a nice big piece of arm adornment – and nobody said anything when filming, so they were seen on screen. Perhaps people were frightened of offending me so early on in my time!

“I was very fond of the Ogrons, who were wonderful, because they were so big, even I was terrified of them. I was also extremely pleased with the Draconians, who were the most beautiful pieces of work. I remember one of the worst were the Primords in ‘Inferno’, which was partly directed by Douglas Camfield. The whole filming was going very nicely, we all thought, the script was a good one, full of frightening bits for the audience, and lots of action for the Doctor. Then they unveil these ridiculous werewolf things with great false teeth and fur-covered rubber gloves. They were awful. I remember asking Douglas if he was serious about using them, and although I don’t think he was very happy about it, it was too late to do anything about it. Olaf Pooley, who was playing the main villain in the story, caused a great stir when he refused point blank to be made up as one of these things, and I have to admit, I saw his point.

“I was delighted to appear in ‘The Five Doctors’ and I thought it was a great shame that Tom declined to take part. Of course, it would have been nicer to have had a bit more to do, but that was necessarily a problem, considering the amount of characters Terrance Dicks was trying to cram in. Generally, I thought I was done justice, and I told John Nathan-Turner then that I wouldn’t mind coming back to do the odd special occasionally.”

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