Archive for the ‘3rd Doctor’ Category

Jon Pertwee (1985)

October 4, 2009

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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Jon Pertwee (1990)

September 18, 2009

This is another transcript, it’s two radio interviews with Jon Pertwee, which I’ve merged. He talks about his family, about being hired to play the guitar and sing ballads in ‘Doctor Who’, and about ‘Worzel Gummidge’.

Q: Do you enjoy travelling?

A: Yes, because I’m a great wriggler. I never stick with one specific thing in show business, I started riding the Wall of Death when I was sixteen, on a motorbike, and I worked in the circus. Then I was in repertory theatre, which took me all over the country. Then I was in the Navy, then I worked in vaudeville. When that died I went into cabaret, and that took me all over the world, I worked in New Zealand, America. I don’t like nightclubs because there are too many people and they’re too ill-mannered.

Q: Is there one thing that really stands out?

A: Well, yes, when you’re getting out there in front of a cabaret audience, you know within half an hour if you’ve got them or not, and if you’ve got them then to hold them for an hour and a half is a great challenge and enormously rewarding. There are no venues left in England for cabaret.

Q: Did you come from a show business family?

A: Yes, indeed, my father was in Hollywood, as a scenarist, my brother Michael Pertwee is a playwright and scenarist, and my cousin Bill – do you have ‘Dad’s Army’ in America? No, I suppose not, it’s too English. It wouldn’t travel very well, I don’t think.

Q: You’ve mentioned that your father was great friend of Leslie Howard?

A: Yes, my father wrote many of Leslie Howard’s early films, and I remember as a small boy living in our home in Devonshire, Leslie Howard came down to spend a holiday with a rather charming lady, staying in a hotel not far away, Merle Oberon. A very beautiful lady, much appreciated by Leslie Howard. My cousin married Laurence Olivier, so I lived with him when I was training as a student, in his house in London. My grandmother was an opera singer, my aunts were with Gilbert and Sullivan. Dame Edith Worth was my aunt.

Q: How did ‘Doctor Who’ come about?

A: My specific role? Well I was involved in a radio show called ‘The Navy Lark’, which was the longest-running radio show in the history of broadcasting, and it went all over the world, including the United States. I’d be interested if you could find a longer-running show, we ran for eighteen and a half years. I know ‘The Easy Aces’ ran a long time, but not that long. We ran eighteen and a half years, Leslie Phillips and myself and an English comic actor called Ronnie Barker who’s now a very big star, and one of the cast said ‘Why don’t you put yourself up for Doctor Who?’. I said ‘Why would they want an eccentric, long-nosed comic to play Dr. Who?’

I called my agent and mentioned it, and there was a very long pause on the other end of the phone. I said ‘I’m sorry, forget it’, and he said ‘No, no, I don’t think it’s a very good idea but I’ll try it’ so he rang up and spoke to the BBC and the producer of ‘Doctor Who’ said ‘Well who are you suggesting?’ and he told them, and there was a long pause, and equally long pause, and my agent said ‘I had exactly the same reaction’, and he said ‘No, the reason I’m so staggered is that his name’s the second on our short-list’, and I had been for two years. They’d been considering me for two years and I didn’t even know it.

I think Dr. Who was more or less me. The first one I did, I played for laughs. I had a dreadfully funny scene where I put on various hats. My original producers gave me the job because they wanted me to play the guitar and sing ballads.

Q: In the programme?

A: In the programme, yes. Pat Troughton played his penny whistle, so they thought I could play ballads, but no, we got rid of all that?

Q: Looking at the enormous popularity of ‘Doctor Who’, is it down to the individuals who played him, or is there a magic we don’t see?

A: No, there’s a magic that you do see, pure escapism. People are sick of the kitchen sink and they want to escape.

Q: And typecasting doesn’t bother you?

A: Yes it does, it bothers me very much indeed. I no longer wish to carry everything on my shoulders, I don’t necessarily want to be a leading man any more. I want to do what my friend Leslie Phillips has done so brilliantly now, he’s stopped being the sort of silly-ass light comedian.

Q: Taking on very challenging and serious roles.

A: Absolutely, and brilliantly too. That’s what I’d like to do, and I’m having a devil’s own job to persuade young director that that’s what I can do. And they say ‘Oh, Doctor Who’ and I say ‘Hang on, what’s the connection between the elegant dandified folk hero science fiction figure and the filthy old scarecrow with a carrot for a nose?’, and you remind them and they say ‘Oh yes, but it’s a cult thing’. Everything I’ve done has been culty. ‘The Navy Lark’ was culty.

When I was making ‘Doctor Who’, if anybody thinks I was making a lot of money, they’re crazy. I think I got £350 for an episode. That’s for a week’s work, and I couldn’t do anything else. When I was doing ‘Worzel Gummidge’ I could do some personal appearances at the weekend.

Q: There’s a wonderful Blue Peter clip from 1973 where you introduce the Whomobile, and it looks so tacky.

A: Oh, but I assure you it wasn’t tacky at all, it was superbly put together. Absolutely magnificent, it was the best-looking thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Everything worked, apart from the ejector seat, the computer worked, enough for photographically, when you pressed the button, all the lights flashed. It did nearly ninety miles an hour, it was very very fast. It was designed by a man named Peter Farris in Nottingham, and he did it in two mouldings, and it stopped the traffic wherever it went. We had to put it on a low-loader because people ran into it while they were looking at it.

Q: Patrick Troughton was obviously a friend.

A: Yes, we did ‘The Three Doctors’ and ‘The Five Doctors’. He was a magical man, he was a kook, he was strange, he wasn’t like other fellows. He was an ad-libber actor. I remember when he came in on my show, and he was a guest, and he was underneath the TARDIS and he was doing something, the cue was ‘I can’t find the circuit’, and he said ‘Oh where is the wretched thing?’, and I said ‘What?’, he said ‘Come on, I’ve given you the line’, I said ‘No you haven’t, he said ‘Well it’s near enough’ (laughs), I said ‘No it’s not, I’m Dr. Who now, I know you did that when you were in it’. He was wonderful, very free, I loved to watch him.

Q: Actors of your generation seemed to be very much larger than life figures.

A: Yes, I suppose they were, well certain types of actors. Roger Delgado was a brilliant actor, very hypnotic eyes. ‘Doctor Who’ is OTT, you can’t be serious, Daleks with sink plunger and egg whisks. It’s very hard work. I didn’t play Dr. Who right over the top, I played him straight.

Q: One of the newest stars of British television is ‘Worzel Gummidge’, isn’t he?

A: About eight or nine years ago I was doing a crime quiz show called ‘Whodunnit?’, which started in America, but you made a terrible mistake in America, you see our programmes, you say ‘That’s good’, you buy the programme, and instead of showing it to your audiences, you put your own people in them and you alter all the dialogue. We won’t let that happen with ‘Worzel Gummidge’. Worzel’s a mangled word, it’s a kind of turnip.

Q: What is the difference between British and American comedy?

A: I think it has heart. It’s not cold. We’re not one-liners, we’re situation comedy people. I can’t tell a one-liner, but I can tell a joke that lasts four and a half minutes.

Jon Pertwee (1989)

August 29, 2009

Here’s a transcript of Jon Pertwee talking to Terry Wogan in 1989. He was promoting ‘The Ultimate Adventure’, the stage play in which he reprised the role of the Doctor, but he doesn’t really talk about that -instead, the dominant theme seems to be ‘wind’, which got him expelled from RADA and blew him off course in a hovercraft while filming ‘The Sea Devils’.

Q: You’re back as Dr. Who on the stage after a fifteen year gap, are you glad to be back?

A: Oh, sure, the money’s good.

Q: Do you miss being Dr. Who?

A: Yes, I do from time to time. But I enjoyed being Worzel Gummidge too.

Q: You followed William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. What gave you the inspiration for the flamboyance?

A: The clothes? Well that was a bit of luck, really. I wanted to wear something very severe, like a suit, but they said no, that was too severe. So in order to do something for the front cover of the Radio Times I put on an old velvet smoking jacket, and a cape, and a frilly shirt from Mr. Fish, who was very trendy at the time, and stood like that on the front cover, and they said they liked it. I said ‘Well how are we going to explain it?’, so in the first story they had me go into a changing room and nick a lot of clothing from various doctors. Some doctor had a hat, some doctor had a coat, then I put them on, went outside and leapt into an old motor car, an old Vauxhall 1938 and drove off, and that eventually became Bessie.

Q: I think the programme was maybe at its peak when you were in it. Maybe the technology got taken over by things like ‘Star Wars’…

A: Yes, well we kept things pretty simple, and we kept the threats on Earth when I was there, the majority of the time anyway.

Q: Yes, you fought off a number of Cybermen in your time –

A: No I didn’t! Daleks, yes. And a giant spider got me in the end. Well, not in the end, but he got me! (laughs)

Q: Did you do your own stunts?

A: Yes. Yes, I did, much to the infuriation of Terry Walsh, my stuntman. I did everything that I could apart from falling. If it was riding motorbikes or speedboats or climbing down ladders from helicopters, I did that. If it was falling, I didn’t know how to do that, and if I broke something then everybody’d be out of work.

Q: You nearly killed half a crew once, didn’t you?

A: I’m afraid so. Well, Barry Letts, my producer, said ‘You can drive anything, can’t you?’. I said ‘Well no, not without a bit of practice’, he said ‘Well there’s a hovercraft, why don’t you have a go at that, we’ll see if we can get that into the programme’. Well we got it into the programme, but he never gave me any time to practice. I kept saying ‘Can I practice?’, he kept saying ‘Not yet, not yet, I’ll let you know when’, and he never told me until he said ‘Okay, go’, and I had to come up a river bank on the river Severn, go between two cameras and go over a stuntman who was playing an old tramp and as he lay back I went over the top of him with the hovercraft. Well I did this, but unfortunately there was a very strong wind at the time and it pushed me to the port side and I wiped out the entire camera crew. It was very dangerous, because you’ve got propellers roaring around both down there and up there, so it could be very dangerous. Barry said ‘Can you do it again?’, and he said to everyone ‘Go round the other side, go round the other camera’. They all went round the other camera, and they said to me ‘Allow for the wind’, and I said ‘Yes, I’ll allow for the wind’. So I did it again, and I allowed for the wind, but there wasn’t a wind and so I wiped out the other camera.

Q: You were born into a very theatrical family, you had no choice, you had to be an actor. Did you ever play this theatre? (referring to the studio where ‘Wogan’ was taped)

A: I certainly did, when it was the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, I remember very well that I came out of the stage door one night and I’d gone very well, which was difficult in vaudeville, especially in Glasgow where they threw everything at you… but I came out, and there was an enormous Irish gentleman – there were a lot of them about Shepherd’s Bush in those days – he was leaning up against the wall and he went ‘Oi!’, I said ‘Me?’, he said ‘Come over here’, he said ‘Here you are, sign that’. I said ‘Of course, how could I resist such a charming invitation’, I signed it and gave it to him, and he threw it away! To this day I don’t know who he thought I was!

Q: Did you ever recover from this?

A: Never!

Q: You were continuously expelled from school, weren’t you?

A: Yes, I was. That’s a family trait, well not my brother Michael, he was very well behaved, but –

Q: You got expelled from RADA?

A: Yes, I got thrown out of RADA, I’m afraid. I’d refused to be a wind. There was a lady who taught Greek dancing and Greek tragedy, and I just had to go ‘Wooooo’ and I thought it was terribly expensive for my poor father to pay for me to be a wind. So I rebelled, I refused to be a wind.

Q: Didn’t Noel Coward speak highly of you once?

A: Well yes, Kenneth Barnes told me I had absolutely no talent whatsoever of any kind in the theatre, so I was in a play at the end of my season and, just before I was about to be expelled, I played two parts, I played the man who was murdered in the first act and the man who found out who murdered me in the last act, with full make-up and moustaches and so on. And at the end of the show, Kenneth Barnes said to Noel Coward, who was the guest of honour, ‘Was there anyone you thought had particular talent in the company?’, and Noel Coward said ‘Yes, very good performance from the man who was murdered in the first act, and I particularly liked the man who played the detective in the last’. (laughs) So I promptly gave him a kiss, which was a very dangerous thing to do, and I never looked back!

Q: How did you get involved with ‘Worzel Gummidge’?

A: Well when Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall asked me to do a movie that they’d written of Worzel Gummidge, of course I jumped at it, but unfortunately the movie hit the wall, they didn’t get the distribution that they wanted, or the money, so I said ‘Could you give me a pilot, cheap?’, and they gave me a pilot, bless them, and we sold it to television. The BBC turned it down flat, incidentally, they said it had no future at all (laughs), so I then took it to Thames because I knew they’d jump at it, having just done ‘Whodunnit?’ for them, and they turned it down flat too. Then there was a man called Lewis Rudd at Southern Television, a man of great perspicacity, and he said ‘I think it’s wonderful’ and we made it, and within five or six weeks we were something of a cult.

Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Peter Davison (1983)

August 17, 2009

This is one of the best multi-Doctor interviews around. To mark the show’s twentieth anniversary, three of the four surviving Doctors got together on the BBC’s ‘Nationwide’ show. It’s defintely worth watching the clip, because part of the joy is the interaction between them, especially Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee.

Q: Jon, the Doctor always gets away with it. Is that some deep philosophical message, the triumph of good over evil, or is it ingenious fun?

JP: It’s his brilliance! It’s his brilliance and his experience, is it not Patrick?

PT: Oh yes! What are we talking about? Yes! Brilliant, yes!

Q: We must ask him a question because he’s been waiting. Patrick, the character as you saw it, would you like to tell me about that?

PT: Yes. Well it took me time to see the character because I had to follow Billy, and that was the first follow. And it was a question of doing it differently, really, because you couldn’t do it the same. So we had various ideas, first a kind of captain with one of those Victorian… (mimes a hat)

Q: It was the late 60’s when you did it, wasn’t it? I thought that was a Dr. Who of its time, because you had a kind of Beatles haircut, didn’t you?

PT: It probably was, yes. There was a thing about that, actually, because Mike Craze and Anneke, when they saw my wig in make-up –

JP: What wig?

PT: I had a wig, originally, in make-up, they saw it, they said ‘No, we are not going on’, I looked like Harpo Marx.

JP: That’s where Tom got the idea.

PT: So they whipped it off and they dressed my hair like a Beatle.

Q: Peter, it’s now unashamedly for adults, isn’t it, because they’ve put you on later.

PD: Well I don’t think it’s unashemedly for adults, I think it’s always had a fairly adult audience, and I think they tried to give it an extra boost by putting it on in the week, and it’s certainly increased the viewing figures.

Q: Jon, do children still stop you in the street? Do they still think you’re Dr. Who?

JP: Yes, when they don’t think I’m Worzel Gummidge.

PT: Have you seen his Worzel Gummidge? Fantastic.

Q: But do they believe that you’re some sort of supernatural being?

JP: Yes. They say ‘Hello Doc, I wonder if you could help me out with a little bit of trouble’.

PD: But it’s quite extraordinary, because the day after it was announced that I would be Dr. Who, I was called Dr. Who in the street.

Q: They stopped calling you Tristram?

PD: Yes, they did, that ended it. But before I’d even appeared, you know, people were so used to the idea, they even thought they’d seen me, they said ‘I watch you every week’, they were watching Tom!

Q: But it has to be frightening, doesn’t it? (to Patrick) I mean you’re sending it up –

PT: I don’t! I’ve never sent it up in my life! It’s a different attitude to a desperately dangerous situation.

PD: When you’re doing it, you can’t send it up. When you’re in rehearsal, you can’t afford to send it up.

PT: We might do it here.

Q: Have any of you any regrets about doing it? Has it ruined your lives?

ALL: No!

JP: Good heavens, no.

PT: Absolutely not.

JP: The repeats are marvellous.

Q: Listen, it’s been worked out that the Time Lord, he can regenerate himself thirteen times –

PT: Hey?

Q: It’s very mathematical. Listen, 45 years more he’s got to live. What I want to know is, when is a woman going to be Dr. Who?

PD: That depends on when I give up, don’t you think?

PT: What a good idea.

Jon Pertwee & Katy Manning (1993)

August 16, 2009

This is an edited transcript from the 1993 Panopticon convention appearance of Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning. Among other things, you’ll learn which was the only story Katy didn’t like (Jon agrees), and there are some nice stories about Roger Delgado.

Q: It would be true to say, Jon, that you are the current Dr. Who, with your series on Radio 5.

JP: That’s correct. I’m not the only Doctor to be Doctor twice. Who was the other one? Colin Baker, correct. He did a very short session on radio.

Q: Did you enjoy doing it?

JP: Oh enormously. It was wonderful, I mean, having the old Brig back and having Liz, Liz Sladen and Peter, who is the most evil villain in the world. He’s a bastard. And he’s one of the gentlest people you could meet off stage, he wouldn’t say boo to a carpet slipper, he really wouldn’t, but he’s a terrible, terrifying man.

Q: Was it fun getting back together again?

JP: Yes. This all started because when we heard that ‘Doctor Who’ was unlikely to come back on television, I suggested to Dirk Mags, one of our finest radio producers that I’d done, maybe some of you heard, ‘Superman’ on radio, and I liked working with him enormously, and I suggested to him ‘Why don’t we put Doctor Who out on radio?’, and he said ‘Well, it’s a good idea, if it’s not coming back on television it’ll be one way of getting it back’. And he had a talk with the heads and as usual with the BBC they were very fast, it took them two years, and they agreed it would be a good idea to put ‘Doctor Who’ on radio. But by that time Dirk Mags was busy on other things, but he delegated a brilliant young producer, and thank God it was absolutely brilliant. And when we were talking about the set-up to it, he said ‘Well who’s going to write it?’, and I said ‘Get someone who knows about the programme, who knows about the construction of the programme’, and we both said ‘Well what about Barry Letts?’, would Barry do it? Barry, as you all know, used to be my producer for many years doing ‘Doctor Who’, and of course he’s been an actor, and of course Barry wrote some of the finest ‘Doctor Who’s under various pseudonyms because he was forbidden by the BBC to write anything, so he did it as Guy Leopold which was a mixture of two names, and I enjoyed Barry’s more than practically anyone’s, so I said get Barry.

Q: It must have felt right having a Barry Letts script, with Liz, with Nick…

JP: Yes, right in. And of course with Maurice Denham in it too, a wonderful, wonderful elderly actor. And Maurice said, he said ‘You know, dear boy’ – you can’t see his teeth, he’s worn them all out with his pipe – he said ‘You and I did our first broadcast here in BH together 51 years ago’, and I said ‘Don’t be so ridiculous, I’m not that old’, he said ‘Oh yes you bloody well are’. He was absolutely right, we had done a radio show 51 years before at BH, 51 years to the day, and he produced the clipping from the Radio Times to show it, it was a programme by John Putney, the great poet. He said ‘It was absolutely wonderful, that’, and I said what were you doing before that, he said ‘Oh, I was working at BH, I was working here’, I said ‘What were you doing?’, he said ‘Installing the elevators’, and he was, before he was an actor, he was an elevator installor.

Q: Looking back over your career, is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

JP: Oh yes. I wanted to have a much bigger film career, I like cameras, I have, as Michael Caine put it, he has a love affair with the lens. You can see what he’s thinking through his eyes, and I have that to a degree too, I have a rapport with the lens. I like film work, I like the medium of pictures, and I made in the 50’s and 60’s an awful lot of movies and I would like to have gone on to do… I was under contract with ABPC with George Cole, and unfortunately George walked out of his contract just as we were about to do a big picture called ‘Baby in the Battleship’ which some of you may have seen, John Mills eventually played it. I said ‘Well if George is gone, who am I going to play with?’ and they said ‘You’re not’, they got two other people and that was the end of my contract with ABPC which was a shame because that really cattled me in the film industry for many years.

Q: I mean up to the time that you played Dr. Who, the characters you played were loud, were humerous. Was ‘Who’ the first time you played straight?

JP: It was, really, because I remember Shaun Sutton, who was the head of programmes at the time and a dear friend of mine, he asked me to do it, I said ‘Well let’s have a bite of lunch’, we had lunch, and at the end of lunch he said ‘Well will you play it?’, I said ‘Let me think about it’, he rang me up the next week and said ‘Do you want to do it?’, I said ‘How about another lunch?’, we had another lunch and he said ‘So, do you want to do it?’, I said ‘How about dinner next week?’. After about three meetings I said ‘Well I’ll play it, but how do you want me to play it?’. He said ‘As Jon Pertwee’, and I said ‘Well who the hell’s that?’, because I didn’t know who Jon Pertwee was, I’d never played myself, I’d hidden under a green umbrella all my life, like Peter Sellers, my friend Peter Sellers used to do…

Q: Was that conscious, hiding under characters?

JP: Yes, I was frightened to come out. I mean, when I did plays like ‘Girl in My Soup’, which was a straight role, in England and America, I wore thick horn-rim glasses as a sort of cover, something to hide behind. I always wanted to hide, like Peter wanted to hide.

Q: Did you ever hide in the streets? I mean if you went out shopping, for example?

JP: Oh no, that’s a very different thing. I never did that. I used to dress up. Occasionally I’d dress up in dark glasses and go like that (mimes being blind), and people would help me. Got me very good seats on the train.

Q: So looking back at ‘Doctor Who’, there must have been some happy years of your working life?

JP: Oh yes, I loved it. I loved Friday night particularly, when the cheque came. And regularly too, ’cause we did an awful lot of them in those days. Yes, it was five very happy years indeed.

Q: Everyone you talk to from your time on the programme says it was a happy time, everyone was friends, everyone got on.

JP: Yes, well I insisted on that because there were so many shows that you’d been watching for years where there are regular teams, and usually those people are so cliquey, they don’t communicate at all with the guest artists who come in. Like on ‘Coronation Street’, they’d say ‘No, you can’t sit in that chair, get out of that, that’s Emily’s chair’, and with my team, with the Brig, and John Levene and Katy and Liz and all our team, I used to say to them ‘Now listen, when our guest artists come in you make a real fuss of him, make him a cup of tea, make sure he’s got a chair, really make a fuss of him’, and it worked, worked like a dream, and we had laughs, we laughed our way silly through the whole thing. In fact Barry used to get terribly cross, he’d say ‘Well what have you done today?’, and I’d say ‘We had a dart-throwing competition out the window’, and Barry said ‘I’m furious about this’, he ticked me off, and I said ‘You’re wrong, by doing that we’ve got great good humour in the company and we can get much more done, so tomorrow we can work late and nobody’s going to say a thing’, and they didn’t. We had this great rapport and feeling with our guests.

Q: That’s how it comes across. It’s nice to know that it really was true.

JP: Anyone seen ‘Return to Devil’s End’? The tape? Well you’ve seen that, when we all got back together again, we were all terrified because we thought we wouldn’t remember anything, and then Nick came out with this book of photographs and he said ‘Do you remember this?’, I said ‘Oh yes, that was when Bessie was going along the road and there was this funny thing where someone was pushing her from the back and fell under the wheels’, and of course we were off. Each photograph brought back memories. We could have made a film about nine hours long, I think.

Q: Was that an enjoyable experience, going back there?

JP: Yeah, it was lovely. Going back to, what was it called… Albourne.

Q: A lot of people rate ‘The Daemons’ very highly, it’s one of the most popular…

JP: It’s my most popular, yes. My favourite.

Q: Roger Delgado, let’s have a little word about Roger Delgado. Were you really good friends?

JP: Roger was one of my greatest friends, yes. We were enormously… the most extraordinary man, Roger Delgado, there was another example of a man who looked absolutely terrifying, with that beard and those eyes, and yet he would not say boo to a chickflit. He was the most nervous man about everything, I mean when we did ‘The Sea Devils’ putting Roger on one of those boats, those little jet boats, he nearly died. And someone said ‘Come on, Mr. Delgado’ and the director said ‘Shut up!’. He said ‘What’s the matter, guv?’, he said ‘It’s a miracle we’ve got him on the thing at all’. And when we put him in that immersion tank and sank him in the sea, I mean he really died a million deaths. I’ve often said this before, he was incredibly cowardly but therefore the bravest man I’ve ever known in my life. I would do these things joyfully because I’m a complete berk. I’ve been gadget-mad all my life, I fly, I’ve raced speedboats, I’ve raced motorcars, I’ve raced motorbikes in my lifetime, and so I loved all that. Roger hated it. His idea of a wonderful life was for us all to go out and have dinner, or eat at his house or mine, have a great dinner, drink several bottles of wine, put his carpet slippers on and then drink a bottle of port. That was a really dangerous evening and a good one.

Very sad, of course you know what happened, he was making a film out in Turkey, and the film company car… the plane was diverted, so the film company car didn’t pick him up, and being Roger he didn’t want to miss out on anything so he took a taxi and the taxi driver who drove him was a complete idiot and he drove him over a cliff and he was killed.

(At this point, Katy Manning joins).

Q: When you first got the job as Jo, when you first met him (Jon Pertwee), what were your thoughts?

KM: I thought he was frightfully tall, and because I’m very short-sighted I didn’t actually see what he looked like. I got to the waist, and I often wondered what the top bit looked like. And when I finally got to put my glasses on, and I saw what he looked like, I thought ‘Yes, I’m going to like this job’.

Q: And did you?

KM: Yes, I did. I had the most wonderful three years and Jon was extremely kind to me. I loved doing ‘The Daemons, we had the best time doing ‘The Daemons’. I mean this might sound stupid, but I loved every minute that I worked. I really did. I have the fondest memories of everything that we did and we all got on frightfully well together. I mean I loved ‘The Daemons’ and I liked the very first episode that I was in. There was one I didn’t like, and it seems to be very popular, and I really didn’t like it, there’s only one, and I always get the title wrong…

JP: ‘Day of the Daleks’? It was one of the Dalek ones. We were surrounded by Daleks. Two Daleks. It was terrible, they said ‘There’s an invasion of Daleks, and they’re surrounding this house with all these Commonwealth presidents’, and they surround the house, I said to the director ‘Well where are the Daleks?’, he said ‘Over there’. There were two. I said ‘How do you surround a house with two Daleks?’. He said ‘Well you shoot them, then you move them, you shoot two more’.

KM: They were Daleks with very large personalities. I mean it was just one of those stories that I was never happy with how it worked –

JP: Nor me.

KM: But apart from that… and I liked ‘The Curse of Peladon’, that was fun…

JP: With Pat’s son in it.

KM: That’s right, David Troughton. Every single one was great.

Q: But there must have been moments when you thought ‘I can’t stand this any more’?

KM: Never. No. Oh, once! Can I tell this story? It was Jon’s fault. We didn’t actually have a row in three years, except for once and Jon was being very impatient that day, and it was all over reading a map. Do you remember what you did?

JP: No…

KM: We’d had a lovely time in the car, we’d made up a whole opera about brussel sprouts… such mature and grown-up people… and Jon hates brussel sprouts, he loathes them… and I can’t remember how we got into it, but Jon was very cross with me because I wasn’t reading the map right.

JP: You were reading it upside down.

KM: Yes. Now I don’t think it’s fair to mock the afflicted, do you? Jon was being very unreasonable about me reading the map upside down, and it was probably the wrong map anyway, and I couldn’t find where we were going, and I got really distressed by this, and he actually had his first go at me. And all these people who had worked with us for all this time saw this first row going on, and in three years that’s not bad.

Q: Was it hard work?

KM: Arguing with Jon? Impossible. You can’t win. You don’t argue with this man. Never. You go into it knowing you’re going to lose. He’s bigger, he’s smarter –

Q: Jon, do you go into this knowing you’re going to win?

JP: Of course I know I’m going to win, yes.

KM: As soon as I’d look at Jon and say ‘I know I’m 100% right’, this big smile would come on his face and I knew I was wrong.

Q: Jon, you came back for ‘The Five Doctors’, ten years ago. Katy, would you ever come back if you were asked, if there was ever a new series?

KM: What the hell would you do with Jo? Five years ago, I’d have said no, but now, if I had to come back as Jo I think I would, but only if they let Jo come back a certain way. I would not come back and say ‘But Doctor, enough of your knavish tricks’, no. But Jo, I tell you what, she left him, the one she went off with, she got halfway up the Amazon, she said ‘This is not going to work’, so I would only come back if (a) she was no longer married, and (b) she could be somebody that many years later.

Q: What would she be, though?

KM: Well there’s a nice question. Everybody write in their answers.

I think the greatest thing the Brig ever said to me, when I questioned him deeply, about the way he used to underline his script in many different colours… and whenever you’d say ‘Brig, it’s your turn to speak’, he’d say ‘No, can’t be, I haven’t underlined it’, and I finally asked him why he did it. He said ‘The red is so that when somebody asks me a question, I know that I have to answer’, so in other words if the Brig didn’t have it underlined he didn’t answer your question… the workings of the man’s mind, do you remember all those incredible coloured pencils?

JP: I remember them very well, yes.

KM: And I went to the pub with him once, and I felt so sorry for him! I always sort of saw he was alright with his Bovril in the afternoon, but at lunchtime do you remember he didn’t come with us, he went to the pub –

JP: He went to the pub and had his three pints, that’s right.

KM: Three pints exactly.

JP: Well he’d had four breakfasts!

KM: He was so sweet, he said ‘Nobody ever comes to the pub with me’, and I looked at his little face and I thought ‘Oh dear’ so I went to the pub, which I find extremely boring, and I sat with him the whole lunchtime. He’s just the loveliest person to work with in the world, isn’t he?

JP: Yes. You can’t throw him. It didn’t matter how hard we tried to really screw him up, you couldn’t. Where he was playing the doppelganger, you know two roles, with the black patch over his eye, and what I said was ‘What we’re going to do is we’re all going to dress up as the Brig’, so we all put black patches over our eyes, and we had our backs to him, and he came in and said ‘Now look here, Doctor’, and I thought that would break him out completely, but he just went straight on, you simply couldn’t throw the Brig.

Jon Pertwee (1971)

August 9, 2009

This is a short interview with Jon Pertwee, conducted after season eight had been broadcast. It’s from a UK national newspaper, but I’m not sure which one. As ever, scans will appear shortly after the scanner arrives.

With the ever-increasing success of ‘Doctor Who’, Jon Pertwee can enjoy himself even more fully, skiing and swimming and skin-diving and travelling. And even motor-cycling.

“Audiences like the series so much,” he says, “that from Friday the BBC is repeating the first four episodes in the first series I did when I took over from Patrick Troughton in September 1969. That perhaps will keep viewers happy until the new series starts next January.”

‘Doctor Who’ is going adult, he reckons. “Seventy-five per cent of our viewrs are grown-ups now,” he says. “The viewing figures have been going up and up, particularly since we switched times”. (The show now goes out about an hour later than the earlier series).

“When we come back in January we may be later still, which could have some interesting results. We might lose some of the remaining child viewers, but we could gain a whole new adult audience.”

Pertwee enjoys the role of the good Doctor enormously. “It is,” he says, “the best job on television. I’m working nine months a year with the BBC. On ITV you’d probably get double the money, but not work for nine months of each year. The only thing I would really like to do now is make more movies. If I were invited to do a major international picture I would probably drop the programme. I’m in this profession really to make as much money as I need to do the things I really want to do. I no longer have great artistic integrity – that’s if I ever did – but I like to do my job with sincerity but send the whole thing up.”

Jon Pertwee (1996)

July 30, 2009

This seems to be the last interview Jon Pertwee gave before his death in 1996.

You became well known for comedy. Was this a direction you had always wanted to go in?
No, not at all. I started off at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts and I was thrown out after being told I had absolutely no future in the theatre at all. Charles Lawton, the famous actor, said “I understand you were thrown out of RADA.” I said ‘yes’ and he said “you’re bound to do well, so was I”. When war broke out, I was in the Navy for six years and I finished up running the naval broadcasting section. Through that I met up with Eric Barker who was a top class, top rated comedian. He was in the Navy and he had a radio show called Medeterrainian Merry-Go-Round. I went along to check on the work he was doing because he was being a bit rude about my Lords of the Admiralty. I was sitting there and he wanted someone to shout something out from the audience – which I did. And he said “that was very good. I enjoyed that. Can you come back next week.” And I was with him then for five years.

You were well known for comedy before Doctor Who, why did you decide to play him so straight?
Well, the reason for that is that I had just come from comedy and I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could do things other than comedy. I had done eccentric comics in theatres and pictures, I did the hideous Carry On series. I did quite a few of those. I wanted to prove that I could be a successful actor by playing straight. I played it straight. Right down the middle for five years.

There seemed to be hints of a relationship between the Doctor and Jo. Was that something intentional or something that other people, namely me, have read into it?
That’s something your reading into it. Oh no, no, not Doctor Who. He fond in a grandfatherly way and you couldn’t help being fond of the companions, they were such pretty little people. There was no sign of romance. The only romance ever really shown is, I gather, in the new film with the new Doctor, Paul McGann. There was no sexual interest. It would be a rather unfortunate match if consider the fact that he’s over two hundred years old and she was a twenty three year-old girl.

As the series developped there was a shift away from Earth based stories towards more fantastical stories. Were you pleased by that change?
Yes, I wanted… but remember though that no matter what one says one’s input into Doctor Who was virtually nil. You didn’t have time for any input because I’d be working on a show that had been worked on by producers, set desginers, etc. for maybe five months before and so one couldn’t have any input into each show. The only chance you got of having any input into Doctor Who was for about ten minutes on the first day of rehearsals.

While you were playing The Doctor the relationships between the central characters became a lot less antagonistic? Was that something you brought to it or was that something the producers wanted to develop?
That was because I am a tremendous believer in teams. Anything that I have ever done successfully as always been as part of a team. From the director downwards we were a very tight team. The Navy Lark was rioteously successful because we were a very tight nit team. I, when I did Doctor Who, wanted to make him into a kind of science fiction James Bond because I’m an adventuresome twit. I like motorbikes and I used to race cars and I race speed boats – I liked incorporating this into the show and my producer Barry Letts mercifully let me. It was a good idea. It was a different approach to it.

While you were working on Doctor Who there were a couple of projects that you were involved in which never came to fruitition. There was a script that you wrote called The Spare Part People. Could you tell us something about that?
All I can tell you is keep your eyes open because it’s coming up again, I think, in book form. I’m not going to go into it too deeply because it’s always bad luck. It’s not dead by means. It was something that I wrote with another actor. I showed it to Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks and they said “oh, yeah, wow, great, terrific” and I said ‘are you pleased with it?’ And they said “yeah, but we’re not going to do it. It would be far too expensive.” I don’t think it would actually. I think they went off on the wrong tack with it. I think it will work as a book. I hope so. It’s being written by Jonathan Ray and I.

Apparently you decided against appearing as the Doctor in a film version while you were playing the Doctor on TV, why?
Never heard of it. God knows where you got that story. They write extroardinary things in these magazines. If you read about all the things that were said when Doctor Who was going to be made into a film in Britain from about ten years ago and all the people that were supposed to be playing it. I have been playing it four times – Doctor Who in this new film. A woman from The Evening News rang me up and said “congratulations.” I said ‘on what?’ “You’re playing Doctor Who in the new film” she said. And I said ‘am I? Thanks so much for telling me.’ And she said “don’t you know anything about it?” And I said ‘I’ve never heard of it. Actually the fellow from Monty Python, Eric Idle, is playing it’. She said “oh, no he’s not”. And I said ‘yes, he is. It was in the papers yesterday.’ And she said “I’ve rung him up today and he says he’s never heard of it.” You don’t want to believe what you read in the fanzines.

What did you enjoy most about Doctor Who?
I enjoyed the filming because it’s active and I like being out in the fresh air, but it’s very, very hard work. It’s an immensely difficult series to do. You have to spout pages of scientific claptrap which one didn’t understand at all. It was only the writers that knew what the hell the thing was all about. You couldn’t understand it unless you were a sci-fi buff and I wasnít – I was a working actor. I had a lot of fun in it. I liked the teams.

Why did you decide to leave?
I decided to leave because Roger had died, Barry Letts was leaving, Terrance Dicks was leaving. I thought it looked like the end of an era and I thought, well, I may as well go. Sean Sutton, the head of programmes, said “would you like to stay on and do another season?” And I said ‘yeah, yeah, I’ll do one more if you pay me a bit of extra money.’ He said “like what?” I told him and they said “we’re sorry to see you go.”

What attracted you to Worzel Gummidge?
Any actor would just jump at it. It was the most magical part. It ran the gamut of emotions from A to Z in twenty four minutes. I managed to add one little quality to it which made it take off better than it would of done. Doctor Who always travelled in his Tardis and never stayed in one place for too long and I tried to think how we could get around that with Worzel Gummidge and we decided on the changing heads. All he had to do if he wanted to be a singer was put on a singing head and if he wanted to be intelligent he would put on a thinking head and a handsome head for his love life. That worked like a dream.

The first episode of Worzel Gummidge seemed a lot more sinister than the later episodes…
You’re absolutely right. The first one is always the hardest for the writers and the actors and everybody. You don’t know, really, which way to go. We over did it to begin with – it was too scarey. Lots of children were screaming at that scene were the water melts the mud of his face and he comes off the post and comes lumbering down the field. That frightened the shit out hundreds of children, which was rather a mistake. From that moment on we softened up. When he came into contact with the two kids he sort of softened up and the whole thing became more gentle.

Do you think Worzel was a more interesting character than Doctor Who?
Vastly, vastly, because, as I say, he ran so many emotions. He was a very irascible chap and at the same time he was endearing. There’s nothing better than having somebody who’s villainous and wicked and evil and yet being loved. It was like Aunt Sally. There was Una Stubbs playing the worst bitch who’s ever been on television. She was horrid, she was rude, she was beastly to Worzel who loved her dearly. Yet the public adored Aunt Sally. This is the great secret – if you can do that you’ve cracked it. You could let Worzel do what he bloody well liked. When I went to big functions where there would be Hells Angels, because I was often went to motorcycle rallies, and I thought ‘oh my God. I’m going to have a lot of trouble here with a load of hairy, leather coated Hells Angels.’ I couldn’t have been more wrong. They where endearing in the extreme and they where saying “Hello, Worzel. How you doing, mate? How’s Aunt Sally, then? Give her one for me.” I realised, with amazement, they where watching the programme and they knew all the characters and so on.

Like Doctor Who, Worzel had an adult following. Do you think that was part of the reason it lasted so long?
Of course. It was a childrens’ story to begin with, as Doctor Who was. It was supposed to be for children, but they quickly realised that it was for the whole family. Sci-fi audiences are vast all over the world – that’s why it’s so popular in America, everywhere, Australia and so on. Worzel was originally purely a childrens’ show and we where on at a childrens’ time on a Saturday. Literally within a week or two we where a cult and we had enormous viewing figures and we realisied about sixty five percent of our viewers where adults. There they stayed and we got more and more and more. When I did personal appearances as Worzel we got an enormous turn out of people and it wasn’t just children.

Are there still plans to produce an animated version of Worzel Gummidge?
Yes, we have a TV company who are prepared to play it. All we are doing now is negociating to try and get the money to make it. It’s immensely expensive. Animation is very expensive and so we are now touting for the money to get the programme properly made. We’re about halfway through it and I think it will come up alright.

You where in Doctor Who – The Ghosts Of N Space on Radio 2 recently. Where you disappointed by the huge delay in transmitting it?
Of course, one is disappointed by the delay in transmitting anything at the BBC. That’s the extraordinary thing. If that was in America and they realised the success of it and the enormous number of listeners that they had for the first one… and the sales were enormous. The first one we did, The Paradise Of Death, that was in the top ten. They told me that when I flew back from Spain. There where all these reporters and they said “do you know your in the top ten?” I said ‘what with, I haven’t made a pop record.’ They said “this isn’t with a pop record. This is with your Doctor Who tape. It’s been so enormously successful, they’ve sold so many that it has had to go into the charts.” So you would think the BBC would grab that and say ‘right, we’re going to make three more this year.’ I mean it’s just sitting up and begging to be a series, but no, no, no. It took months to get The Paradise Of Death on the air. Then they cocked up the repeat and played episode four twice. Then it was very successful and they said “yes we’re going to do another one.” But it took them nine months before they even agreed to make it.

You’ve got the second part of your autobiography coming out in November…
Well, it’s not really. It was supposed to be. I wanted to do it that way, but it’s worked out as being a Doctor Who book interspersed with things about me and my life. This is because the man who is writing it with me is very orientated towards Doctor Who – he has written lots of other Doctor Who books – his name is David Howe. I’m correcting it at the moment. It is not written in the style that you would say was my style, it’s more a collaboration between an expert biographer and me.

Are you happy to still be remembered for Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge?
Well, I can hardly be otherwise because I have never stopped working. I was doing things on television last month, I was doing things on radio last month, all of which are connected in a way because itís BBC science week. They think of science and they think of me.

Source: http://www.geocities.com/hollywood/hills/3086/jon.html