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                  I SAW THE DOCTOR AS AN
                      INTERPLANETARY
                         CRUSADER
                             By Jon
                             Pertwee
It never occurred to me that I could ever be remotely considered for the

part of the Doctor. When Tenniel Evans, with whom I was playing in The Navy Lark, suggested I put myself up for the part, I thought it was an absurd idea. I was widely known as a radio and atage comedy actor and they would never take the suggestion seriously.

What then follwed was quite extraordinary. When my agent approaches the

BBC and that long silence on the phone was over, we were told that I was on their short list and had been ever since they wanted a replacement for Patrick Troughton.

When I was finally offered the part I said to Shaun Sutton, then head

of drama, "How do you want me to play it?" "As Jon Pertwee," he said, "just play it as yourself."

I then began to worry a little. The problem was, I didn't know who "me"

was. It was quite a frightening experience. There was I in my fiftieth year and I'd never really found myself in life. I'd always used another identity in every part I'd played, whether it be by the use of a funny vioce or by hiding behind a pair of spectacles. Consequently I found it difficult at first and we were well into the first season before I really started to relax. So, for helping me to realise who Jon Pertwee is, I owe a lot to Doctor Who.

The impact it made on my career was immense. I saw the Doctor as an

interplanetary crusader and it was this dashing Pied Piper image that appealed to me. I could spread my cloak, take the Earth under my wing and say, "It's all right now. . . I'll deal with this." The basic key to the programme's success is that it is pure escapism. What can be better than to drift away to another world in another time and forget about the pressures of everyday life?

We were such a heppy team. I'm a great believer in making people feel

at home, and we sometimes behaved outrageously on the set. In fact, during my first season, I was taken quietly to one side by the producer who was under the impression I wasn't taking the job seriously. But, of course, I was. It was just my way of working.

In a technical show like Doctor Who, things can frequently go wrong

during a recording, whereupon I would usually stop immediately. But I remember one marvellous scene from "The Mind of Evil" when Roger Delgado pulled a gun on me and, in the struggle that followed, we accidentally knocked a jug of water on to the studio floor. It practically turned into a sheet of ice. Roger and I both fell over. Neither of us could stay perpendicular and we kept scrambling for the gun. I was about to stop then I imagined the producer up in the box saying "Go on! Don't stop!" So we carried on, and apparently the whole scene looked superb.

Jon Pertwee

                                             November 1982

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