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Who's that man! (1989)

1989-04-10 Liverpool Echo.jpg



THE Tardis has landed!

Inside, even allowing for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, is a chap of three-score years plus ten.

Moses? Nope.

Who? Yes Who.

It's none other than the Doctor, looking for all the world like he used to look years ago. And looking even more like Jon Pertwee.

"I've never really been away," says the voice that launched a thousand space ships. "What with all the conventions in America and elsewhere."

I congratulate him on a Particularly tricky landing in Lime Street, given that it is distinctly April 1989 and full of rush-hour traffic.

Inside the Empire Theatre. the Daleks await, as do the Cybermen. But not to worry. For this coming week of intergalactic hypertension, the Doctor has two regulation Assistants and the help of a nonhuman Zog.

It's 25 years (by our own pathetic time-measuring ability) since the Time Lord first agreed to grace our television sets. And 14 years since he looked like Jon Pertwee.

This was perhaps his most popular guise, so much so, that the Doctor now agrees to do interviews as Jon Pertwee ...

He speaks: "I was at the Playhouse years ago, you know. When the legendary William Armstrong was in charge.

"You did weekly rep in those days, which meant you learned a play one week and did it the next while starting to learn another.

"But the worst combination was twice-nightly, twice-weekly rep — with matinees. Work that one out. We did that at Brighton. You learned your lines by a form of self-hypnosis."

So this show will be a doddle?

"Oh no. I am only off-stage for two or three minutes in more than two hours. There's a lot of dashing around — and, of course, there are the advancing years.'

The Doctor will be seen in conjunction with what's officially described as "state of the art stage techniques": that means lasers, video and computer drawing and flying effects.

Funny, then, how Jon Pertwee, son of Roland a noted playwright and screenwriter; brother of playwright Michael and cousin of actor and comedian Bill, began his career in the days before steam radio.

And then, when wireless entered the popular consciousness appeared in programmes such as Waterlogged Spa with Eric Barker Up the Pole with Jimmy Jewel — and Ben Warriss, before becoming the founder of The Navy. Lark, the world's longest running radio comedy series.

"It went on for 20 years. The repeats are still broadcast on the World Service, as it doesn't date that much."

No wonder the Doctor admires his alter ego: there's no challenge too great for Pertwee, the "Man of a Thousand Voices."

He even appeared riding a motor cycle in an Ice Show. But, concedes the Doctor, Pertwee's greatest test was Worzel Gummidge.

"Most definitely the hardest role of all, with so many character facets to combine, quite apart from getting into the costume and preparing the make-up.

So of all the 20th century entertainment mediums, which does Mr Pertwee prefer?

"From a comfort point of view, films, with short scenes. But cabaret is excellent too. A sort of Danny Kaye act, still popular in Canada and Australia.

"But in England, cabaret audiences have forgotten how to behave. They can be so ill-mannered."

What about 'greatness?'

The Doctor assures me that Jon Pertwee never wanted to do Shakespeare, even before he "became culty" as other things. And he had travelled so much as a hobby, that some things had passed him by anyway.

He had been offered a part in the new Lloyd Webber musical, Aspects of Love, but had declined on the grounds of not thinking himself suitable for the pitch of the score.

This left a gap, which is why the Doctor agreed to take on his likeness for the present tour.

There was even talk of doing a version in Australia, with Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue as Assistants, but they were so busy with pop music, that had to be kicked into touch for a while.

Even so, the Doctor only plans to look like Jon Pertwee until June. "After that, I'm not quite sure about the appearance. It may well be exactly like another of the television manifestations.

We'll keep you posted ...

Caption: Changing faces ... Jon Pertwee as himself (left) as Worzel Gummidge and In his Time Lord disguise as Dr Who

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  • APA 6th ed.: Riley, Joe (1989-04-10). Who's that man!. Liverpool Echo p. 7.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Riley, Joe. "Who's that man!." Liverpool Echo [add city] 1989-04-10, 7. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Riley, Joe. "Who's that man!." Liverpool Echo, edition, sec., 1989-04-10
  • Turabian: Riley, Joe. "Who's that man!." Liverpool Echo, 1989-04-10, section, 7 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who's that man! | url=! | work=Liverpool Echo | pages=7 | date=1989-04-10 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 January 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who's that man! | url=! | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 January 2019}}</ref>