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A lot depends on 'Who'

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1974-01-06 Sunday Independent.jpg


Jon Pertwee was looking every inch "Dr. Who" when we met. He was wearing a frilly shirt, high boots, white and colored velvet jacket and a "batman" type black coat. "Nice of you to put on the full gear for me," I said and thereby dropped the king size brick.

"These," said Mr. Pertwee loftily, is six feet two inches bridling slightly, "are the clothes I always wear. I dressed like this long before anyone had ever thought of "Dr. Who.',"

The cloak is his grandfather's Inverness cape, carefully retrieved from an attic. Jon Pertwee swished it imposingly around him. "It's a darn sight warmer and more comfortable than an overcoat."

A youthful 54, excitement is the essence of life to Jon Pertwee, and he craves constant adventure. Anything that holds an element of risk draws him like a magnet.

"See this ring," he said, looking at me to see how gullible I was, "it was made about 650 B.C." Even allowing for the impossibility of that date, the ring certainly looked pretty old and battered. Regular viewers of Dr. Who should look out for it on Jon's little finger and also for the piece of eight, bearing the date 1630, which he wears round his neck.

"I've done a lot," says Jon, "except be an impressionist. In spite of all my 'voices' - and I used to use 42 different ones in 'Waterlogged Spa' - they weren't imitations. I adapt them from people I know.

"The 'er, er, ym, um-er, um stutter is taken from the lady who used to serve in my school tuck shop. She used to try a terribly hard to remember everybody's name as we all surged in for our daily bun and bottle of pop, and she'd mumble away to herself and she honestly couldn't go on saying 'er' 'um any longer, and she'd shout 'Next'."

Commander High Price, my confidential spy, is based on my cousin. Cousin Hugh has a slight impediment to the roof of his mouth and he speaks quietly and confidently to you as if every word were top secret. So I 'borrowed' him."

Jon loves every minute of being Dr. Who.

"It's just me being allowed to wallow in all the fantasies I want to," he says. "Many of the gadgets and gimmicks are my ideas. I thought it would be splendid to have a two-man hovercraft that folded up and could be carried by a car - and they've made one for me in the series.

"I've also had my own Dr. Who car built, with an ejector seat and every gadget I can dream up. It's jet-propelled and can take to the air when I Press a button."

He thought he would be the last person considered suitable for the part of Dr. Who, when Patrick Troughton left the cast.

"When my agent suggested I try for the part I laughed and his face. Then I started to think of what a game I could have slipping through time and playing with the Daleks, and I became interested. When I was selected the producer told me that two years earlier he marked me as a possible Dr. Who. I still can't think why."

Jon, who has two children, a 12 year old daughter, and a son of nine, is married to a German girl. He is very proud of the fact that after only 12 years in this country should master the English language so well that she has just had her first novel except for publication.

"I corrected the grammar here and there, but what amazed me most was her ability to commit her thoughts to paper so cleverly. The book is called 'Together' - and it's about sex, violence, death and degradation - and I suspect there some of me and it too. Ingebord would love it, to be filmed eventually, so I've done some advance casting for her. I thought we had Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch for a start....."

Caption: Jon Pertwee and Dalek

Spelling correction: Ingeborg

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  • APA 6th ed.: Marriott, Valeen (1974-01-06). A lot depends on 'Who'. Sunday Independent p. 13.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Marriott, Valeen. "A lot depends on 'Who'." Sunday Independent [add city] 1974-01-06, 13. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Marriott, Valeen. "A lot depends on 'Who'." Sunday Independent, edition, sec., 1974-01-06
  • Turabian: Marriott, Valeen. "A lot depends on 'Who'." Sunday Independent, 1974-01-06, section, 13 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=A lot depends on 'Who' | url= | work=Sunday Independent | pages=13 | date=1974-01-06 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=9 August 2020 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=A lot depends on 'Who' | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=9 August 2020}}</ref>