Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Early harum scarum days

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1985-04-25 Stage and Television Today.jpg


Moon Boots and Dinner Suits, by Jon Pertwee (Elm Tree Books, £8.95)

Jon Pertwee has proved to be one of our most enduring and endearing actors. Now 65, he has seldom been out of work since he was demobilised in 1945, by which time he had already established himself in services radio shows.

As it happens, however, this book says virtually nothing about Pertwee the actor and comedian, for it is concerned mainly with his childhood and adolescence, with just a little about his early harum-scarum days as a young actor, and with his war service, which was the usual mixture of tragedy and farce as for so many of his generation.

This is not to say that it is not a good, breezy read, very much like the man himself, who often gives the impression of putting "enjoying life" at the top of his list of priorities. Despite a strong theatrical background — his father was the well-known actor and playwright Roland Pertwee, his aunts the dinsinguished actresses Decima and Eva Moore, the latter being the mother of Jill Esmond, Laurence Olivier's first wife — he took up acting because he was better at it than any academic subject and he seems to have been a candidate for the world's worst scholar.

He and his brother Michael, also a playrwight, had a generally happy childlhood in spite of his father's three marriages, and he was unperturbed by fairly frequent changes of home and, for that matter, of school. His naval service likewise appears to have been a chapter of disasters, though he did eventually become an officer, finding his niche in radio alongside people like David Jacobs, then an ordinary seaman.

As this book ends with World War II, there is presumably scope for at least one further volume which will bring us to "Doctor Who" and "Worzel Gummidge".

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  • APA 6th ed.: Hepple, Peter (1985-04-25). Early harum scarum days. The Stage and Television Today p. 40.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Hepple, Peter. "Early harum scarum days." The Stage and Television Today [add city] 1985-04-25, 40. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Hepple, Peter. "Early harum scarum days." The Stage and Television Today, edition, sec., 1985-04-25
  • Turabian: Hepple, Peter. "Early harum scarum days." The Stage and Television Today, 1985-04-25, section, 40 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Early harum scarum days | url= | work=The Stage and Television Today | pages=40 | date=1985-04-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=31 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Early harum scarum days | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=31 March 2023}}</ref>