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Old-timer Jon lands a job with Mrs T!

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FEARING the fervour that drives people to dress in lime-pickle and tin-foil to mimic their favourite villains, I've carefully avoided evenings with sci-fi fanatics.

Even a Dr Who convention, I suspected, must carry the menace that in some back room mad Whoists work themselves into a Dalek-worshipping frenzy by beating their heads with sink-plungers and egg-whisks.

But though my own involvement with Dr Who stopped, age 10, when I came out from behind the sofa, my heart went out to dedicated followers of the Time Lord when spawning songs like Take Me to the Tardis Gras:1 Lost My Heart on Alpha Centauri 17; and I'm Gonna Wash That Cyberman Right Out of my Hair.

And if things got that bad, would Jon Pertwee have to leave his Putney home for a safe-home while Geoffrey Howe and Margaret Thatcher issued a statement to the effect that the Dr Who musical "is a thoroughly bad egg but free time travel must be preserved"?

This scenario is not worth a nightmare for any serious Dr Who fan. Some would argue that time trawl would never be free under this Government, and even do was. the 1812 from Waterloo would Mill collide with the 1815 from Moscow.

The soothing news for all Whoists does, however, involve Mrs Thatcher. The show, which is not a musical though it harbours two songs for the Doctor's assistants. Jason and Crystal, brings back the much favoured Peewee and surrounds him with special effects.

The Doctor is summoned to Downing Street to discuss the abduction of an American peace envoy (the vice-president in an earlier draft) with Mrs Thatcher. Not surprisingly, the plot thickens.

Terrance Dicks, writer of most of the Pertwee era episodes between 1968 and 1974 and author of more than 50 Dr Who books. thought hard about the choice of the vice-president for the new stage plot.

"We didn't really feel Dan Quayle was right for it so we settled on a peace envoy, a sort of Kissinger figure," he said.

"Well, if Alan Bennett can have the Queen on stage in his play, then we can have the Prime Minister," he added.

Jon Pertwee, delighted with the idea of bringing Mrs Thatcher into the story, will be dealing with some of the Doctor's funniest ever lines. On meeting the PM, he declares "I know that Cyberman," and on leaving No 10 he announces, "I've fought everything in the cosmos from dinosaurs to Deletes, but quite frankly that woman terrifies me."

"It ought to get a laugh. If it doesn't something's wrong, bad timing, perhaps," said Jon.

Dr Who watchers are familiar with the suspense coated every Saturday evening when the Doctor, his assistants, and occasionally the universe itself, face threat which isn't going to go away until the following Saturday. How will this element of the television series transfer to the stage? "It's no different from when I did The Five Doctors on TV," said Terrance.

"That was a 90-minute piece. You just compress it and pace your climaxes throughout the piece. You don't have to wait for next week to see the result," he continued.

But won't audiences be confused to find one Doctor (Pertwee) on stage, whilst another (Sylvester McCoy) is playing the Doctor on television?

"You just have to look at it as a son of parallel universe," said Terrance. "I always take the line that not everything the Doctor does has been seen on the TV screen. He has adventures between the adventures that we've seen and since the Doctor treks Stage bared.

through time and space, somewhere there is Jon Pertwee Doctor. They all co-exist in a way in some space-time continuum." he concluded.

Regular audiences at Wimbledon Theatre, where Dr Who — The Ultimate Adventure begins its 11-week national tour on Thursday (23), should not have too much difficulty with the concept of a parallel universe. In recent times, after all, Wimbledon has asked its audiences to countenance everything from quantum physics in Tom Stoppard'a Hapgood, to the choice of Christopher Timothy as the nicest panto villain ever (Captain Hook) in Peter Pan.

There remains the hope that audiences will not confuse the Doctor with Jon Pertwee's equally famous alter-ego, Worzel Gummidge.

Jon, fit as any fiddle approaching its 70th birthday, decided to take up the Doctor's cloak again three months ago.

He enjoys touring up to a point, aims to swim every day, and atilt water skis in the finer climates.

"If I was a much younger man with a long career ahead of me I probably would have thought twice about doing it. But what the heck, I'm Dr Who, everybody knows that, and if I walk down the street people recognise me and say 'Hello Doctor'," said Jon.

"Others say Hello Worzel," he added.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1989-03-17). Old-timer Jon lands a job with Mrs T!. The Kingston Informer p. 20.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Old-timer Jon lands a job with Mrs T!." The Kingston Informer [add city] 1989-03-17, 20. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Old-timer Jon lands a job with Mrs T!." The Kingston Informer, edition, sec., 1989-03-17
  • Turabian: "Old-timer Jon lands a job with Mrs T!." The Kingston Informer, 1989-03-17, section, 20 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Old-timer Jon lands a job with Mrs T! | url=! | work=The Kingston Informer | pages=20 | date=1989-03-17 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Old-timer Jon lands a job with Mrs T! | url=! | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>