Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Time Lord Immemorial

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1996-06-03 Who Weekly.jpg


The seemingly invincible Jon Pertwee, the most beloved Dr Who, succumbs to a heart attack

IN HIS TRADEMARK TV ROLE OF SCI-FI Time Lord Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee was the ultimate survivor, getting the better in battles with Daleks, killer shop-window dummies, Cybermen and giant spiders. Beneath his natty purple velvet smoking jacket, Dr Who was the lucky owner of two hearts and could regenerate himself into a new body. But as a mortal, Pertwee—who was master of the travelling police box TARDIS from 1970 until 1974 and was watched in the UK alone by an average of 8 million viewers a week—ran out of real time on May 20.

The 76-year-old actor died of a heart attack at a friend's home in Connecticut, USA. Pertwee and his German-born second wife, Ingeborg, 58, were on a two-week holiday. Inge, a writer whose children with Pertwee—Dariel, 33, and Sean, 32—are both actors, is "very upset", Jo Evans, Pertwee's assistant of 35 years, told the UK's Daily Express. "Jon had heart problems but he saw a specialist in London only recently and he was given the OK."

John Devon Roland Pertwee was born into London showbiz on July 7 1919. His father, Roland, was a playwright and sometime actor and his mother, Avice, was an actress. "I took it for granted," Pertwee—whose 1955 marriage to actress Jean Marsh broke up after a year—once said of the family career, "which is maybe why I've never taken it seriously enough." In the late 1930s he was expelled from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for refusing to play a "Greek wind" but made his name in 1958 in the BBC radio comedy The Navy Lark. It ran for 18 years, helping his film career—in an interview last year with WHO WEEKLY, he calculated he had been in 164 movies, including three Carry Ons—and leading to TV roles as Dr Who and Worzel Gummidge in the children's show of the same name.

A real-life action man who loved scuba diving and motorbikes—he did a stint as a Wall of Death circus rider —Pertwee said he appreciated Dr Who's "use of gadgetry", such as the sonic screwdriver. In the 1950s his white Chevrolet had an electric roof and often towed a waterski speedboat. He kept a moped at his holiday home in Majorca, Spain, and an electric bicycle at the regency-style, three-storey house in which he lived with Inge in London's Putney. Inge said he was irresistible to women at parties. "If I thought they were taking too much interest," she once told the Daily Mirror, "I would shout over to him and tell him it was time for his heart tablets."

In constant demand for sci-fi conventions, Pertwee told London's Radio Times he would be keen to play Dr Who again, "but only as a guest character. I might find kicking somebody under the chin difficult nowadays." He and Inge were due back in Britain on May 23 to continue his stage show, Who Is Jon Pertwee? "Actors don't retire," he said recently. "They fade away ... I want to peter out, not rust out."

Caption: "The Daleks were terrible," said Pertwee (on the Who set). "You only had to go down two flights of stairs and you had them screwed."

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  • APA 6th ed.: Halfpenny, Kate (1996-06-03). Time Lord Immemorial. Who Weekly p. 40.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Halfpenny, Kate. "Time Lord Immemorial." Who Weekly [add city] 1996-06-03, 40. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Halfpenny, Kate. "Time Lord Immemorial." Who Weekly, edition, sec., 1996-06-03
  • Turabian: Halfpenny, Kate. "Time Lord Immemorial." Who Weekly, 1996-06-03, section, 40 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Time Lord Immemorial | url= | work=Who Weekly | pages=40 | date=1996-06-03 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Time Lord Immemorial | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024}}</ref>