The Companion Chronicles range has certainly opened up a whole world of possibilities for companions of the First, Second and Third Doctors, and Purves has been working for them since 2007’s Mother Russia. And it sounds like the former Blue Peter presenter loves every second of it:
I love it. It really is the only acting I get to do these days, because as a television presenter, you really get sort of pigeon-holed, and there’s no way back to acting seriously. So I’m very pleased that they found me writeable for, you know?
He especially values the work of Simon Guerrier, whose first Doctor Who novel was The Time Travellers in 2005; one of the actor’s favourite tales, in fact, is last year’s The Anachronauts, with Jean Marsh. He says:
I love Jean, and we get on very well together. I love working with her.
Big Finish, however, are drawing The Companion Chronicles to a close this year – but they’ll be replaced by The Early Years, and Purves revealed that he’s part of the new range:
I’m doing two almost immediately. I’m doing one at the end of February, so that’s in a couple weeks time, with Maureen O’Brien, and I’m doing one at the beginning of March, just a couple weeks later, with Jean Marsh.
Sadly, very few episodes featuring Steven Taylor still completely survive, so we’re left with tales like The Ark and The Time Meddler, as well as the soundtracks of missing episodes, to see Peter in action. He notes that Big Finish has developed the character wonderfully:
I think he’s grown immensely during the time Big Finish [has] been dealing with him, because the writers have had the opportunity of fleshing him out more… I think he’s more three-dimensional now. I’ve learned more about the background now, and people like Simon Guerrier write wonderful accurate science, and the science involved in the story is pretty clever and pretty precise. And I think he’s developed Steven as a very plausible futuristic character, and that, for me, works.
Steven remains a popular character, so would Peter like to come back?
I’d love to, but it’s highly unlikely to happen.
You can find the full interview – in which Peter also squirms his way through reminiscing about that song in The Gunfighters – here. And don’t forget to read our own exclusive interview, in which he remembers William Hartnell and who he thinks compares to the First Doctor, the pressures of filming ‘as live,’ and his definitive Doctor.