We hope, as a Doctor Who fan, or a casual fan, or someone who has an interest in science fiction that you know who Jon Pertwee is. If you’re young or if this is your first year getting to know Doctor Who then don’t panic, you have years to discover the actor who portrayed the Third Doctor so magnificently in the early 1970’s. In fact, if you want to discover more about the man himself (and not only was his brilliant but also hilariously funny as well) then now is the right time, as a reprint of his autobiography has just been released for the first time in 27 years.
Pertwee was not only a comedian but also proved to audiences, largely through playing the Third Doctor, that he was an amazing actor as well. He brought his incarnation of the Doctor to life with Venusian Aikido, vigorous rubbing of his neck, an anti-establishment agenda and a warm and friendly smile. His autobiography, Moon Boots and Dinner Suits chronicles his life and career:
Jon Pertwee’s acting career began with a public performance at the age of 4. He seems to have been expelled from most of the schools his actor-writer father Roland Pertwee sent him to and finally joined RADA in 1936. From there too, he was asked to leave. Jon went into Rep and had a checkered career. In Brighton, panic set in when he dressed as an old gardener in Love from a Stranger instead of as a young cleric in Candida.
In 1938 came Jon’s first radio role in the BBC’s Lillibulero, in which year he also appeared in his father’s play, To Kill a Cat, directed by Henry Kendall at the Aldwych Theatre. When war came he joined the Navy, ramming Douglas Pier with an Isle of Man Stream Packet boat. He was blown up twice, once being put on a marble slab presumed dead, and spent many months stationed in the Scapa Flow. He was the founder of the Service Players in the Isle of Man. He was commissioned in the RNVR and transferred to Naval Intelligence where he worked and became good friends with the future Prime Minister James Callaghan. Then Jon joined Naval Broadcasting. His radio series, The Navy Lark, ran for eighteen years and produced some truly vintage memories of radio.
Whether telling stories of a misspent youth, of his posterior’s first painful introduction to a fives bat or his exploits with the McKenzie sisters in the north of Scotland, Jon Pertwee’s humour and natural wit never fail him. Moon Boots and Dinner Suits is a wry, funny and endearing portrait of the early years of a most innovative and well-loved actor
This paperback is available from all good bookshops and online retailers now; you can get a copy for only £12.99 from Forbidden Planet!