Sunday, 20 May 2012

Why I love Jon Pertwee The Third Doctor by @Via_The_Void

I first became a fan of Doctor Who during the Peter Davison era.  However although Davison was my favourite Doctor when I was growing up, and still is to a certain extent, I am rather fond of Jon Pertwee's portrayal in the role.

Jon just exudes class on screen.  He was debonair, charismatic, an action hero and a delight to watch.  No other Doctor has made such an impact on my life than Jon Pertwee's Doctor.  Like many Who fans I've been carefully weaned on a diet of BBC Doctor Who videos.  Can you imagine already being a fan of Doctor Who and having your favourite Doctor (Peter Davison) and then as you explore the many adventures from the previous era's of the show gradually coming to love and appreciate those who used to have control of the TARDIS!  That's how it was for me.

What I also love about Jon's portrayal of the Doctor, is that despite coming from a comedic background he played and took the role extremely seriously and I respect and applaud that decision.  There were still moment of humour, but I always felt safe when I was watching a Third Doctor story, the only time I didn't feel safe, for obvious reasons was the final episode of Planet of the Spiders.  It's heartbreaking for me to watch Pertwee's last adventure as so may of the shows lead stars are no longer with us.

My first BBC video was The Day of the Daleks, the compilation version shown above, it's a classic in my opinion and not just because Jon's in it but because of the dynamic and charisma the Third Doctor has with his companion Jo Grant, ably played by Katy Manning.  Katy and Jon's warmth and friendship together really shows on screen and it is testament to how well we remember that Third Doctor and Jo partnership.  The story also features those other stalwarts of the Pertwee era - UNIT, led by the much missed Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier.

What I love so much about the Pertwee era is it is very much grounded in reality when the Doctor is exiled to Earth.  There was also some thought provoking stories during this time in the series history, The Green Death stands out particularly for it's environmental issues.  Other stories stretched the format of the show like most of the early seven parters of his very first season, even the classic story The Daemons, which is the only story during the entire run to be a five parter!

This era of the show has a few notable firsts for Doctor Who.  Number One of course is the appearances of the Doctor's arch villain the Master, played superbly by Roger Delgado.  We also discover that the Doctor has two hearts in his debut adventure!  And we first hear the name of the Doctor's home planet in The Time Warrior.  Favourite stories of mine from Jon's era include The Curse of Peladon, Inferno, The Sea Devils and Planet of the Daleks.

For me Jon Pertwee will always be the Doctor.  Through the delights of the BBC Worldwide DVD range, I have come to love and appreciate his time on the show even more.  No disrespect to the other actors to have played the role, but I will always have a deep fondness for the Third Doctor.  Jon Pertwee was a terrific actor and just lights up the screen whenever he appears.  I still feel really sad that he is no longer with us.  I always feel devastated whenever we lose someone from his era.  Why?  I hear you ask.  Simply put for me the Pertwee era is really special to me.  The loss of both Nicholas Courtney and Elisabeth Sladen last year was really heartbreaking for me.

What is interesting is how much this era of Doctor Who has influenced the show we watch today.  Russell T. Davies has said that the first 2005 series was an update of the Pertwee format of the series, that is obvious now when we remember that the Autons featured in the series debut Rose, just like Spearhead From Space many years ago.  Steven Moffat is now building on the strengths handed down from people like Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks.

What a truly unique television series Doctor Who is.  All the actors to have played the role have been tremendous, but I do love Jon Pertwee in the role, as I'm sure many of you reading this article have your own favourite Doctor.  The programme will unfortunately outlive all of them, but they will never ever be truly gone from our hearts and minds, or indeed our DVD players.

Please support the Official BBC Worldwide Doctor Who DVD releases.  Just to remind everyone that the next one up is Death to the Daleks, I shall definitely be getting that one!


  1. Before I started watching the old Whos I read several histories and was prepared to not like the 3rd Doctor but wound up liking him a lot. He was quite a presence and his relationship with Jo was touching, especially in the last year.
    I've been watching the 5th Doctor and haven't been too impressed but with Frontios I see a difference in his performance.

  2. I agree with you.... I mainly watched the modern Doctor Who's but recently me and my girlfriend have started watching the old ones starting with William.

    We're are currently on Pertwee and, when i think about it, it'll break my heart when he dies.... I love this Doctor so much, i can't imagine him being gone =-(