Sean Pertwee: It would be an honour to play my dad’s version of the Doctor

The son of the Third Doctor talks about growing up with the Tardis, and what parenting lessons Alfred could use in Gotham


You know Sean Pertwee as the hard-as-nails butler Alfred in Gotham, and you probably know his father Jon by a different name: the Doctor. Plenty of people put on a Doctor Who costume for Hallowe’en, but few do it as well as this


“I had had a couple of sherberts and I was on my way out,” Pertwee explained to

“I had a bit of a panic because Hallowe’en is a huge thing over here. So I’ve got a cape, and I found a wig over the road, and I borrowed some stuff from the wardrobe department, one of these shirts, and I stuck it on and couldn’t believe it. Bang!

“Apparently I ‘won’ Hallowe’en.” 

The image went viral, and was followed by this magnificent Photoshop

Sean was a big fan. 

“This guy got my dad’s hair and stuck it on my grill! The extraordinary thing is my mum said ‘I can’t remember that picture at all’,’ and I had to say ‘no, it’s me’. I’m definitely growing into his nose.” 

Well, they say we’re all destined to become our parents. Speaking of which, many fans find Sean’s paternal cosplay so convincing, they want Sean to reprise the role of the Doctor. Would he consider it? 

“It would be an honour, but I think I would be completely terrified,“ he explained. “They’re large boots to fill. My dad would have absolutely split his sides if I did that, I’m laughing just thinking of his reaction.”

“Doctor Who was a huge thing in my life, but the thing is my father was just an actor. I was surrounded by extrodinary people all my life. The people he was interested in weren’t actors, they were artists, pirates, smugglers, butchers, florists, whatever. My recollection of being brought up by my dad was in Ibiza, so I remember this idyllic bohemian lifestyle.”

It’s a far cry from the seedy world of Gotham, where Alfred is expected to bring up a young, orphaned Bruce Wayne… and not doing a brilliant job at it. 

“If you were the richest man in the world like Thomas Wayne, why would you have an East Ender as a butler? It’s because a lot of people in the security services go into personal protection. It’s Alfred Pennyworth who Thomas entrusts with his most precious belonging: his son. Alfred never needed to be a father, he never wanted to be a father.”

Nevertheless, this series will see Alfred take more readily to his new role, which could be a double-edged sword.

“He’s more responsible and more of a father figure than just a guardian,” Pertwee explains. “Alfred is really Bruce’s enabler, and you’ll see more of that this season. Put it this way: Alfred will definitely start to train Bruce.” 

That doesn’t sound like the healthiest of relationships, but there is at least one crossover between Alfred and Sean’s own father:

“One similarity I find quite strange is our Alfred is a man of action, and my Dad was the action Doctor Who.”

Whether they’re dressing up as a bat or the Doctor, the apple never falls far from the tree.


Gotham Season One is out on Blu-ray and DVD today. Season Two is coming soon