Now, we all knew Peter Capaldi was a Doctor Who fan as child – his incessant letters to Radio Timesand the BBC about the series should probably have been a clue – but as it turns out, he might have been an even bigger Whovian than we ever imagined.
“He used to run my father’s fan club, the Scottish Doctor Who fan club when he was about 12,” Pertwee told RadioTimes.com while on the promotional tour for Channel 5 Batman prequel Gotham, in which he plays Alfred.
“In fact, I found a photograph which I’ll be Instagramming, which my sister sent me of him.”
He added: “The thing is like with Peter, to actually face up to your boyhood dream, it must be eye-opening for you. And I think he’s done a fantastic job, and he’s a genius actor and one of the most delightful men ever.”
And that delightfulness was most displayed, Pertwee told us, when Capaldi first got the opportunity to play the Doctor in 2013.
“When he got the role he was very kind to my family when my father passed away, and for him to incorporate odes and nods and doffs of the hat to my father meant an awful lot to me,” he said.
“From the lining to the stance to the gestures and things like that, meant an awful lot.
“But I did actually ask him when he got the job, I said, ‘What are you going to do with it?’ and he went ‘I don’t know!’”
Of course, these days Pertwee has something of his own Gotham fan club to worry about, with the US series soon to enter its third series. How does he manage the pressure of meeting such a passionate audience?
“Meeting fans of my father at some of these conventions who have now had children who grew up watching my father and now watch me, they go “Oh my God!” like that,” the actor said.
“The fans have been extraordinary, and we’ve been going to quite a few of the sort of conventions and things like that. And of course people have very definite ideas of the characters and how they should be. But to be now respected in our interpretations in these roles is one of the most flattering experiences I’ve ever had.
“It is an extraordinary thing for people to recognise me as Alfred, and treat me with a kind of respect. Like I’m some kinda like hard nut, which I’m not, I’m just pretending.”
He concluded: “Listen – there’s very few English characters in the superhero canon. And there’s very few men that have played the legendary role of Alfred Pennyworth.
“Yeah, I’m just absolutely honoured to be allowed to play this role at the tender age of 52. You don’t often get opportunities like that, much less to play someone who is much loved like Alfred.”