Jon Pertwee always fancied having his own blue plaque – preferably during his lifetime! – his daughter Dariel jokingly revealed yesterday. Well now, 20 years after his death, he finally does have one, thanks to the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. They’ve arranged for a plaque to go up permanently in his honour at the New Wimbledon Theatre.
It’s a fitting location. Over the decades Pertwee appeared in various productions at this south London theatre, including, famously, a successful Doctor Who stage show in 1989, for which he re-created the role of the third Doctor that he’d first played in the 70s.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the DWAS and they’re delighted to pay homage to the man who was the society’s first Honorary President, and who still commands a legion of fans two decades after he died in 1996, aged 76.
At a starry gathering on Sunday 23 October, Pertwee’s old friend Colin Baker (the sixth Doctor and the DWAS’s current Honorary President) was asked to MC the proceedings. He read out citations from actors who couldn’t attend such as Jim Dale and even Peter Capaldi, who called Pertwee “a hero for ever”.
Colin invited the guests of honour, Jon’s daughter Dariel and widow Ingeborg (pictured above), to unveil the plaque. (His son Sean unfortunately couldn’t make the event; he’s tied up filming Gotham in America.)
Many of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who chums had time-travelled to be there: principally, Katy Manning who played his adorable companion Jo Grant; John Levene and Richard Franklin who played Unit soldiers Sgt Benton and Captain Mike Yates; 1970s lead writer/script editor Terrance Dicks; directors Timothy Combe, Michael Ferguson and Graeme Harper; as well as actors well known to Who fans – Peter Miles, Stephen Thorne, Bernard Holley, David Banks and Prentis Hancock.
Also in the building were Who aficionado and Dead Ringers star Jon Culshaw and many senior comedy greats: June Whitfield, Barry Cryer, Fenella Fielding, Lorraine Chase, Derek Griffiths and Judy Cornwell.
Barry Cryer (above with Jon Culshaw) recalled Jon Pertwee with great fondness, telling RT: “I wrote a flop he was in. A revue. We toured all over the place and then got a booking at the Duchess Theatre in London. I got crucified by the critics but Jon stayed loyal to me. He could have thought, ‘I’m out of here. It’s a flop.’ But no, he said, ‘I’m sticking with you, Baz.’ He was the only one of the original cast who stayed. Dear Pertwee stuck with me. You don’t forget loyalty like that.” Then Barry lifted a glass to his absent friend. “Cheers, Jon!”
Here are some photos from the day and rarities from the Radio Times Archive.
(With thanks to Don Smith and RT repro expert Ian Crabb)