"I did all sorts. Teaching commandos how to use escapology equipment, compasses in brass buttons, secret maps in white cotton handkerchiefs, pipes you could smoke that also fired a .22 bullet. All sorts of incredible things. It suited me perfectly as I have always loved gadgets."John Devon Roland "Jon" Pertwee (1919-1996) was an English actor best known as the Third Doctor in Doctor Who, Pertwee from The Navy Lark, the title character in Worzel Gummidge and Captain Thrice in the first series of Lavender Castle. He was also an actual spy, working undercover for Winston Churchill and alongside Ian Fleming, a fact he managed to keep hidden all his life and which finally came to light in 2013. Like his predecessor as the Doctor, Pertwee died of a heart attack while visiting the United States. His last TV appearance was in a Vodafone commercial for the UK, as a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of the Doctor.He was a huge fanboy of action movies and cool vehicles, which is why his tenure as the Doctor was essentially a serialised action movie. He eventually decided to leave the show after the departures of script editor Terrance Dicks, producer Barry Letts, and Katy Manning (Jo Grant), which happened around the same time as the death of Roger Delgado (The Master). He fulfilled the last year of his contract and developed a good working relationship with new companion Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane), and left at the end of Doctor Who's 11th season in 1974. At 5 Seasons over 4½ years in the role (1970-1974), he is currently the Doctor with the second-longest continuous televised tenure after Tom Baker.He was the only Doctor (so far) who came up with his own sung Theme Song, titled "Who is the Doctor?". He also commissioned the Fan Nicknamed "Whomobile", which was used in two episodes and kept by Pertwee as his private Improbably Cool Car. After the classic series ended, he played the Doctor in the Third Doctor Radio Dramas (one of which actually used the word "Whomobile" in-story). He appeared once more as the Doctor in a fan project called Devious, which has inexplicably been in Development Hell since 1995.
— Talking about his actual real life as a British spy
Tropes associated with this actor include:
- Born Lucky: Early in the war, Pertwee was assigned as a crewman on HMS Hood. He was transferred to officer training right before the ship left for her fatal encounter with the German battleship Bismarck, in which only three crewmen survived.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Like many British military men of the time, Pertwee was at best apathetic toward the French. He once met with a French official for an interview toward the end of the War; thinking it was going to be a liaison position with de Gaulle's Free French(whom he actively disliked) he did everything possible to screw up the process. When it turned out that he didn't get the job, Pertwee confessed to Ian Fleming (his superior) that he'd deliberately bollocksed the interview. Fleming, in Pertwee's words, then called him "a blithering idiot", and told him the interview had actually been about a job in Tahiti.
- Cool Car: The Whomobile. Unlike Bessie, the Whomobile was his (as in, Jon Pertwee, the actor) personally customized wheels.
- "I Am" Song: "Who is the Doctor?", which he performed in-character as the Third Doctor.
- Large Ham: Not so much as the Doctor or Worzel Gummidge, but his guest role on The Goodies shows he could munch scenery with the best of them. Chief Petty Officer Pertwee, on the other hand, was, like everyone else on The Navy Lark, a gourmet diner of scenery.
- Look Both Ways: Did an advert for the Green Cross Code, or "Splink".
- Parental Substitute: John Levene had grown up in an abusive household, but when he began co-starring with Pertwee in Doctor Who as Sgt. Benton, the older actor became quite fond of Levene and took him under his wing. Shortly before Pertwee's death, Levene told him he'd been more of a father to Levene than Levene's own father had ever been.