BBC Radio will mark the centenary of Jon Pertwee’s birth with a unique programme, hosted by his son Sean.

Featuring rare audio of the Doctor Who star, The Jon Pertwee Files is presented by his son Sean Pertwee. Broadcast this coming weekend, it marks a fitting celebration of Jon Pertwee’s birth on the 7th of July, 1919.

In the programme, Sean traces his father’s entire career in broadcasting, including his iconic five-year stint as the Doctor.

Through rare fan recordings made behind-the-scenes at television studios and at the first ever Doctor Who Appreciation Society Convention, we hear previously unbroadcast stories and a very personal insight into the world’s longest running science fiction show.

But the programme also uses other long lost and rare recordings to look at his wider career – beginning with Pertwee being expelled from several schools and then even being asked to leave Rada.

In rediscovered interviews, Pertwee reminisces about the time he worked at the circus riding the wall of death with a pet lion, before eventually securing his first contract with the BBC at the age of 18. Pertwee devised some very memorable characters through his ability to show vast vocal range. Many successful years in radio comedy included a lengthy stint in The Navy Lark, which secured his status as a household name.

The documentary also features the last time Pertwee performed as Worzel Gummidge alongside Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally. This recording was left untouched for over 25 years and was located during the making of the celebration. There are also rediscovered recordings of Pertwee undergoing the complicated make-up process during the making of the series, and visiting a local radio station to take phone calls from enthusiastic children
wanting to speak to Worzel.

Presenting the special, Sean Pertwee is not just Jon Pertwee’s son but a highly regarded actor his own right with roles in the likes of Gotham and Dog Soldiers. Of The Jon Pertwee Files, he says, “I think my father would like to be remembered not just for his cult TV programmes, but for his whole body of work. And most of all, he’d like to be remembered as an extraordinary man, which he was.”

As beloved as ever, a century on

The Jon Pertwee Files is just one of several celebrations of what would have been the actor’s hundredth birthday. This month’s Doctor Who Magazine, on sale now, devotes an epic thirty pages to his life and career, including an interview with Sean Pertwee. While Monday the 8th of July sees the release of Doctor Who: The Collection – The Complete Season 10.

The Jon Pertwee Files

The Jon Pertwee Files is on BBC Radio 4 Extra, and BBC Sounds on Saturday the 6th July at 0800, repeated at 1500 and again on Sunday the 7th of July at 0300.

It will also be broadcast at 1600 on BBC Radio Solent Sunday 7th July. (Jon Pertwee was a pupil at Sherborne School in Dorset, and later based at Portsmouth Naval Barracks during WWII)

The show will also be available on BBC Sounds for 30 days after transmission. It can be streamed free, anywhere in the world, here (going live shortly after the first broadcast)

 

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