Jon Pertwee

  1. Richard Attenborough, The Baby and the Battleship, 1956.     Abandoned ship as Knocker White when his pal, George Cole,  suddenly quit as Puncher Roberts, – two sailors who… well, the title was the pitch.  Co-star and writer  Bryan Forbes then  rewrote  Knocker for Dickie.
  2. Phil Silvers, A Funny Thing Happened On  The Way To The Forum, 1966.      During the Madrid filming, veteran comic  Phil Silvers suddenly refused to play. Director Richard Lester called up Jon  to take over  Marcus Lycus, a role  he had originated  on the London stage. Once Silvers heard this news,  he suddenly leapt back to work, full of vim and vigour. Pertwee was given the (much) smaller role of Crassus for his trouble.  Translation: Watch it, Phil-baby, your replacement is still here!
  3. Arthur Lowe, Dad’s Army, TV, 1968-1977.        Considered for Captain Mainwaring, head of one of the best-loved BBC TV comedy classics – judging by the endless repeats up to 40 years later!  When he  BBC next called Jon, it was to be the third Dr Who, 1970-74.
  4. Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, 1970. Author Roald Dahl’s original choice to play his eccentric chocolatier was BBC radio Goon Spike Milligan, Next? Spike’s co-Goon Peter Sellers was too expensive. LA’s choice, Joel Grey, was “not physically imposing enough.” Ron Moody  would have frightened the horses – and the kids. UK comic Frankie Howerd was into two film farces. Jon Pertwee was wed to Doctor Who. Carry On stars Sidney James and Kenneth Williams were as keen as (a way too old) Fred Astaire. One by one, all six Monty Pythons (John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin) were judged not international enough  (and Howerd, Milligan and Pertwee were?!)    Cleese, Idle and Palin were offered the 2005 re-hash; Chapman had died and Gilliam and Jones turned director.
  5. Anthony Hopkins, Audrey Rose, 1976.   Ivy, aged five, is killed in a car smash in Pittsburg, 1965 – and is reincarnated two minutes later in the titular kid in New York. Not even a director like Robert Wise could save the film from being a vampire snacking on The Exorcist. Pertwee had been an earlier choice for the exorcist Elliott Hoover. New York Times critic Vincnt Canby used one word only on Hopkins’ performance.   Terrible.
  6. Keye Luke, Gremlins, 1983.      Exactly why director Joe Dante – or was it his producer, Steven Spielberg? – felt that the third Doctor Who suited Mr Wing, a great Chinese grandfather, has never been explained. Or, not to me. If you know, get in touch. Please.
  7. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.
  8. Aubrey Morris, Lifeforce, 1984.
  9. Frank Finlay, Lifeforce, 1984.
  10. John Neville, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1987. Terry Gilliam’s first choices for his Hieronymous Karl Frederick Baron von Munchausen were Pertwee (the third Doctor Who, 1970-1974), Michael Hordern and Peter O’Toole. Strangely enough, although Hordern, in particular, was also perfect for another Gilliam fixation – The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – he was never invited aboard the long-delayed dream movie, begun in 2000, finished (?) in 2017.

  11. Michael Gough, Batman, 1988.
  12. Sean Connery, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, 1988.
  13. Christopher Lloyd, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988.     Producer Steven Spielberg (and the Disney suits) found Tim Curry’s test as Judge Doom quite terrifying. As if Lloyd was not – he never even blinked!   And they’d even considered Lee… And, surely, Pertwee was too sweet. Also seen: Roddy McDowall, John Cusack, Sting.
  14. Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park, 1992.




 Birth year: 1919Death year: 1996Other name: Casting Calls:  13