When asked to find a replacement for Patrick Troughton in Doctor Who, producer Peter Bryant considered Jon Pertwee (1919-1996) to be a strong candidate. In fact, Jon had already asked his agent to apply for the role and was surprised to find he was already short-listed!
Jon was a well-established comedy actor, with a long-running role in the radio series The Navy Lark (another of my personal favourites!). However, Jon played the Time Lord relatively straight, as an action hero with a love of gadgets and flamboyant clothes. The show's format was also changed a little - for much of his time as the Doctor, the character was exiled on Earth and serving with UNIT (a convenient plot device, used to keep the show's budget down). During this period he had regular battles with another Time Lord, the Master (Roger Delgado), and formed a strong friendship with UNIT's leader, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney).
Jon eventually stepped down from the role in 1974 in order to resume his stage career, although the death of his good friend Roger Delgado was a major factor. He handed the role over to Tom Baker.
More to come...