I enjoyed reading Here’s One I Wrote Earlier, an autobiography on Peter Purves’s life as an actor, businessman and presenter. I do enjoy reading about people’s childhoods and there was plenty of detail on that in the book. Peter Purves attended a boarding school. ‘Hiding your emotions was the only way you could survive boarding school. I kept things to myself, and later, whilst still in the junior school, all I would want to write was ‘please can I come home.’ But that never got written, we each, in our own way, made the best of it and mostly it wasn’t too bad.’
I found it very interesting when he wrote about growing up, leaving school and his decision to become an actor, which meant quitting his job as a teacher. He was in his 20’s and still relatively inexperienced as an actor. He was on benefits until he found his first job. I was surprised by that risk he took and at what I thought was an ‘old’ age to begin an acting career?
I was also surprised at 1960’s car prices and how much longer a car journey to London took before motorways had been laid. I was less impressed by how little detail and insight there was about Purves’ time on Doctor Who. By all accounts it does sound like it was not a hugely positive time because of, for example, the time pressures. Peter Purves did not like the story Galaxy 4 either. It wasn’t written for his character, Steven. The writer had written the script for Galaxy 4 with Barbara’s character in mind. Barbara was a companion that had left in the previous series. ‘A classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing.’ At this point in his book, Peter Purves mentions the first of the flings and affairs he had, on this occasion with 2 of his Doctor Who co-stars. ‘The trouble with our business is that one meets really interesting and attractive people all the time and sometimes it is hard to resist (if you’ll pardon the expression.)’
There’s more detail on his presenting role on Blue Peter, which he co-presented from 1967 to 1978, and the various trips abroad that he went on while making the show. There was a lot of detail on buying property and house renovations too.
Here’s One I Wrote Earlier was published in 2009 and so it felt out of date because I wondered about his work with Big Finish and attending Doctor Who conventions, which were not mentioned.
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For those who are curious