Classic Series

Mr Jan Putrid

Most Who fans may afford themselves a smile when they hear a name that probably means nothing to 99.9 per cent of people in the world, due to their unnatural fascination with the world’s best TV series.

A Carey Blyton here, a Victor Pemberton there. The odd Dennis Spooner, Michael Craze, Mac Hulke (what a name to conjure with!) or Derek Martinus.

A Dorka Nieradzik, Chris D’Oyly-John or Dudley Simpson.

JNT, RTD, er, RML*.

Robin Bland.

And any fan out there worth his or her salt should be able to rattle off the names of all the Doctors and companions. I reckon I could do all the producers and script editors too, and a good amount of directors and composers.

I’ve had an argument with a bloke in the pub over the correct order of Doctors, and I’ve smiled smugly to myself at the look of angered bafflement on the faces of pub quiz competitors when stumped to name all seven (or eight, nine, ten, eleven or twelve – depending on how pernickety or ignorant of canon the quiz master is).

Jon Pertwee will always be my favourite Doctor, but it’s not a name I’d care to share – striking me as a fairly unfortunate moniker.

It sounds like a school yard bully dream come true, and Pertwee would often regale audiences with tales of the many ways his name was mispronounced over the years. See Mr Jan Putrid for more.

The name didn’t seem to bother Pert though, and if he suffered for it at school I don’t suppose anyone really dared take the mick out of his name after he had at a school master with a stick – a wonderfully Doctorish story to my mind.

Anyway, such a person has come to light in an article on unlucky names on the BBC’s website. He’s called Jon Pertwee, which is fairly unlucky.

But just imagine being called Sylvester McCoy.

• From the Beeb:

My name is the same as the actor who played the third Doctor Who. Growing up wasn’t so bad, I used to get called all sorts, but because Doctor Who was seen as “cool” the nicknames were always positive.

But when he moved on and became Worzel Gummidge, the school taunts became crueller. I was constantly asked if I had an Aunt Sally, asked by teachers if I had the stupid head on today etc.

In my 20s, people still recognised the name, and when the actor passed away, I got several phone calls to see if I was still alive.

Jon Pertwee, Sion, Switzerland

* Roger Murray-Leach