Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bill Pertwee R.I.P.

Bill Pertwee, perhaps best known as ARP Warden Hodges on Dad's Army, died on 27 May 2013 at the age of 86.

Bill Pertwee was born on 21 July 1926 at Amersham, Buckinghamshire. He was a distant cousin of actor and screenwriter Roland Pertwee and hence Roland Pertwee's cousins, Michael Pertwee and Jon Pertwee (perhaps best known as The Third Doctor on Doctor Who). His family moved several times during his childhood. After his father died his mother moved the family to Blackheath, south London. He was evacuated to Sussex during World War II and then attended Dartford Technical College in Dartford, Kent. His family moved one last time to Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, where he attended Southend College. During the war he worked at Southend Motor and Aero Club. The company had repaired funfair rides, but during World War II manufactured parts for Spitfire cannons.

Following the war Mr. Pertwee worked various jobs. It was in 1954 that he became the assistant to his cousin Jon Pertwee. That same year he made his television debut in an episode of Fast and Loose. Later in the decade he became a regular on the radio show Beyond Our Ken. It was in 1968 that he was cast in the role of Hodges on Dad's Army. He remained with the show until the end of its run in 1977. In the late Sixties he also appeared in episodes of The Jimmy Logan Show,The World of Beachcomber, Cribbins, and Oh in Colour. He made his film debut in Carry on Loving (1970).

In the Seventies Bill Pertwee appeared in such shows as Bless This House, Father Dear Father, Love Thy Neighbour, Jackanory Playhouse, The Dick Emery Show, Billy Liar, and Worzel Gummidge. He appeared in such films as Dad's Army (1971), The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971), Psychomania (1972), The Death Wheelers (1973), Love Thy Neighbour (1973), Carry on Girls (1973), and Man About the House (1974). In the Eighties he played P. C. Wilson on You Rang, M'lord and Sergeant Gough on Chance in a Million. He also appeared on the shows It Ain't Half Hot Mum; Tom, Dick, & Harriet; and Hi-De-Hi. In the Nineties he appeared in the shows Woof! and Noel's House Party. His last appearance on screen was in Run for Your Wife last year.

Bill Pertwee was also the author of several books, including Promenades and Pierrots (a history of seaside entertainment in Britain), Royal Command (which examined the relationship between the royal family and the entertainment industry), and Dad's Army: The Home Guard 1940-1944.

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