Peter Purves

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Peter Purves
Peter Purves at The Television & Movie Store, Norwich, England, on 28 March 2009.
Born Peter John Purves
(1939-02-10) 10 February 1939 (age 78)
Preston, Lancashire, England
Occupation Actor and television presenter
Notable work Steven Taylor in Doctor Who (1965–1966)
Blue Peter Presenter (1967–1978)
Spouse(s) Gilly Fraser (divorced)

Peter Purves (born 10 February 1939) is an English television presenter who is best known for being a presenter on the BBC children's programme Blue Peter. After his eleven years on the programme, he has continued to make regular appearances since then. In particular, Purves has been associated with television coverage of the Crufts dog show.

Purves is also an actor and played the character of Steven Taylor in Doctor Who when the Doctor was played by William Hartnell, a role he continues to portray in audio dramas for Big Finish Productions.

Early life[edit]

Purves was born in New Longton, near Preston, Lancashire. His father was a tailor who also ran a hotel in Blackpool for a short period. He was educated at the independent Arnold School in Blackpool and in the sixth form at Barrow-in-Furness Grammar School for Boys for a year, where he took A-levels and gained a pass in mathematics.[1] He originally planned to go into teaching, training at Alsager College of Education, but began to act with the Barrow-in-Furness Repertory Company instead.[2]

Doctor Who[edit]

Purves first appeared on the show in the role of Morton Dill in "The Chase" after being cast by director Richard Martin.[3]

At twenty-six years old, Purves first became known to television audiences in 1965 as Steven Taylor, one of the early time-travelling companions in the programme Doctor Who, when the Doctor was played by William Hartnell.[4] He has provided DVD commentaries for many of the surviving Doctor Who episodes he appeared in and documents the making of each of his Doctor Who stories in his autobiography, Here's One I Wrote Earlier. He was also a good friend of the actor Jon Pertwee, who played the Third Doctor.[5]

Purves has said that he preferred the historical stories on the show.[3]

In 2007, he returned to the role of Steven Taylor in the audio drama Mother Russia and has portrayed him in several additional audio dramas in the years since.

Blue Peter[edit]

After leaving Doctor Who, Purves became a regular presenter on the children's magazine programme Blue Peter from 1967 to 1978.[6] He co-presented Blue Peter first with John Noakes and Valerie Singleton and then with Noakes and Lesley Judd, during the programme's so called 'golden age'. After Noakes, Purves is the second longest serving male Blue Peter presenter.

He maintained his connection to Doctor Who throughout his time on Blue Peter, often hosting special features on the programme and interviewing the actors. These included many clips from episodes which are otherwise now lost, most notably The Daleks' Master Plan, in which Purves himself had appeared.

Dogs have featured in Purves's career since his Blue Peter days when he was given charge of one of the "Blue Peter Pets", Petra, a German Shepherd cross. Purves also presented the spin-off Blue Peter Special Assignment.

Subsequent television appearances[edit]

After leaving Blue Peter, Purves presented Stopwatch and We're Going Places and then later a spell as the front man for darts events on the BBC[5] and as presenter of the long-running BBC1 motorcycle trials series Kick Start.[7] He also presented much of the BBC's darts coverage from 1975 to 1983.

His later TV career has included cameo appearances in episodes of the soap opera EastEnders and sitcom The Office. In The Office episode "Training Day" Purves played himself in a customer care training video that David Brent and his staff were being shown (incidentally, Purves is a qualified business trainer and a motivational speaker).

Purves has had a thirty-year association with television coverage of major dog shows such as Crufts and in 2007 his appearance as a judge on the reality TV programme The Underdog Show. He also writes for the dog press and regularly presents at dog award shows. Marking his 70th birthday, his 2009 autobiography Here's One I Wrote Earlier was released at The Kennel Club.

In the theatre[edit]

Purves is a noted pantomime director, enjoying a good working relationship with the Chuckle Brothers, and has directed over 30 pantomime productions.[7] In December 2012, he portrayed Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington at Harpenden Public Halls: this was the first time he performed in pantomime since 1985. He is also an after-dinner speaker.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Purves lived for a time in Bilton, and now lives in the Suffolk village of Sibton.[8] In 2008, Valerie Singleton revealed she had had a "brief fling" with Purves.[9] He is a confirmed atheist.[2]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Christopher Trace
Blue Peter Presenter No. 6
Succeeded by
Simon Groom