Peter Purves

Peter Purves


2/10/1939, New Longton, Lancashire, England, UK

Birth Name


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Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Peter narrated A Matter of Life and Death a health and safety video that won the Health and Safety Best Practice category prize at the Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM) Environmental Excellence Awards. The movie is dedicated to the memory of 11 years old Amy Robinson who was killed when a garbage truck backed into her.

    • In October 2008, Peter was present at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Blue Peter that Queen Elizabeth held at Buckingham Palace. Peter's co-hosts John Noakes and Valerie Singleton were also in attendance, they were joined by other presenters of the show from the history of the program.

    • Peter wrote a postcard for the ManchesterReads program. The project invited celebrities to provide a postcard written by a character from their favorite book. Peter wrote as Odysseus from the Iliad by Homer.

    • September 2008, Peter presented the Guide Dog of the Year 2008 in London to Theo. The guide dog won the overall prize after being eligible for the final by winning the Life Changing Guide Dog of the Year.

    • July 2008, Peter was bitten at the dog show Scrufts while judging a terrier; it was the first time this happened in 25 years of judging dog shows. The dog was disqualified and Peter continued with the judging; he later went to the hospital to be patched up.

    • Peter is penning his autobiography.

    • Peter had a brief fling with his Blue Peter co-star Valerie Singleton while they were co-hosting the show, he was between marriage. Valerie has called it "more a friendship thing than anything else".

    • Since 1976, Peter has been presenting at the Crufts Dog Show for the BBC. He became the principal presenter and commentator in 1989. Peter is also involved in other shows involving animals including Pets Go Public, Breed All About It, All About Dogs and Superdogs.

    • Peter was supposed to join the Blue Peter team only for six months as a job between acting gigs, but the chemistry there was between him and his co-hosts Valerie Singleton and John Noakes ensured is staying on the show beyond that period. He stayed for 10 years.

    • Peter has provided narration for some of Doctor Who missing stories including The Massacre, The Myth Makers and Galaxy Four.

    • In 2005, Peter reunited with his Blue Peter co-host John Noakes for the television reality show Britain's Worst Celebrity Driver. Peter had nominated John because he is rather well known for his poor driving skills.

    • In January 2004, Peter's house in Suffolk caught fire. The firemen were able to save the house, but the annexe where his mother-in-law lived was badly damaged; she lost the majority on her possessions.

    • Peter has directed more than 28 pantomimes working with well known performers including The Chuckle Brothers, the late John Inman, Hale and Pace and Bobby Davro.

    • Director Richard Martin, who saw Peter in the Theater Play Girl in the Picture, was directly responsible for Peter being cast as Steven Taylor on Doctor Who.

    • Peter's character Steven Taylor on Doctor Who first appeared in the story The Chase and his last appearance was in the story The Savages. Steven's was a companion to the original Doctor (William Hartnell).

    • Peter is now a skill trainer, helping people learn about presentation and public speaking.

  • Quotes

    • Peter: (On Petra the "Blue Peter" dog he worked with for years) People imagined she was a German Shepherd, but she was some rough collie cross. She'd lost her teeth, developed diabetes, her eyes were bad and she was neurotic and badly bred. A mess.

    • Peter: (On what happened when he was bitten at a dog show in July 2008) I was examining the teeth and the ears of the third contestant of the day. I looked at its teeth, they were fine. When I looked in its ears, it just whipped its head round and bit me. It didn't indicate to me at all that it even might. At the time it was horrendous. Blood was spurting everywhere. It was a deep puncture, you can't even stitch them. We staunched the blood and wrapped it up and I finished off the judging of the class, disqualified the one that bit me, then went to the hospital.

    • Peter: (Commenting on the destroyed episodes from Doctor Who which he has narrated for a series of audio releases) I had forgotten most of the missing stories until Mark Ayres approached me to read the linking commentaries on the latest audio CD's, so I came to them quite fresh. I thought the scripts were great – and have always said that apart from the wonderful creation that was Bill's Doctor, the stories were script rather than character led. On revisiting the Massacre, I was overwhelmed by the quality of the writing. This was top class TV drama. And the Myth Makers was another favourite of mine. (Daleks Masterplan and Galaxy 4) were the poorest of the scripts, I felt, but it was a pleasure to remake them for an audience that can no longer see them. I think they make excellent radio plays.

    • Peter: (On his start on Blue Peter) My position was that I arrived and nobody explained that I had been engaged as the heavy foil to his (John Noakes) action man. It would have made no difference as I still would have taken the job but I was a bit disappointed when I realised it. I would have liked a bit more of the action.

    • Peter: (Talking about William Hartnell with whom he worked with on Doctor Who) Like most actors, I think Bill was pretty insecure, and also suffered from the fact that many of his contemporaries had better fortune than he – I think he had quite a lot of bitterness about that. He was also beginning to be ill, and that affected his memory, so as he got more and more lines wrong, he got more and more crotchety. He didn't suffer fools gladly, but I must say he was always very friendly to me, and tried to act as a kind of mentor. Many times he bought me lunch at the famed Bertorelli's restaurant on Shepherd's Bush Green (sadly no longer there),where he taught me to appreciate "Blue" fillet steak amongst other things. I really enjoyed working with him, but could see why others found him less pleasant.

    • Peter: (On how he started doing pantomimes) It all started when Johnnie Noakes and I left Blue Peter. We were invited to do pantomime. Paul Elliott asked us to do Cinderella and it's the only opportunity I ever get to work in the theatre! And I've done it ever since. After the first two I started directing and I've directed over thirty now. This year I am directing Wendi Peters (Coronation Street) in Snow White.

    • Peter: (On his satisfaction concerning the firemen who fought the fire at his house in 2004) The firefighters were here within 10 minutes of our call and we are in a really remote place. They sent five crews who were all very busy and were amazingly efficient. The next time there's a firefighters' strike, I'm going to stand on the picket line with them.

    • Peter: (About being an actor) It's just the best job there is. You can't do any other job where you just drop into anybody's life.

    • Peter: (Discussing if he thought if was a difficulty replacing original Doctor Who Companions William Russell and Jacqueline Hill) I was too much concerned with getting my work right that I never really considered the difficulty of replacing such popular characters as Russ and Jacquie. I had met Russ before, playing cricket, and Jaqueline Hill was the wife of director Alvin Rakoff who had cast and directed me in the TV Armchair Theatre play (Girl in the Picture).

    • Peter: (On how being a celebrity has changed from the time he was very popular) The fame game had not started then and the cult of celebrity. Which is just as well because that gets in the way of doing good work. You want to be known for the work rather than you.

    • Peter: (On when and why he knew he wanted to be an actor) I was about nine I think. I probably knew well before that that I wanted to be an actor, growing up in Blackpool. I went to lots of shows, mostly variety shows but also plays at the Grand Theatre. I saw all the big stars of the day because Blackpool had seventeen theatres at that time.