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Late Doctor Who actor reveals secret service ties with Ian Fleming

24-Feb-2013 • Bond News

It has been revealed that Doctor Who actor John Pertwee, who died in 1996 at the age of 76, worked in the intelligence services during World War II and liaised with James Bond creator Ian Fleming. In a long lost interview, Pertwee reveals he was a senior intelligence agent during the Second World War and reported directly to Winston Churchill, but kept his exploits low-key in fears of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

On the tape he says: ‘The team I worked with, the brothers in intelligence, were an amazing collection of characters.

‘There was a huge range of talents all being used to better protect the security of the nation, often in very surprising ways.

‘I did all sorts. Teaching commandos how to use escapology equipment, compasses in brass buttons, secret maps in white cotton handkerchiefs, pipes you could smoke that also fired a .22 bullet. All sorts of incredible things. It suited me perfectly as I have always loved gadgets.

‘I used to attend meetings where Churchill would be at the end of the table and he would be smoking his cigars. At the end of the meeting, I used to collect the butts and sell them on to the Americans for a few dollars.

‘I don’t remember much of my first meeting with Churchill except he gave me some priceless advice. He told me to always watch people, that there was a lot you could learn about someone’s character from the little actions they make – which was great advice for an actor.’

Pertwee also worked alongside Ian Fleming during his spell with Naval Intelligence. He recalled: ‘One day Fleming sent me for an interview for a job. They wanted a good French speaker.

‘I thought the job was going to be liaison with the Free French. I did not fancy that at all, so I deliberately messed up the interview, pretending I could not understand what they were saying at times and throwing in the most inappropriate answers.

‘Afterwards, when Fleming got the report back, he said they did not want me and how badly I had done. I confessed I had done it on purpose because I did not want to work with de Gaulle’s mob.

‘He told me I was a blithering idiot because the interview was a chance to be our man in Tahiti.’

He gave the interview in 1994 to two young reporters, Matt Adams and David Southwell. They are lifelong Doctor Who fans – and decided this year’s 50th anniversary of the show was the ideal time to publish his revelations in Doctor Who Magazine.

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