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Roland Pertwee

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Nationality  British
Spouse  Avice Pertwee
Role  Playwright
Name  Roland Pertwee
Period  20th century

Roland Pertwee mediasvcancestrycomimage2e1de812a0914a13b6e

Born  Roland Pertwee 17 May 1885 (1885-05-17)
Occupation  Writer, Playwright, Director, Actor
Died  April 26, 1963, London, United Kingdom
Children  Jon Pertwee, Michael Pertwee
Books  The River God (Fantasy and Horror Classics)
Movies  Pink String and Sealing, The Ghoul, King Solomon's Mines, The Halfway House, Interference
Similar People  Jon Pertwee, Dariel Pertwee, Sean Pertwee, Bill Pertwee, Arthur Crabtree

Roland Pertwee (17 May 1885, Steyning, Sussex – 26 April 1963, Maidstone, Kent) was an English playwright, film and television screenwriter, director and actor. He was the father of Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee and fellow playwright and screenwriter Michael Pertwee. He was also the second cousin of actor Bill Pertwee and grandfather of actors Sean Pertwee and Dariel Pertwee.


Early years

In 1918, following the end of World War I, Pertwee retired from the British Army and began to pursue a career in the burgeoning British film industry. From the 1910s to 1950s, he worked as a writer on many British films, providing either the basic story or full screenplay. He was one of numerous writers working on the script of A Yank at Oxford starring Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh, the film in which his son Jon made his screen debut, and on Caravan.


While he seemingly preferred writing, he acted in ten films (1915–45) and directed Breach of Promise (1942), which he also wrote.

His play Heatwave, written in collaboration with Denise Robins, was produced at the St James's Theatre, London, in 1929.

In 1954, he and his elder son Michael created The Grove Family - generally regarded as being the first soap opera on British television - for the BBC. Having previously written an episode of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents, this marked Pertwee's second and final foray into television writing. Like many BBC television productions of the era, it was broadcast live. At its height, the series had drawn in almost a quarter of British people who owned a television. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother was a great fan. A film version, entitled It's a Great Day, was produced in 1955, likewise written by the Pertwees.

He also wrote a number of works of juvenile fiction, most prominently the series The Islanders, which serves up typical Boy's Own adventure with a strong field sports theme. The Islanders (1950) and Rough Water (1951) tell the adventures of three boys with the run of a sporting estate in the wild Devon countryside during a summer holiday. The third book, Operation Wild Goose (1955), takes place some years later, on a trip to Iceland, where the boys come up against Russian spies, in between landing fat salmon. A further book, An Actor's Life For Me (1953), features just one of the Islanders boys, Nick, as he follows his parents onto the stage.

Pertwee wrote two short stories, "The River God" and "Fish Are Such Liars" which are now considered classics and have been anthologized in the book, Fisherman's Bounty, edited by Nick Lyons, and originally published by Crown in 1970, then by Fireside in 1988.

Later years and death

Following the cancellation of The Grove Family in 1957, Pertwee retired from writing. He died in April 1963, three weeks before his 78th birthday.

Selected works

  • Out to Win (1921)
  • The Spider (1928)
  • Honours Easy (1930)
  • Partial filmography


  • Caste (1915)
  • The Four Just Men (1939)
  • Pimpernel Smith (1941) as Sir George Smith
  • The Halfway House (1944) as the Prison Governor
  • They Were Sisters (1945) as Sir Hamish Nair - Screenplay by Roland Pertwee
  • Screenwriter

  • The Bridal Chair (1919)
  • Aunt Rachel (1920)
  • The Last Rose of Summer (1920)
  • A South Sea Bubble (1928)
  • Blind Spot (1932)
  • A Voice Said Goodnight (1932)
  • Sleeping Car (1933)
  • The Night of the Party (1935)
  • Man of the Moment (1935)
  • Two's Company (1936)
  • Non-Stop New York (1937)
  • King Solomon's Mines (1937)
  • The Ware Case (1938)
  • Young Man's Fancy (1939)
  • Return to Yesterday (1940)
  • They Came by Night (1940)
  • Jeannie (1941)
  • Talk About Jacqueline (1942)
  • Not Wanted on Voyage (1957)
  • Plays turned into films

  • Out to Win (1923)
  • The Road to Singapore (1931)
  • A Voice Said Goodnight. (1932)
  • Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945)
  • References

    Roland Pertwee Wikipedia