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Perhaps the most exciting thing about the premiere of FOX’s Gotham tonight is not the story of a “baby” Batman’s beginnings, along with a slew of Gotham City baddies and their origins but the inclusion of Brit actor Sean Pertwee on the small screen and not dying. Not dying? How can that be? The 50 year-old actor has made a career of starring in horror films and having his characters slain in some pretty gruesome and imaginative ways.
The man is part of a professional dynasty of English actors. His father was Jon Pertwee who not only played the third Doctor Who from 1970 to 1974, but who also went on to delight British children across the country as Worzel Gummidge from 1979 to 1981. Sean obviously inherited his father’s talent and has worked extensively on television and film as well as the stage.
Despite getting his training at the legendary Old Vic, and cutting his acting teeth at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Pertwee has made a name for himself in the horror genre. Every character he plays meets a horrid end, except in the 2010 horror film Devil’s Playground starring Craig Fairbrass and Danny Dyer. In this zombie apocalyptic feature film at the beginning of the movie as the walking dead are taking over the city, Sean’s character runs past some police, grabs a boat and speeds of into the sunset not to be seen again. This hilarious dash for freedom seemed to indicate that the English version of Michael Ironside, lived to run another day.
The news that Sean Pertwee is playing Bruce Wayne’s devoted butler in Gotham and not dying before the second reel is a real treat for fans of this busy actor. Pertwee has 118 credits under his belt, with many of these being in the horror film arena. From the 2002 Brit horror film Dog Soldiers “Me guts are hangin’ out Coop!” to the 2008 Mad Max homage film Doomsday, “You B*stards!” the actor has had some pretty terrible things happen to him.
Besides Pertwee’s character meeting a nasty end, they are all pretty much “everyman” types. Most often not of the private school and cut glass accent crowd but of a more common background. Although to be far, he was a doctor in Doomsday. This was a change of profession, Pertwee is usually a soldier or cop and in one brilliant little gem, the 2006 film Wilderness, he played a prison officer for Her Majesty’s Prison Service. *Sidenote* A young Toby Kebbell (Prince of Persia and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) also stars in the film.
This London born actor has worked in more than just films in the United Kingdom. He has done voice work for a number of video games, including Killzone one and two and in 2010 he portrayed the late actor Oliver Reed on BBC Radio Four in the Matthew Broughton play Burning Both Ends.
Sean Pertwee’s move across the big pond to play the role of Alfred Pennyworth, a young Bruce Wayne’s butler in Gotham, which is the small screen origins story of Batman and all the baddies in the city and it looks like the performer will not be dying in this project. This will undoubtedly earn this talented character actor a whole new legion of fans and his existing ones will enjoy a different role for the entertainer. Gotham begins tonight, September 22, on FOX.
By Michael Smith