“HELLO Jo,” booms Tim Treloar. Only the voice that comes from the Welshman’s mouth is that of Jon Pertwee, the third actor to play The Doctor in the TV series Doctor Who.
It’s one of the phrases the actor recorded on his phone to help keep him in character when he recently played Pertwee’s famous Time-Lord for a series of radio plays.
“I tried not to impersonate him, if you try to do that you lose the acting, so I concentrated on capturing an essence of him,” he explains.
“I recorded some of his dialogue and whenever I was starting to lose it, I would have a listen.”
Produced by Big Finish the recordings also starred two of Pertwee’s original companions, Katy Manning, the aforementioned Jo, and Richard Franklin, alias Captain Mike Yates. No pressure then.
“It was frightening, but Katy and Richard made me so welcome that they took away all those anxieties.
“Of course, I’d done as much preparation as I could – I watched a couple of DVDs of Jon over and over again because, to be honest, I was slightly too young for Jon’s Doctor, Tom Baker was my Doctor. I knew Jon as Worzel Gummidge.”
Indeed it was “his Doctor” who landed Treloar the role of his predecessor.
“When I did my first Big Finish it was with Tom. I was playing a Victorian Colonial Zombie Lord, as you do. I put on this voice and Tom said, ‘God, he sounds like Jon’.
“It came from there really. Then the producers asked me to do a boxset of adventures as the Third Doctor.”
Both Manning and Franklin were amazed at the likeness.
“I’m surprised,” admits the 47-year-old, “because you can’t sound exactly like someone unless you are a professional impressionist. I was just giving it my best shot.”
Treloar can be found time-travelling again next week at the Festival Theatre, where he appears opposite Robert Powell in King Charles III, a play which, like the Third Doctor’s adventures, is set in a near future Britain.
The Queen is dead. Long live the King. After a lifetime of waiting, Prince Charles, played by Powell, ascends the throne. A future of power. But how to rule?
Like his own approach to playing Pertwee, Powell doesn’t impersonate Charles, explains Treloar.
“Robert gives a nod towards the real Charles, he plays with his cuff links for example, and occasionally you can hear it in the voice, but again it’s not an impersonation.”
The play opens at the funeral of the Queen, Treloar plays a “very passionate Labour prime minister, someone who has principles and believes in democracy,” he reveals. And as Charles settles on the throne, he starts to meddle.
“Without giving too much away, although it is a straight play there is a lot of comedy in it.
“We’ve all heard about Charles getting involved with things like the environment and architecture. In this, he is getting involved with a freedom of the press law about to be passed. That creates a huge problem between the monarch and the government and drags Kate Middleton and William, who is now Prince of Wales, into it.
“You also have the side story of Prince Harry, which involves him trying to find his role in life. A lot of the Harry stuff is the comedy, but there are touching moments too. That said, it is certainly not reverential.”
King Charles III, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Monday-Saturday, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £15-£30.50, 0131-529 6000