Peter Purves (born 10 February 1939) is an English television presenter who is best known for being a presenter on the BBC children's programme Blue Peter. After his eleven years on the programme he has continued to make regular appearances since then. In particular, Purves has been associated with television coverage of the Crufts dog show.
Purves was originally an actor, and played the character of Steven Taylor in Doctor Who when The Doctor was played by William Hartnell.
Purves was born in New Longton, near Preston, Lancashire, and was educated at the independent Arnold School in Blackpool. He had originally planned to go into teaching, training at Alsager College of Education, but began to act with the Barrow-in-Furness Repertory Company instead. He also attended Manchester Polytechnic and is a confirmed atheist.
After leaving Doctor Who, Purves became a regular presenter on the children's magazine programme Blue Peter from 1967 to 1978. Purves co-presented Blue Peter first with John Noakes and Valerie Singleton and then with Noakes and Lesley Judd, during the programme's so called 'golden age'. After Noakes, Purves is the second longest serving male Blue Peter presenter.
Purves maintained his connection to Doctor Who throughout his time on Blue Peter, often hosting special features on the programme and interviewing the actors. These included many clips from episodes which are otherwise now lost, most notably The Daleks' Master Plan, in which Purves himself had appeared.
Dogs have featured in Purves's career since his Blue Peter days when he was given charge of one of the "Blue Peter Pets", Petra, a German Shepherd cross. He became so closely associated with Blue Peterthe programme, "the sensible one", that he found his association difficult to shake off. Purves also presented the spin-off Blue Peter Special Assignment.
After leaving Blue Peter, Purves presented "Stopwatch" and "We're Going Places" and then later a spell as the front man for darts events on the BBC and as presenter of the long-running BBC1 motorbike trials series Kick Start. He also presented much of the BBC's darts coverage in the early-mid 1980s.
His later TV career has included cameo appearances in episodes of the soap opera EastEnders and sitcoms The Office and I'm Alan Partridge. In The Office episode "Training Day" Purves played himself in a customer care training video that David Brent and his staff were being shown (incidentally, Purves is a qualified business trainer and a motivational speaker).
Purves has had a thirty-year association with television coverage of major dog shows such as Crufts and in 2007 his appearance as a judge on the reality TV programme The Underdog Show. Purves also writes for the dog press and regularly presents at dog award shows. Marking his 70th birthday, his 2009 autobiography Here's One I Wrote Earlier was released at The Kennel Club.
Purves is a noted pantomime director enjoying a good working relationship with the Chuckle Brothers and has directed over 27 pantomime productions. In December 2012 Purves portrayed Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington at Harpenden Public Halls this was the first time Peter performed in Pantomime since 1985. He is also an after-dinner speaker.
Purves lived for a time in Bilton, and now lives in the Suffolk village of Sibton. In 2008, Valerie Singleton revealed she had had a "brief fling" with Purves.