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"The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner"


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Old 02-03-2013, 21:57
Residents Fan
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There's a new biography of the longest-running, most
divisive, "Doctor Who" producer coming out soon. Written
by Richard Marson "The Life and Scandalous Times of
John Nathan-Turner" will be released in May 2013. There's
an interview with the author here:

http://www.starburstmagazine.com/fea...-nathan-turner

This is an interesting piece:

I also found out an awful lot about how he was before Doctor Who professionally; how highly regarded he was, how so many people thought he was really going to be Controller of BBC1 Ė you know, he was Ďthe boy most likely toí. And in a way, Doctor Who was the worst thing that happened to him. You can certainly form a cogent argument to say that in the end it destroyed him. It was also possibly the ruin of him in his own life; it was a terrifically sad story.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:08
Lady of Traken
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What a fascinating interview. Obviously a complex man.

Iím not saying that I agree with all the artistic choices he made but I kind of feel sorry for JNT. He seemed like such a larger than life personality which I recall it seemed easy to target and blame for the cancellation at the time. There was a lot of vitriol from some of the fan produced magazines against JNT after Colinís first season aired..

The most interesting thing for me is Marsdenís view that the show would have definitely ended in 1985 but for JNTís efforts to keep it going. The idea of DW being a poisoned chalice for experienced writers and directors is indicative how poorly viewed internally the management saw the show. If they felt the show was tired they should have let JNT leave.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:28
johnnymc
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A pity the show didn't just end in 1984 with peter and then taken up again in 2005
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:48
Lady of Traken
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A pity the show didn't just end in 1984 with peter and then taken up again in 2005
I feel disloyal to the show agreeing with you but there is a valid point here. I loved Peter Davison's tenure. His stories still had the Doctor as a strong hero type and it would have ended on a high with ' Androzani'.

An unlikeable, brash Doctor in a bright multi-coloured coat seemed too radical a departure for such an established character.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:02
SpringheelJack
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I feel disloyal to the show agreeing with you but there is a valid point here. I loved Peter Davison's tenure. His stories still had the Doctor as a strong hero type and it would have ended on a high with ' Androzani'.

An unlikeable, brash Doctor in a bright multi-coloured coat seemed too radical a departure for such an established character.
The show was given a chance to re-invent itself in 1985 - 45 minute episodes, a chance at a new format more in line with US imports, a new Doctor... And it didn't happen.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:30
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Yet another "scandalous" biography of a dead celebrity who can't defend himself. I shall def be buying it !
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:19
AdelaideGirl
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I feel disloyal to the show agreeing with you but there is a valid point here. I loved Peter Davison's tenure. His stories still had the Doctor as a strong hero type and it would have ended on a high with ' Androzani'.

An unlikeable, brash Doctor in a bright multi-coloured coat seemed too radical a departure for such an established character.
Apparently the plan by Colin Baker and others was to make him Mr Darcy like. So you start off finding him unlikeable and then realise it's shyness etc and that he's really very nice. They just didn't let him stay in the character long enough.

Last edited by AdelaideGirl : 03-03-2013 at 09:20. Reason: Baker should have a capital B
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:35
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The series would have ended on a high with davison unfortunately it was left to run on and poor colin baker was misdirected in creating an unlikeable doctor in his first episode and was never given and decent scripts

Davison left just in time.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:45
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I agree, 1985-89 is not my favourite period of the show and has some bad stories, but if it had ended in 1984 we would have been deprived of two of the best Dalek stories ever, Revelation and Remembrance.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:50
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I agree, 1985-89 is not my favourite period of the show and has some bad stories, but if it had ended in 1984 we would have been deprived of two of the best Dalek stories ever, Revelation and Remembrance.
Curse Of Fenric
The Happiness Patrol
Paradise Towers

I don't think there was a bad story. Even Dragonfire has great bits in it.

"Think about me when you're living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern. Think about the homeless traveller and his old police box, with his days like crazy paving."
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:15
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I am really looking forward to this book. JNT was a fascinating man and I'll be interested to find out more about him.

If nothing else, he was the master of reinvention and kept Who going for years by constantly changing its focus, style and tone.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:20
Lady of Traken
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Apparently the plan by Colin Baker and others was to make him Mr Darcy like. So you start off finding him unlikeable and then realise it's shyness etc and that he's really very nice. They just didn't let him stay in the character long enough.
I think it was a good idea in principle just so badly executed. The Time Delimma was a terrible story to start with.

I agree, 1985-89 is not my favourite period of the show and has some bad stories, but if it had ended in 1984 we would have been deprived of two of the best Dalek stories ever, Revelation and Remembrance.
Curse Of Fenric
The Happiness Patrol
Paradise Towers

I don't think there was a bad story. Even Dragonfire has great bits in it.

"Think about me when you're living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern. Think about the homeless traveller and his old police box, with his days like crazy paving."
,

To be fair there were some good scripts for both Colin and Sylvester I liked quite a few stories but overall the show still lacked consistency in its direction and seemed I feel unsure whether it should be light entertainment or drama with some of the casting ( Bonnie Langford, Richard Briers etc).

Mind you I didnt really like Kylie being in VOTD either as its self concious fawning to showbiz personalities.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:27
johnnymc
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The worst thing for colin is that they didn't listen to him about his idea for just a simple black costume. I think at one point we see him in the cricket whites without peters jacket on and he looks so much better in a plain colour. John nathan turner had too much control over costume. None of the actors were consulted
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Old 04-03-2013, 13:29
Mulett
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The worst thing for colin is that they didn't listen to him about his idea for just a simple black costume. I think at one point we see him in the cricket whites without peters jacket on and he looks so much better in a plain colour. John nathan turner had too much control over costume. None of the actors were consulted
The costume was terrible. But then, I thought Peter's was bad too. The first four Doctor's dressed in a particular style, where as Davison's looked very much like a 'costume' and the cricket theme was tenuous at best. Colin baker wore pretty much the same costume as Davison - in terms of its cut - except his was a blaze of clashing colours rather than cricket whites.
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Old 04-03-2013, 13:51
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It did become "costume" rather than "clothes" from 1980-89.

I'm glad that's been acknowledged with NuWho.
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Old 04-03-2013, 14:17
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A pity the show didn't just end in 1984 with peter and then taken up again in 2005
At the time I agreed with your opinion. I watched The Twin Dilemna then pretty much gave up, for one reason I didn't realise at the time that Colin's first season was moved to Saturday's. I missed a few, then just couldn't be bothered. I saw a couple of McCoy stories when they first aired, but wasn't impressed so didn't bother with the rest.

However, having watched all Colin's and Sylvester's stories on dvd I have to say I really enjoy them and am glad it did continue until 1989.
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Old 04-03-2013, 18:17
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JNT stayed too long as producer, bit like Tom Baker staying too long as the Doctor. If JNT had left at the end of Caves of Androzani, then his era of the programme would have been labelled as great. Unfortuntely for him, he didn't and the series started to lose popularity and ratings nosedived.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:12
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JNT stayed too long as producer, bit like Tom Baker staying too long as the Doctor. If JNT had left at the end of Caves of Androzani, then his era of the programme would have been labelled as great. Unfortuntely for him, he didn't and the series started to lose popularity and ratings nosedived.
It's funny you mention this because I really have this theory that when it comes to the New Series, we're not going to ever have a Doctor who will match/surpass Tom Baker's length on the show and the same with a showrunner who'll either match/surpass JNT's and that's probably a good thing in some respects.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:22
TEDR
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JNT stayed too long as producer, bit like Tom Baker staying too long as the Doctor. If JNT had left at the end of Caves of Androzani, then his era of the programme would have been labelled as great. Unfortuntely for him, he didn't and the series started to lose popularity and ratings nosedived.
To be fair, he did keep trying to leave. I guess the departure of all other drama to out-of-house production didn't help.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:54
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The flipside is, what if Peter Davison buckled and stayed on one more season?

Might another actor have become the Sixth Doctor? Would have JNT have got out? Might the BBC out-right have canned the show then? Or, might the BBC sensed an opportunity with Davison leaving in 1985, to hiatus the show, but say it was to help prepare for a new Doctor?
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Old 04-03-2013, 22:10
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The flipside is, what if Peter Davison buckled and stayed on one more season?

Might another actor have become the Sixth Doctor? Would have JNT have got out? Might the BBC out-right have canned the show then? Or, might the BBC sensed an opportunity with Davison leaving in 1985, to hiatus the show, but say it was to help prepare for a new Doctor?
That would never have happened. No-one could ignore the Troughton (if only because he wouldn't have stopped talking. Pat was ace!).
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:34
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Curse Of Fenric
The Happiness Patrol
Paradise Towers

I don't think there was a bad story. Even Dragonfire has great bits in it.

"Think about me when you're living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern. Think about the homeless traveller and his old police box, with his days like crazy paving."
My worst story ever! Yes, bad - very bad.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:43
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My worst story ever! Yes, bad - very bad.
Having read "High Rise" by J.G. Ballard and studied Le Corbusier at college, Paradise Towers is quite normal in comparison.
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Old 05-03-2013, 17:51
CELT1987
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The flipside is, what if Peter Davison buckled and stayed on one more season?

Might another actor have become the Sixth Doctor? Would have JNT have got out? Might the BBC out-right have canned the show then? Or, might the BBC sensed an opportunity with Davison leaving in 1985, to hiatus the show, but say it was to help prepare for a new Doctor?
Davision was certainly more popular then Colin, so in that sense, the series may have got more viewers if Peter stayed. On the other hand, Grade would still have been appointed Controller of BBC1, so he would have still wanted to axe Doctor Who.
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Old 05-03-2013, 19:13
shragae
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I met JNT at a Miami con during the beginning of the Colin era. He was there with his boyfriend. I had the chance to spend most of the weekend with them (a friend of mine was a friend of his) -- so he showed us lots of new episodes in private and he talked.. . a lot.

The Beeb wanted to cancel Doctor Who at the end of the Davison era. After Tom B. they felt that Davison was somewhat boring. The reason Colin was cast was to bring back a "larger than life" Doctor. JNT was forever fighting the BeeB who wanted to cancel the show. He was very stressed over it -- trying to find a way to keep the show alive as the BeeB kept throwing obstacles in his path.

I didn't know about how highly he was thought of pre DW, but remember well those conversations after the show was cancelled.

Say what you will about JNT -- he tried. He tried really, really hard. He loved the show.
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