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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Doctor Who producer dies
John Nathan-Turner and Sylvester McCoy
Nathan-Turner picked Sylvester McCoy as the final Doctor
Doctor Who's longest-serving producer, responsible for casting three of the Timelords, has died at the age of 54.

John Nathan-Turner, known to his fans as JNT led the BBC show for 130 episodes between 1980 and 1989.

He died at Brighton's Hove Hospital on Wednesday following a short illness.

He joined the cult series as a floor assistant in 1969 when Patrick Troughton was playing the Doctor, and became producer during Tom Baker's stint in the Tardis.

Mr Nathan-Turner was responsible for casting Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy as Doctor Who.

Complaints

He was credited for bringing a "lighter" edge to the long-running show, which did not always go down well with loyal fans, some of whom thought he contributed to the series finally coming to an end.

Colin Baker
Colin Baker was the sixth Doctor Who
Close friend and former colleague Graham Flynn said: "The biggest problem that it had during the early 1970s is that there had been a lot of complaints from Mary Whitehouse and people like that.

"So he had to inject humour into the show.

"He started bringing in more guest artists so you had people like Ken Dodd and Rula Lenska appearing."

Mr Flynn said his friend's death would come as a shock to many, calling him a popular guest at fan conventions and a "great raconteur".

Messages of condolence

"He just had great enthusiasm for the show. For a few years he wanted to leave the series, but the BBC realised they wouldn't find someone as competent as him," he added.

The BBC's Doctor Who website is full of messages of condolence for Mr Nathan-Turner.

One fan wrote: "A man who met with the biggest highs and lows of opinion from Doctor Who fandom , John Nathan-Turner faced everything with great dignity.

"Yes, the series lost the plot a little bit but it's important to remember the many wonderful elements introduced under his management.

"He was attacked for his later seasons when he could just as easily walked away and let the show be cancelled.

"He entertained us. In the end, that was all he ever wanted. RIP JN-T."


Talking PointTALKING POINT
John Nathan-TurnerDr Who death
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