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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Doctor Who producer dies: Your tributes
John Nathan-Turner
John Nathan-Turner, the longest-serving producer of the sci-fi series Doctor Who, died at the age of 54.

Known to his fans as JNT, he began working on the programme when Patrick Troughton was Doctor Who, and became producer at the end of Tom Baker's reign as Time Lord.

Mr Nathan-Turner produced a total of 130 episodes of the show and was responsible for casting Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy as Doctor Who.

He was credited for bringing a "lighter" edge to the long-running show, which did not always go down well with loyal fans.

Send us your tibutes to John Nathan-Turner.

This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your comments are posted below.


Your comments:


John Nathan-Turner was an extremely kind and good person to meet at Conventions

Sanjay Khosla, United Kingdom
John Nathan-Turner was an extremely kind and good person to meet at Conventions. Although he tried to bring back seriousness to the programme after the Graham Williams era, some of his stories tended to suffer from poor scripting.He tried his best, but in my view the programme never recovered from the moment Philip Hinchcliffe left as producer in 1977.
Sanjay Khosla, United Kingdom

We met JNT several times at the Llangollen weekends and at conventions. He was a lovely man, very warm, witty and always fascinating to listen to. It was such a shock to hear he had died. He was the sort of man you always expected to be there. Things won't quite be the same, now he isn't.
Karen, Nik & Family, UK

: This man who we knew as JNT was and still is a big part of the magic that is and always will be Doctor Who. He will never be forgotten! It's come as a huge shock that he could die so young.
Lee Williams, UK

The news has only just reached this end of the space-time continuum. JNT, wonderful Chap, all of him.
Paul Cheesman, Thailand

I met JNT at Forbidden Planet in New York and he signed my book and talked with us for about 5 minutes about the show. Not a lot of people would do that. He really enjoyed talking about the show with us. He died way too soon. We'll miss you guy.
Bart Manzella, USA


His charm to fans and respect to the stars of the show was warm and pleasant

Derek Hartley, UK
I just got an email from a mate that JNT has died. I am sorry to hear that. I have met him at a number pf conventions north and south of the border. His charm to fans and respect to the stars of the show was warm and pleasant. He will be sadly missed at the convention.
Derek Hartley, UK

Some people's names are etched in stone, John your will be etched in time. so long and thanks.
Nik Green, Canada

Dr Who has been a part of my life since I was 10 years old. It was very special! I am sorry to hear of John Nathan-Turner's death.
Debbie Kean, New Zealand

I am very sorry indeed to hear that this man has been taken from us at such an early age. He brought pleasure to millions through dedicated hard work, including my son, an avid Dr Who fan. May he rest in peace.
Philip S Hall, UK

I have read recently in the official site on about JNT, and when I saw it, I began to cry. Even now as I'm writing this message. I'm still crying. So please forgive me if you see any spelling mistakes. My eyes are filled up. And will be from now on deep down. I've wanted to write scripts for you if you ever brought it back and came back as the best producer. But now we won't get the chance. You have really inspired me to take Doctor Who on as a Script Writer for a new series that will be able to go on and on.
Micahel Clifton, United Kingdom

John always came across as being genuinely enthusiastic about Doctor Who - and it showed on screen. His reign on the show saw me regenerate from a child into an adult. It would have been nice to meet you just to say thanks for the memories, John. Rest in peace and thank you.
Ian Armitage, UK


I just feel that we've lost a great man, who had a real passion for his show

Dean Stoner, UK
I've just learned of John Nathan-Turner's death. I feel compelled to write. I don't know why. I just feel that we've lost a great man, who had a real passion for "His Show". He took Dr Who into the 80's and I don't think any other producer could have done a better job than him, considering all the obstacles he came up against. He gave it his all, which for some wasn't enough, but for me it was plenty. Thanks John, you'll never ever be forgotten. As some famous bloke once said " It's the end but..." ... in the world of Dr Who you will be immortal.
Dean Stoner, UK

He was a very imaginative and true individual. I did not know him personally, but one thing I will miss is those late night discussions in the Bar on Saturday nights at Doctor who conventions. He was a link in a very long chain.
Anthony Hampton, England

Thank you JNT for giving us so many hours of a wonderful program. The Doctor and the TARDIS have a special place in my heart and you are one of the reasons it is there. Rest in Peace.
Nathan Littel, Melbourne, Australia

Your tenure as Producer gave us some of the worst ("Time and the Rani") and some of the best ("Curse of Fenric") Doctor Who ever. But your dedication gave us more Who than we ever would have had, had you not been steering the TARDIS. JNT, I'm sure you've ended up in a better place.
Reid Withnell, Sydney, Australia

Very sad news, only 54... This man was the person who got me watching Doctor who in 1988 when I was 8 or 9 years old with Sylvester McCoy and I have love Doctor who ever since. Thank you much JNT, lots of happy time. You will be missed.
Tim Bass, Australia


He left us a legacy which lies at the heart of much of the new Who we're enjoying today

Paul Dawson, UK
John Nathan-Turner loved the series and its wonderful central character and worked tirelessly, sometimes under awful conditions, to keep it going and keep it fresh. He left us a legacy which lies at the heart of much of the new Who we're enjoying today. So, huge thanks to him, and sincere condolences to those closest to him.
Paul Dawson, UK

I found out at the Nicholas Courtney/Anneke Wills/Terrance Dicks signing at 10th Planey on 4th May. It was the only topic of conversation, all were shocked and saddened that another name has to be included in the biggest Convention of them all.
David, UK

I met JNT in 1987 or '88 at a sci-fi convention in Atlanta, GA, along with Peter Davison. He was a very nice man and I think he was able to do a lot with the good Doctor when the powers that be were trying to shut the show down. He will be missed.
Michael Conner, USA


Thank you for bringing us stories that enlighten as well as entertain

David Vaughn, USA
John, you will be missed. Our hearts go out to your family, friends and co-workers. Thank you for bringing us stories that enlighten as well as entertain. Peace be with you as you now explore those places whence come dreams such as you gave.
David Vaughn, USA

The output of John Nathan-Turner brought much pleasure to many people everywhere, whether it was the seasons of Doctor Who he produced or the subsequent video specials that have been played again and again. He made many people happy for many years and that is a legacy to be proud of.
Tim Roll-Pickering, UK

I have only just read the sad news that the longest and certainly most controversial producer of Doctor Who - John Nathan-Turner has passed on, at only 54. It is heartening to read several messages of condolence, which have been left by people who obviously did not always agree with his production decisions but have had the decency to say that JN-T was a thoroughly decent bloke! My thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.
Rob Edwardson, UK

Very sad news. JNT made my era of Doctor Who special. May he rest in peace.
John, UK

Thanks JNT for keeping the programme going for so long and all of the time you dedicated to the fans. You will never be forgotten. Best wishes to all John's friends and family - he was a smashing guy and is already missed by many.
Alec Hepburn, UK

To JNT The WHO of WHO's, we will miss you.
Skip Ravell, Pierson, MI, USA


He added a tremendous amount to the show and gave a great deal to a great many people, myself among them

Richard Flowers, London, UK
I wish he could know that there were many people who loved what he did and appreciated his dedication to Doctor Who. He added a tremendous amount to the show and gave a great deal to a great many people, myself among them. Thanks John.
Richard Flowers, London, UK

Very sad and shocking news. JNT we'll miss you. You can say what you want about his tenure with the show but it's obvious the man loved the show and tried his best to save it on many occasions. He kept the show going for eight more seasons and he gave us three more doctors. For that alone, we are all in his debt. Thanks, JNT!
Dave Chambers, USA

I'm gutted. If it was not for JNT I may never have got into Doctor Who. My thoughts are with his loved ones and friends. Rest in peace.
Graeme, UK

Thank you for so many years of enjoyment. I grew up with Dr. Who and will never forget the joy and wonderment you brought into my life in the past 30 years. Thank you and may you rest in peace.
Tom Palmer, New Hampshire, USA

It's a tragedy that John has succumbed to the inevitable at such a comparatively young age. His contribution to "Doctor Who" was controversial in the eyes of many fans, but there can be no doubt that he was a talented, creative man with a love of the series and his own individual vision for it. It is no understatement to say that without John Nathan-Turner, in his sterling efforts both on screen and off, "Doctor Who" would not be talked about today as much as it is. His contribution to the series was massive and he deserves all the accolades he has received since his sad death. Rest in peace, John.
Alan Hayes, UK


I last saw him when he crept up on me in the Tomorrow's World studio, still full of enthusiasm and energy

Saul Nasse, UK
John Nathan-Turner was an inspiration to me. Meeting him several times when I was writing for Doctor Who magazine in the 1980s, he encouraged me to pursue my own career in television. It was with real pride, years later, that I was able to write to tell him that I'd become the youngest editor of Tomorrow's World, an even longer running BBC institution than Doctor Who. He wrote back to me, with loads of good advice, including giving the 'troops plenty of space to bitch about you, it makes for a happier ship in the end'. Spot on, John! I last saw him when he crept up on me in the Tomorrow's World studio, still full of enthusiasm and energy. I'll miss him.
Saul Nasse, UK

My overriding memory of JNT will always be his kindness and generosity - he gave so much of his own time to talk and mix with fans. God Bless, John - definitely one of the good guys.
Angela McCann, UK

Thank you for all the adventure!!
Robert del Valle, USA

John came to a meeting of the Brighton Doctor Who society when I was involved with it, oh, 19 years ago. He was a hell of a nice bloke who didn't mind spending his Sunday afternoon with a bunch of strangers hung up on a TV programme with which he was involved if they asked nicely, and he never lost his enthusiasm for the show and its viewers. Given the criticisms sometimes levelled at him, this was gracious in the extreme. He'll be much missed.
Guy Clapperton, UK


He was a genius, who had such an effect on all our lives

Michael Harris, GB
He was a genius, who had such an effect on all our lives. I could barely get up this morning with grief.
Michael Harris, Great Britain

I never met him, but JNT's impact on the lives of all Dr. Who fans was incalculable. Every one of us owes him a debt of gratitude for his dedication to the show he loved. He is irreplacable, and he will be missed.
F. Jason Rhoden, Gainesville, Florida, USA

I hail from Iowa City in the State of Iowa in the centre of the US. Our state is known for corn and hog production. Dr. Who reached "Middle America" and "the breadbasket of the world" here through Iowa Public Television. John Nathan-Turner's genius, sense of humour, and ability to entertain will be sorely missed.
Tom Slockett, USA


You always felt he really loved the show and did well to keep it on air for so long

Chris Daniels, UK
This was a real shock. As with previous correspondents I grew up in John's era and felt it was the perfect show to get ready for a Saturday night. You always felt he really loved the show and did well to keep it on air for so long. So young and talented, very unfair.
Chris Daniels, UK

Thank you for the magic, mate - even "The Twin Dilemma". Rest in peace.
Andrew Knight, London, UK

I didn't always approve of Jonathan Nathan Turner's choices for the show (or his wardrobe choices, for that matter), but I admired his willingness to stretch the show's boundaries. He gave us some impressively complex and thought-provoking stories toward the end, especially "The Curse of Fenric." Thank you, JNT.
Gregory Eatroff, United States

Doctor Who would not have been the same with out you! Thank you.
Andrew Parsons, England


He was a loving and patient man who deserved better then to die so young

Glen A. Boettcher, South Milwaukee, WI, USA
I met JN-T at many Dr. Who conventions in the US. My girlfriend made him the red Hawaiian shirt he wore at many of the cons and was his favourite. He was a loving and patient man who deserved better then to die so young. He will be missed but he was loved. RIP
Glen A. Boettcher, South Milwaukee, WI, USA

JNT had been my friend and neighbour for 27 years and was one of the kindest and loyal friends anyone could wish to have, rest in peace John
Patricia Owen, UK

I met JNT for the first time last year and found him charming and genuine person. His colourful character is already being missed by us Dr Who fans.
James Whittington, England

JNT was producer of our lovely, creaky old show during my childhood days, and I feel terribly sad about him passing away so young. He obviously loved the show and worked extremely hard on it...what more could a fan ask? Doctor Who is a special programme. It represents the triumph of good over evil, friendship over enmity, and imagination over plain old reality. At its centre is a gentle and wondrous hero, and John was responsible for introducing the magic of that hero to scores of children on both sides of the Atlantic. The little boy inside of me will always be in his debt for that. Thank you, John, for all the wonderful dreams you gave us kids.
Andrew, Canada

John put so much hard work into Doctor Who, was a vigorous ambassador for it and gave lots of his time to its fans. His first story as producer, "The Leisure Hive", was a stunning production for its day. We will miss him terribly.
Peter Stevens,


A very sad time for all Dr. Who fans around the world

Garry Jones, S. Wales, UK
A very sad time for all Dr. Who fans around the world. John has done so much to keep the show in the public eye, launching it in the USA in a big way and keeping Dr. Who alive when others wanted it to end much sooner than it did. John's dedication to his job as producer will be an inspiration to many other film-makers for years to come. Rest in peace.
Garry Jones, S. Wales, UK

May be not a time traveller, but JNT has left his mark in time.
David LJ, Isle of Man UK

It was such a shock to hear of JNT passing away. My early memories of the show were of JNT's era of Doctor Who way back in 1980. In the 1980's JNT fought the BBC heads for Dr Who's credibility and all fans should always be grateful that he defended and believed in the good Doctor.. We have lost a flamboyant person, and a very charming man. Rest in peace..
Stephen Sherry, UK

My sympathy to JNT's family and work associates. Perhaps as believed, in material passing we go on to a place without limitations. So being, I'm sure JNT would be off for a jaunt around the Cosmos, to see what it's like and check to make sure there aren't any unattended "Masters" floating about.
Rick Finney, Western Australia

What about a week's televised coverage of the best Dr Who in tribute to the inspiration of such a great programme?
Tony Birchall, Crewe, England


I was in complete shock when i heard the news of John Nathan Turner's death

Rossa McPhillips, UK
I was in complete shock when i heard the news of John Nathan Turner's death. I thought he would be with us forever. Alas, we are indebted to him for his enthusiasm for Doctor Who. Without him, there might never have been any videos, CDs or even a notion to bring back Doctor Who.
Rossa McPhillips, UK

Thanks for repeatedly scaring the living daylights out of me as a kid!
Peter, UK

Whilst he had his faults JNT was always willing to fight for the show (Shada, Greatest Show) and who else can we thank for The Kandyman, probably the funniest and most inventive Who villain ever?
Doug, UK

Far from brining a "lighter edge", JNT managed, with the Davison and McCoy era, to make the show much more realistic, and much more relevant, than it had been before. He also ensured - both through campaigning, and through his choice of McCoy, Andrew Cartmel, etc. - that the attempt to cancel the show after season 22 failed, and instead of ending after one of its worst seasons, it went on to end after one its best (season 26).
Gregg, UK

Bad news. God bless.
Derrick Thatcher, British Channel Islands

It's a tragedy that he had to die so young, but it is blessing for lifelong Dr. Who fans world wide.
Frank Reynolds, Canada

I am deeply saddened on hearing about the death of JNT, I remember meeting him at a convention years ago and he was lovely! My deepest sympathy to his family and friends, he was far too young to die. Rest in peace JNT
Claire Friend, UK


JNT was always a controversial figure amongst fans, but I will remember him as a hard-working flamboyant man who fought continually for the show

Jason Davies, UK
JNT was always a controversial figure amongst fans, but I will remember him as a hard-working flamboyant man who fought continually for the show, staying on despite his efforts to move to pastures new. I will miss him.
Jason Davies, UK

John Nathan-Turner was clearly dedicated to Doctor Who, and much of the criticism levelled at him was unjustified. He produced many more good stories than bad and overall he was an asset to the programme. So especially for Seasons 18, 19 & 26 I thank you John.
Ian Harris, England

I was completely shocked to hear of the death of JN-T. Having seen him a month ago at a convention in Coven I knew he wasn't very well, but this has come as a terrible shock. I greatly admired his work and dedication to the series. He was a talented and gifted producer who gave his all to Doctor Who. JN-T thank you and god rest you.
Kenny McGuinness, Renfrewshire

While I am sure Mr Nathan-Turner was a lovely man, and admire him for his commitment to his program, your earlier correspondent saying "a nation mourns" is vastly over the top. Though doubtless ground-breaking in it's conception and early years, Dr Who never moved on and at the end was pathetically out of date and laughably poor, especially when it was up against programs such as Knight Rider and the A-Team. The real shame here is Mr Nathan-Turners obvious talent for storytelling wasn't better employed by the BBC, instead of him being stuck helming such a shambles of a program.
Dennis Gunther, UK

A Nation mourns.
Guy Chapman, UK

Having recently listened to his memoirs on CD, John had such an obvious enthusiasm for the show. There were times when he felt he'd been pushed into continuing producing the programme when he wanted to move onto new projects, but that never compromised his commitment. For the fans there was always plenty to discuss during his tenure. It was never a dull time.
Kris Stevens, UK


I'm very shocked to hear the news

Duncan Hurwood, England
I'm very shocked to hear the news. I saw JNT at a convention a few weeks ago. JNT's presence at Doctor Who events was ubiquitous... I just assumed he'd always be around, and so never tried to speak to him. He was responsible for making a programme that has brightened up my life, and I never thanked him when I had the chance. Very sad news indeed.
Duncan Hurwood, England

Whilst some of John Nathan Turner's creative decisions during his time as producer of "Doctor Who" have been criticised, it should be remembered by all that he fought against almost impossible odds to keep the programme running at all in the face of apathetic and increasingly hostile soap-opera orientated management policies.
William Ramsden, UK

John Nathan Turner was one of Doctor Who's greatest ambassadors. He had to resurrect the programme during the eighties, when TV politics proved a barrier for Doctor Who. John did it with dedication and foresight. We can sit back now and enjoy stories on audio featuring Doctors he cast in stories that don't have to 'please all' to get the ratings. He was a legacy for the programme and it is very sad that he has lost his life so young. Rest in peace JNT and best wished to all who were close to him.
Jim, England

I had the pleasure of first meeting JNT back in 1988. He could be irascible and stubborn, but this was due to his overwhelming love for Doctor Who - he could equally light up a room with his anecdotes and joi de vivre. He brought the series into the 1980s, and protected it when certain elements at the BBC would rather have consigned it to the scrapheap, even though he effectively sacrificed furthering his own career to ensure the series' survival. God bless, John - you'll be sadly missed. Thanks for everything.
Craig Hinton, London, UK


My childhood imagination was fired by the 'Doctor Who' series produced by John Nathan-Turner

Steve Berry, UK
My childhood imagination was fired by the 'Doctor Who' series produced by John Nathan-Turner. It was during his tenure that the show became less of a comedy fantasy half-hour and more of a serious-minded adventure series. JN-T took risks by commissioning thought-provoking stories and taking decisions that challenged viewers. Despite the BBC's insistence that the show was a "tired" format, John struggled to make the best of this low-budget show. It is odd to think that all those efforts were expended for us, the viewers, who - to be honest - rarely notice, and who John never know.
Steve Berry, UK

You may not have been my favourite producer, John - but you were a lovely bloke, a great entertainer and someone who always had time for fans. Rest in peace, you've earned it.
Bill, UK

Sad news. I grew up with the JNT era, and, although it perhaps wasn't the best the series had been, it was still better and more imaginative than most of the TV being produced now. It's doubly sad given that there is a plaque unveiling to the first three Doctors by a charity called The Heritage Foundation at BBC TV Centre in two weeks' time; it would have been great if JNT could have been there.
Gareth, UK

See also:

03 May 02 | New Media
Doctor Who producer dies
14 Feb 02 | New Media
Doctor Who back online
13 Jul 01 | New Media
Fans applaud Doctor's return
13 Jul 01 | Reviews
Doctor Who: Your views
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