Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

December Books 20) The John Nathan-Turner Memoirs

An unexpected Christmas bonus for us subscribers from Big Finish (unexpected to me at any rate, though I admit I tend to just download my own subscriptions and the occasional podcast and therefore miss a lot of the interactivity on offer). This is the original 4 CD set of the memoirs of Doctor Who's longest serving producer, read by JNT himself and originally released by Big Finish in November 2000, eighteen months before his death.

I must say that my opinion of JNT as a human being has improved considerably as a result of listening through the whole set. He is, with a few exceptions (notably Eric Saward, though even there he records some good moments along with the bad), loyal to those who worked for him and reserves most of his criticism for the higher-ups at the BBC who made his job difficult and eventually impossible while also insisting that he keep on doing it. One gets the sense of a man of limited vision but a keen sense of pragmatism, not perhaps as burdened with ego as I had expected, though with very few regrets. Fan criticism obviously did get to him; his riposte to those (including me) who did not like Dimensions in Time is to ask if we would rather have had no commemoration of Who's 30th anniversary at all (because that was the only other option on offer)? I wished that it had been twice as long, and I wished also that he had gone into a bit more detail about the major casting and crew decisions which he made. But his insider account of the Great Cancellation Crisis of 1985 is particularly compelling, and his voice is laden with emotion at the very end as he discusses why he would not want to be involved with any revival of Who, while wishing any such project well. I wondered if he was already aware that he might not live to see it happen.

Anyway, essential listening for anyone interested in the history of Who, and quite an enlightening insight into the internal politics of TV production in its own right.
Tags: bookblog 2011, doctor who, doctor who: reference
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