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Jonathan TurnerBorn: Tue 12th August 1947
Died: Wed 1st May 2002 (age: 54)
John Nathan-Turner is, to date, the longest-serving producer of Doctor Who, having worked on the show for 20 years.
He cast three Doctors - Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy - and numerous companions.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Nathan-Turner left King Edward VI School for Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre, where he acted and worked as assistant stage manager. He joined the BBC in London in 1968, where he also worked on a number of drama series, such as All Creatures Great And Small, The Pallisers, and Angels.
His first job on Doctor Who was in 1969 as floor assistant on The Space Pirates (alongside Patrick Troughton's Doctor) under the name John Turner, as there was already a Jonathan Turner in the industry. In the 1970s, he became assistant floor manager, then production unit manager, and when incumbent producer Graham Williams left in 1980 Nathan-Turner was an obvious successor.
During Nathan-Turner's first season in charge, Tom Baker, the fourth and longest-serving Doctor, announced he would be giving up the role. Nathan-Turner cast Peter Davison, an actor he knew from his work on All Creatures Great and Small.
Nathan-Turner was in charge for the 20th-anniversary story, The Five Doctors, in 1983. He worked round the problem of First Doctor William Hartnell no longer being alive by casting lookalike Richard Hurndall.
When Davison left the series in 1984, Nathan-Turner took on Colin Baker, best known at the time for his role in The Brothers.
When BBC1 Controller Michael Grade ordered that the show be suspended and Colin Baker replaced, Nathan-Turner cast the Seventh Doctor, picking light entertainer Sylvester McCoy. Doctor Who was scheduled against Coronation Street leading to a decline in ratings.
Even when the BBC pulled the plug on the series in December 1989, Nathan-Turner's involvement continued. The demand for Who products - documentaries, interviews, radio serials, conventions - led to him becoming the corporation's unofficial consultant. He co-wrote a Doctor Who skit for the 1993 Children in Need telethon, advised the monthly Doctor Who Magazine, corresponded with fans, gave interviews with fanzines and attended conventions.
As the show's last producer before its cancellation in 198i9, Nathan-Turner is often associated with the decline and fall of Doctor Who. But while budgetary constraints never allowed him to exterminate the wobbly sets, fancy-dress shop aliens and uncrowded crowd scenes, his era produced some of the series' most memorable moments: the surprise return of the Doctor's arch-enemy, the Master (1981); the shocking death of one of his companions (1982); and a Dalek actually going up the stairs (1988).
Shortly before his death, Nathan-Turner was writing and devising a children's television series, which was to have been narrated by Tom Baker.