The John Nathan-Turner Doctor Who Production Diary, 1979-90, by Richard Molesworth

Second paragraph from third year (1981):

John had also overseen a complete change of regular cast, and once ‘Logopolis’ was completed in the early weeks of January 1981, he would be in charge of a show that he had totally cast himself. The unveiling of Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor had afforded a welcome shot of publicity, and the show now needed to capitalise on this.

The one Who book that I picked up at Gallifrey One this year, this is the archive of papers retrieved from John Nathan-Turner’s estate after his death, briefly running through most of the days of each of the years in which he was in charge of the show. The bones of the story have been told elsewhere, notably by Nathan-Turmer himself and by Richard Marson, so this is just extra supporting documentary evidence.

I did find a couple of points of interest, all the same. I hadn’t appreciated that JNT and Peter Davison were already friends from All Creatures Great and Small, which both had worked on. It’s clear that the 1986 cancellation crisis was caused in part by JNT taking his eye off the ball and doing too many pantomimes and US conventions. And I don’t think I had absorbed that the eventual cancellation in 1989 came about almost accidentally after a co-funding opportunity for the show fell through.

It’s also interesting to see the scripts that never were. A few of these have since been completed and recorded by Big Finish, most notably “Song of the Space Whale” by Pat Mills. I wonder what happened to American writer Lesley Elizabeth Thomas, who submitted a four-part story which never got to screen? There’s not much else about her online; I bet she is mainly known under a different name.

Anyway, this really is for the completist only, but the completist will enjoy it. You can get it here.