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Richard Marson's book, JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner tells the story of the most controversial figure in the history of Doctor Who.
For more than a decade, John Nathan-Turner, or “JN-T” as he was often known, was in charge of every major artistic and practical decision affecting the world’s longest-running science fiction programme. Richard Marson brings his dramatic, farcical, sometimes scandalous, often moving story to life with the benefit of his own inside knowledge and the fruits of over 100 revealing interviews with key friends and colleagues, those John loved to those from whom he became estranged. The author has also had access to all of Nathan-Turner’s surviving archive of paperwork and photos, many of which appear here for the very first time.
"(The) book is extraordinary - a great piece of work. A major piece of Doctor Who history and the history of an entire industry - an entire age, really. I read it in two days flat, I couldn't stop. I've never seen a biographer enter the story like that, it was brilliant and invigorating. The ending is devastating, genuinely tragic. All those hopes and dream poisoned and rotted by alcohol. By writing about it, you have made something elegant and even beautiful out of such a wretched mess. And I think that's very kind of you indeed. This book says a lot about JN-T, but it says a lot about your good and kind heart, too."
Russell T. Davies (Writer/Producer)
(more review quotes can be found at the foot of this page)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
When he was still at school, Richard began to contribute to Doctor Who Magazine and for four years was their main features writer, regularly meeting those making the programme in this era and witnessing many studio recordings. When he left University, he joined the BBC as a floor assistant, working his way up the ranks to become a producer and director of programmes including Record Breakers, Tomorrow's World and The Movie Game (with John Barrowman). Outside the BBC, he worked for several companies including LWT, Planet 24 and Disney. He worked on Blue Peter for ten years, four of them as Editor, winning a BAFTA (as well as a gold Blue Peter badge!), writing and editing a string of the famous 'annuals' and the official book celebrating the programme's 50th anniversary.
He is also the author of Inside Updown, the definitive story of the classic TV series Upstairs, Downstairs. He now divides his time between writing and television work.
In 2012, he produced and directed a 90 minute documentary celebrating the BBC TV Centre, Tales of Television Centre.
He is married and lives with his family in St Albans.
"Deeply researched, full of surprises, turning out to be the best read of the year so far. It's a hell of an achievement, and I'm in awe of the evident work you've put into this. Thoughful analysis of the JNT/Gary Savillishness holds the whole nasty mess in sober focus. A fine book. Highly recommended."
Christopher H. Bidmead
"The definitive behind-the-scenes portrait of the show in the Eighties; densely researched, eminently readable. Marson has talked to almost every key player."
"Wickedly funny...deliciously showbiz - it ultimately had us both crying and laughing. Utterly, utterly wonderful - one of those books where you make excuses to run off and keep reading it."
"An excellent, fair book, if not always an easy read. Makes sense of a heck of a lot of things that happened. Also makes me wish that I'd got to know him better. I think I now do."
Mark Ayres (composer)
"A beautifully written and diligently researched book."
David Roden (writer)
"Fascinating and enlightening. How fabulous - John would have loved it!"
Stephen Cranford (friend to JN-T)
"Many congratulations! I stayed up reading until God knows what time three nights on the trot. I couldn't put it down. A wonderful story, beautifully written. I learnt lots I didn't know and more than a few suspicions confirmed. A very true picture of both John and Gary."
Sue Hedden (Assistant Floor Manager)
"Brought back some happy memories but also some dark stuff. Well researched and balanced."
Grahame Flynne (friend to JN-T)
"May well be the best book ever written about Doctor Who. Constantly insightful, regularlly shocking, essential reading for anybody interested in the performing arts industries."
“Completely addictive – scurrilous, fascinating, hilarious and naughty...”
Sophie Aldred (Ace)
“Really well written, lively, vivid and magnificently researched. It brings it all back and also tells me things I didn’t know.”
Andrew Cartmel (Doctor Who script editor 1987–89)
“Quite wonderful on many, many levels. Gripping, fascinating, appalling – and, by the end, truly moving. Immaculate research makes the whole utterly trustworthy. A very good and very well written book.”
David Reid (BBC head of drama series and serials, 1981–83)
“Reading it has been like travelling back in time myself. You’ve really brought John back to life, as complex and unpredictable as I remember him.”
Kate Easteal (John’s secretary, 1986–88)
“Some of the revelations are painful (but) we find this very rounded, well written and honest.”
Fiona Cumming and Ian Fraser
“This is quite, quite superb. One of the very best books I've ever read, up alongside Harry Thompson's work on Peter Cook, or Mark Lewisohn's piece on Benny Hill or the Humphrey Carpenter tome on Dennis Potter. Overall, the text paints an extremely vivid picture of a very complex man. A massive, skillful and talented piece of work."
Andrew Pixley (Doctor Who writer and historian)
“I must say you have skewered JN-T precisely. I can vouch for all of the facts and most of the opinions. It’s a very accurate - warts and all - picture you paint.”
Brian Spiby (Drama serials manager and later producer)
“It is riveting. I have just read the whole lot at a sitting. I’m very impressed by your research and by how frank people have been.”
Marcia Wheeler (Drama series and serials manager)
Product Code: MIWK119