Totally Tasteless: The Life of John Nathan-Turner

Totally Tasteless: The Life of John Nathan-Turner

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Richard Marson's book, Totally Tasteless: The Life of John Nathan-Turner (previously titled 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.

This new edition features a cover painting by artist Andrew Skilleter, some additional photographs and documents and a new chapter detailing the year of the book's release, and the full story behind the press attention. The basic text of the book remains the same as in the previous edition. A full announcement can be found here: Click.

Book and cover design: Robert Hammond



"(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)

"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."

The Times


"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."

Gay Times


"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."

Entertainment Focus


“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)


Previously 'JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner'.

Parental discretion is advised if purchasing this title for younger readers.

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