Me & Him & Who

Me & Him & WHO – audio drama review

Posted Filed under

Writer Stephen Wyatt dramatizes the final years of John Nathan-Turner, classic Doctor Who’s last producer. 

In the years since his death, plenty has been written and said about the life and times of John Nathan-Turner (aka JN-T).

JN-T’s association began with Doctor Who in 1969 and he worked on the show intermittently across the subsequent decade. In 1979 he was appointed to the role of producer and he steered the show through nine seasons – from Tom Baker’s final run until the BBC called time in 1989.

Famous for his colourful Hawaiian shirts and his eye for publicity, JN-T was a vivid figure. These days he’d be a “showrunner” or perhaps an Executive Producer, as his talents arguably lay more in production than scripting. Across a decade in charge, JN-T cast three Doctors and multiple companions, becoming a well-known public face of the show.

John Nathan-Turner

However, JN-T ultimately fell out of favour with the BBC; despite his lengthy career inside the corporation they made him redundant. He then struggled to sustain a career after Doctor Who. With his partner Gary Downie, who’d also worked on the show as a production manager, his final years were spent in Brighton, where this drama takes place.

Me & Him & WHO

Written by Stephen Wyatt, who penned two scripts for the Sylvester McCoy era, Me & Him & WHO is a two-hander; Christopher Guard plays JN-T and Peter Noble is Gary Downie. The story is told as John attempts to write his memoirs, returning to them at various points through the years. As he does, Gary interjects with waggish, bitchy and occasionally spiteful remarks but John’s loyalty to the show encourages him to “print the legend” rather than write a tell-all as Gary encourages.

As the story hops through JN-T’s Doctor Who tenure it addresses lots of familiar waypoints: John’s attempts to move on from the show; casting Colin Baker and that coat; Michael Grade’s canning of the show, hastily spun into a hiatus after a public outcry with an infamous charity single.

At the same time, it considers more difficult years after the show’s cancellation such as his dealings with a hostile fanbase and failed attempts to find other work. All this plays out against an increasing alcohol problem and Gary’s cancer, both sources of tension which fuel the pair’s spiky, but ultimately loving, interactions.

Me & Him & Who

There’s a believable reality to the pair’s relationship, who criticise each other but also remain affectionate. Gary is rather bitter, while John remains optimistic, looking for a break to restore their fortunes. We chuckled at the pet names they had for both people and shows throughout; All Creatures Great and Small was “All Creatures Grunt and Smell”, while former script editor Eric Saward became “Eric Sadist”.

In summary

Me & Him & WHO is a fascinating look at one of Doctor Who’s most colourful off-screen characters, whose enthusiasm sustained the series for a decade. As the show enters a new phase of Disney-powered international distribution, this seems a timely moment for reflection. Arguably, had he lived to see it, it’s easy to imagine JN-T as one of the show’s greatest assets; his public loyalty to those he worked with shines through in Stephen Wyatt’s thoughtful, but ultimately tragic, script.

Naturally, the allegations surrounding the pair’s off-screen exploits, particularly Gary’s less-than wholesome fan interactions, are briefly addressed. First emerging in Richard Marson’s terrific 1993 biography of JN-T, they’ve been discussed elsewhere; notably, they were briefly tabloid fodder.

Wherever you stand on JN-T’s tenure as Doctor Who producer, his contribution to the show’s history was phenomenal. Me & Him & WHO is an appropriately bittersweet tribute to this complicated character, whose career and life is worthy of re-evaluation. More than that, it’s a touching and tragic love story too.

We also rather love the clever cover artwork by Robert Hammond which blends elements of Doctor Who‘s various 1980s title sequences.


You can pre-order Me & Him & WHO now. There’s a limited time Collector’s Edition CD release in December, while a digital release won’t come until 2023.

Many thanks to producer/director Barnaby Eaton-Jones and AUK Studios for the advanced review copy.