Graham Williams


Graham Williams

Graham Williams was a British television producer and script editor, whose best known work was on the BBC science fiction television series "Doctor Who".

After working as script editor for "The View From Daniel Pike" (1971), "Sutherland's Law" (1973), "Z Cars" (1975-1976) and "Barlow at Large" (1975), he was encouraged by his friend Bill Slater, then BBC Head of Serials, to move to producership and was eventually charged with taking over Doctor Who after Philip Hinchcliffe's highly successful but controversial spell in charge of the series.

He was the producer on the show between 1977 and 1980, during the Tom Baker era. Under Hinchcliffe, the series had been at its most popular, with the highest average viewing figures, but had also come under heavy media criticism for the violent content. Upon taking over the reins of the series, Williams was instructed by BBC drama bosses to tone down the violence.

Although the viewing figures dipped somewhat during Williams' first two seasons, they remained fairly healthy and in 1979, the series achieved ratings in excess of 17.5 million viewers, its highest ever - although this was partly attributable to strike which took ITV, the BBC's main competitor, off the air.

Williams also wrote significant portions of the script for two stories beset by writing problems, "City of Death" and "The Invasion of Time".

During his period on the programme, Williams worked closely with three script editors: the experienced Robert Holmes; Anthony Read; and Douglas Adams, who penned some of the most well-regarded stories of the Williams era and went on to write hugely popular novels and scripts such as "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

Williams left the series after three difficult years, handing over to John Nathan-Turner who had worked under him as Production Unit Manager.

During Nathan-Turner's reign as producer, Williams was approached by script editor Eric Saward to write a story for Colin Baker's second season. The script was at an advanced stage when it was abandoned, as were all the scripts initially commissioned for that season, after the series was put on hiatus in February 1985. In 1989 Williams wrote a novelisation of his story, "The Nightmare Fair" (ISBN 0-426-20334-8).

His work on the series is examined in some detail in the documentary 'A Matter of Time' (included in the 2007 BBC DVD release of The Key to Time series), which includes excerpts from two interviews with Williams, conducted at 1980s Doctor Who fan conventions.

He left the BBC in the early 1980s and went on to produce drama series for ITV, including Tales of the Unexpected (TV series) and Supergran, before leaving television in the late 1980s to run a country hotel in Tiverton, Devon.

He died on 17 August 1990. He left a widow, Jacqueline, and three children.

External links

*imdb name|id=1325889|name=Graham Williams


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