In 1985, he controversially put Doctor Who on an eighteen-month hiatus citing low ratings, overly violent content, and farcical storylines. In 1986, he compelled John Nathan-Turner to fire Colin Baker. In 1987, Grade stepped down as Controller and was succeeded by Jonathan Powell.
I hated Doctor Who. I said to the producer, "Do you go to the cinema much? Have you seen Star Wars or ET?" He said yes. I said, "I've got news for you, so has our audience. What we were serving up as science fiction was garbage".
Despite his consequent negative image amongst Doctor Who fans, he was unambiguously good for the programme on at least one occasion. In 2004, Grade, as Chairman of the BBC Board of Directors, presided over the unanimous vote which elected Mark Thompson as the Director-General of the BBC. Thompson stayed in the job for eight years, until the broadcast of the beginning of series 7. Grade is thus partially responsible for installing a management regime which allowed Doctor Who to become one of the leading shows in Britain.
Grade's expressed attitude toward the programme softened somewhat with the revived series. In 2012 he told the Radio Times "From clunky Daleks that couldn't go up and down stairs to the filmic qualities today of Doctor Who, it's a transformation. The show still leaves me cold, but I admire it, which I never did before."
Grade also contributed to the 2012 charity reference book Behind the Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who. In his essay he remains firm that the show was "horrible" and deserved cancellation when he did so, but praises Russell T Davies and the revived series.
In the DWU[edit | edit source]
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- Internet Movie Database at the
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- People Pill
- Behind the Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Whopp.24-26