Toby Hadoke's Who's Round 205 was the 205th episode of Toby Hadoke's Who's Round. In this episode, Toby Hadoke interviews director John Black, who worked on two very important serials of Doctor Who, The Keeper of Traken and Four to Doomsday, as well as the only television story K9 and Company ever got, A Girl's Best Friend.
He was a director at a key moment of change during the show, helming t[w]o very important stories with two Doctors - one at the end of his reign and one, literally, at the very beginning. He also found time to bring a spin-off to the screen and so he tells us about his relationships with some of the show's most important figures as well as life before and after Doctor Who, including a fascinating connection with the world of physical well-being which is the sort of bizarre nugget you'll only find in Who's Round.
Nominated charity: Second Sight
Topics covered Edit
- Directing The Keeper of Traken.
- John Nathan-Turner as a new producer on the show
- Relationship between John (Nation-Turner) and Barry Letts, who took control at the time over scripts, but nevertheless allowed him creative control.
- The clash between JN-T, and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead, during this season.
- The script of The Keeper of Traken, which JN-T thought was a weak script, but which allowed for a great amount of freedom.
- Set design by Tony Burrough
- How he got Amy Roberts, his girlfriend at the time, to do the costume design. She was then "one of the top BBC costume designers".
- Ease of getting actors for Doctor Who
- The casting of Anthony Ainley as Tremas, by JN-T, with immediate intent to use him as the Master.
- Working with Tom Baker; Baker's final years, and emotional issues at the time.
- Directing the K9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend.
- JN-T was pleased with John's work in Traken, and so wanted him to direct the pilot of K9 and Company.
- Themes of A Girl's Best Friend
- Working with K9 Mark III
- Working with Lis Sladen; casting of Bill Fraser, Colin Jeavons
- Novel experiences in this production—such as shooting on film, and having stunts and drivers—as a means of learning your craft, in directing.
- The opening music for K9 and Company
- A Girl's Best Friend status as "pilot", or, from most people's standpoints who were not JN-T, a one-off Christmas special.
- Directing Four to Doomsday
- First serial recorded with Peter Davison
- JN-T never explained why he cast Peter, and why he wanted him dressed in a cricket outfit
- Director and new Doctor struggling together to grasp the Fifth Doctor's character, to interpret this story and find his place
- Stratford Johns taking the role...and then finding out about the green make-up, and incredibly hot rubber costume. "He got increasingly irritated with the whole process."
- Relationship with actor Tom Kelly, who John knew from university days.
- The process of casting, and the reasoning behind John's casting choices.
- John's background, leading into reporting, and finally his directing career, from behind the camera. He did some documentaries for the BBC, took a 3-month course with them, and finally worked on his first drama, and got his first contract. He then spent at least two years as an assistant director, and learned from the directors he worked under.
- John's childhood spent in Africa. He was born in Malawi, spent some time in South Africa during the war, and then, in the five years between ages 5 and 10, he lived in the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania, at an altitude of 3,000 feet. John's father worked there at the time, in a small research station, as a research chemist for the colonial office.
- Moving away from television around the age of 60, on the realisation that freelance directing, as such, couldn't sustain him for much longer, and in part due to his health issues at the time. As John had a background in Pilates from before it became widely known, he trained as a Pilates teacher, and set up his own studio in his house. He ran the studio for ten years, before retirement.
- He now sometimes teaches English to young people around a hospital in Beha, India, where the effects of colonialism have it so medical exams are in English, and not in any native tongue.