Doctor Who staff "used positions to sexually exploit young male fans of show in 1980s"

Two senior Doctor Who staff 'used their jobs to sexually exploit young male fans of BBC show in 1980s'
Producer John Nathan-Turner 'groomed young men who visited studios'
Production manager Gary Downie was also involved, new book claimsBook claims JNT once engaged in sex act in BBC office while on phone

By
Rebecca Evans

PUBLISHED:

16:21 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:18 GMT, 24 March 2013

The BBC faces a new sex scandal over claims two senior Doctor Who staff abused their positions to exploit fans.

A book alleges the show’s longest-serving producer, John Nathan-Turner, and his partner, production manager Gary Downie, preyed on young male fans in the 1980s.

Many of the men, the book says, were under 21 – at the time the homosexual age of consent.
Former Blue Peter editor Richard Marson makes the claims in his biography of Mr Nathan-Turner, who died in 2002.

Claims: Producer John Nathan-Turner and production manager Gary Downie allegedly groomed young men - many of whom were under below 21, the then-homosexual age of consent - who visited the studios

Claims: Producer John Nathan-Turner and production manager Gary Downie allegedly groomed young men – many of whom were under below 21, the then-homosexual age of consent – who visited the studios

In JN-T: the Life and Scandalous
Times of John Nathan-Turner, Mr Marson says he was propositioned in
1984, aged 17, after visiting the studio for a Doctor Who Magazine
article.

He writes: ‘He [Nathan-Turner] got a bit frisky, shall we say.
‘I was a bit taken aback; I was only 17 and . . . he said to me, “You’re so f****** provincial”.’

The next year, on the promise of
Doctor Who photographs, Mr Marson visited the studio again. He says he
was then assaulted by Mr Downie, who died in 2006.

In another incident, Mr Marson says a
wealthy fan supplied Mr Nathan-Turner with male escorts in exchange for
visits to the studio and souvenirs.

He adds both men were on the look-out
for teenage fans who would have sex with them because of Doctor Who –
dubbing the fans ‘doable barkers’.

He claims Mr Nathan-Turner, producer
from 1980-89, once engaged in a sexual act in his BBC office while on
the phone to Blue Peter editor Biddy Baxter.

Daleks: Former BBC producer Richard Marson admitted that his book, JN-T: the Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, includes 'things that it will be difficult for Doctor Who fans to read' (file picture)

Daleks: Former BBC producer Richard Marson admitted that his book, JN-T: the Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, includes 'things that it will be difficult for Doctor Who fans to read' (file picture)

The accusations come in the wake of
the Jimmy Savile scandal, with fears the BBC DJ and Jim’ll Fix It host
sexually abused up to 450 adults and children.

The BBC was accused of a cover-up after dropping a Newsnight investigation into Savile after his death in 2011.

The broadcaster has since established a review to hear victims’ evidence and to examine the culture of the institution.

Mr Marson says some people felt the
men’s behaviour was ‘inappropriate’, but were not willing to tell
police. He writes: ‘It would not be true to say I’ve found anyone
willing to testify to coercion or abuse.'

He told online sci-fi magazine
Starburst: ‘I don’t think he [Nathan-Turner] was predatory . . . I don’t
think he forced himself on the unwilling. I was much more cautious
about Gary.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We cannot
comment on individual cases but clearly allegations of this nature are
extremely serious. We have set up the Dame Janet Smith Review to help us
understand how alleged incidents of this nature could have been
committed and how we can avoid them happening again.’

Police dismissed reports of a
suspected paedophile ring at BBC soap EastEnders. The Sun newspaper
yesterday claimed a unit was set up over allegations adults groomed
children on set in the 1980s and 90s.

Police said no such unit exists and no abuse was reported.