With a new sex scandal involving its employees emerging on a regular basis it seems, the BBC was yet again thrust into the spotlight last night as reports of alleged sex abuse stories came to light, this time linking one of its biggest, and proudest, exports – Doctor Who!
Still licking its wounds after the Jimmy Savile scandal which implicated several employees from the corporation, the BBC are now facing allegations involving former Doctor Who staff who are accused of sexually abusing young, male fans of the hit BBC family entertainment sci-fi show, whilst they were visiting the studio during the 1980’s, the Sun newspaper reports.
Richard Marson, the former Blue Peter boss, has claimed that former one-time producer, John Nathan-Turner and his partner Gary Downie had sexual contact boys who were mostly in their teens, and were all under the legal age of homosexual consent, which was 21 at the time.
The claims, brought to light in Marson’s new book, include Nathan-Turner once engaging in a sexual act in his BBC office whilst in a phone conversation with the Blue Peter editor at the time, Biddy Baxter, who had no knowledge of what was going on at the other end of the line.
In response to these claims the BBC has confirmed that they intend to launch an investigation into the allegations which will be headed by former Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith, who is also involved in the Jimmy Savile scandal.
According to the publication, Marson’s allegations about Nathan-Turner in his book include “things it will be difficult for Doctor Who fans to read”.
Marson also claims in the book how Nathan-Turner, known in the industry as JN-T, made a move on him when he was just 17 and working for the Doctor Who magazine, explaining: “It happened after the first time I was invited up to go and see a recording of the show, and he just got a bit frisky, shall we say.
“I was a bit taken aback, I was only 17 and at the time he famously said to me, ‘You’re so f****** provincial’. And of course I was f****** provincial, I came from Bishop’s Stortford, I didn’t know anything about anything.
“I just thought I was in this kind of wonderland that was Television Centre, thinking it was an amazing place, and so I wasn’t really prepared for anything really sophisticated.”
“What you had was a promiscuous gay bloke who had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and liked getting off with young guys.
“I don’t think he was predatory, particularly. I don’t think he forced himself on the unwilling.
“I was much more cautious about Gary, his partner. John was just ‘go with the flow, life is a party … I’ll try it on and if somebody says yes, that’s up to them’. I have a less benevolent view of Gary.”
As well as claims against Nathan-Turner, who passed away in 2006, Marson also went on to say how an encounter with production manager Downie, who also died in 2006, in a BBC lift left him so scared he ran and hid under a desk.
This news comes after an interview with Doctor Who “superfan” Ian Levine last year where it was revealed that the books content would: “shock many people, things went on that were horrible, corrupt, too awful to discuss”.
A spokesman for the BBC reportedly told the publication: “We can’t comment on individual cases but 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 so we can avoid them happening ever again.”
Meanwhile former BBC producer, Marson said his book, JN-T: the Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, is due for release this May.
Meanwhile Doctor Who returns to our BBC screens at 6.10pm on Saturday 30th March with The Bells Of St John, watch the promo trailer for it in the clip below: