Graham Williams (television producer)

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Graham Williams
Born Richard Graham Williams
(1945-05-24)24 May 1945
Cheshire, England
Died 17 August 1990(1990-08-17) (aged 45)
Tiverton, Devon, England
Cause of death Shooting Accident
Occupation Television producer/script editor
Spouse(s) Jacqueline (widow)
Children 3 - Richard Williams, David Williams, Katie Williams.

Graham Williams (24 May 1945 - 17 August 1990) was a British television producer and script editor, whose best known work was on the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who.

Early work as script editor[edit]

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.

Work on Doctor Who[edit]

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 his superiors to tone down the violence.[1] Williams later said of his time on Doctor Who: "It all went wrong right from the start, when I was told to make the show more funny, and less violent. Unfortunately, this would have required a lot of money, of which we had practically sod all. Tom Baker, however, thought it was a splendid idea, and kept putting in all these bad puns and terrible jokes, which didn't get any better when I brought Dougie Adams in."

Although the viewing figures dipped somewhat during Williams' first two seasons, they remained fairly healthy and in 1979, the series achieved ratings as high as 16.1 million viewers (for episode 4 of City of Death), its highest ever - although this was partly attributable to the strike which took the BBC's main rival, ITV, off the air.[2]

Williams also wrote significant portions of the script for two stories beset by writing problems, City of Death and The Invasion of Time.[1]

During his period on the programme, Williams worked closely with three script editors: the experienced Robert Holmes;[3] Anthony Read;[4] and Douglas Adams;[5] Adams went on to write hugely popular novels 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).

In 1985, he helped design the Doctor Who text video game Doctor Who and the Warlord.[6]

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.

After Doctor Who[edit]

He left the BBC in the early 1980s and went on to produce drama series for ITV, including Super Gran,[7] before leaving television in the late 1980s to run The Hartnoll Hotel, a country hotel in Bolham, Tiverton, Devon.[8]


He died in a shooting accident at home on 17 August 1990.[8] He left a widow, Jacqueline, and three children.


  1. ^ a b "Graham Williams - Doctor Who Interview Archive". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "City of Death ***". RadioTimes. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Season 15". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Season 17". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "The CURSE of WHO: WHY has there never been a decent videogame with the Doctor? • The Register". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Philip Hinchcliffe
Doctor Who Producer
Succeeded by
John Nathan-Turner