Preceded by: Barry Letts Succeeded by: Graham Williams
Phillip Hinchcliffe was the seventh producer of Doctor Who, taking over from Barry Letts in 1974 – until 1977; when he was replaced by Graham Williams.
For his first Doctor Who assignment, Hinchcliffe shadowed outgoing producer Barry Letts on Tom Baker’s first serial Robot.
Hinchcliffe’s first serial – as new producer, was The Ark In Space. With new script-editor Bob Holmes onboard. Hinchcliffe set about bringing in his new darker gothic-horror vision for the show; with Hammer Horror and classic literary influences.
On screen, there were a few changes made aswell. The Doctor left the Brigadier and UNIT behind to go travelling around time-and-space again. He said goodbye to long-term companion; Sarah-Jane Smith.
These years between 1975 – 77 (helmed by Hinchcliffe) have been held up as the finest in the shows entire run, fronted by the best Doctor. It is definitely hard to argue against this when looking at the serials produced.
Season 12 & 13 produced some the greatest Doctor Who serials of all time with The Ark In Space, Pryamids Of Mars, Genesis Of The Daleks, Planet Of Evil, The Deadly Assassin, Android Invasion, Brains Of Morbius, Talons Of Weng-Chiang and The Seeds Of Doom; chiefly among them.
It wasn’t all plain-sailing for Hinchcliffe through this golden age and Doctor Who was targeted by a very high-profile moral campaign, led by Mary Whitehouse. Who frequently criticised the show for having become too dark, violent and inappropriate for children.
Future producers were asked to tone down some of the more adult darker content. However, Hinchcliffe was lucky to see his dark gothic horror vision through to the end of his run.
Hinchcliffe left after 3 years, feeling that he had done all he could with the show. He was replaced – as producer, by Graham Williams.
In the many years since, Hinchcliffe’s dark gothic take on Doctor Who has won a legion of new fans (many who weren’t born during the original show’s run).many of the stories (whilst lacking sone production values) still standup as bold horror tales today.
The show’s future prospects, would be very mixed – after this golden period eventually signalling a long slow decline up until cancellation but that is for future reviews.
Hinchcliffe holds the slightly dubious honour of being the oldest living Who producer still alive today. He contributed extensively to the Tom Baker DVD and Bluray releases and still attends fan conventions.