Former Doctor Who scriptwriter Johnny Byrne has died, aged 73. He is believed to have passed away on April 3rd.
Born in Dublin, Byrne was responsible for one of Doctor Who’s finest adventures, The Keeper of Traken which pitted the Doctor against the Master for the first time in 6 years – it also featured one of the shows greatest moments, as the Master claimed a new body at last…
Johnny Byrne also wrote 11 scripts for the Gerry Anderson serial Space: 1999, was main writer and script consultant on the BBC hit All Creatures Great and Small (the show that gave the world Peter Davison) and created that other Sunday night favourite, Heartbeat.
His other Doctor Who adventures were Arc of Infinity which pitted the Fifth Doctor against Omega once more, and the much maligned Warriors of the Deep. Both adventures suffered from poor production values, although it is generally considered that each harbours a good story bursting to get out.
In the late 1980s, Johnny Byrne was hired by the production company Daltenreys to rewrite a previous Doctor Who movie script by Mark Ezra. The result was The Time Lord, rewritten in 1991as Last of the Time Lords…
Of course, this movie never saw a pre-production period, nevermind a suitable budget. Not the best way to end an association with Doctor Who, sadly, but we can be thankful that we got three great stories from a prolific television writer.
He will be sadly missed.