'Favourite Pip and Jane Baker script'...daming with faint praise, surely? ;)
Most fans seem to prefer one of their Colin Baker scripts.
I was also a child during the McCoy years and the show had a real buzz about it. A whole new generation of fans were growing and enjoying it and we neither knew nor cared about some of the crap in certain silly fanzines.
Regarding the show's survival I don't think it would have hinged on McCoy's contract. If I understand correctly television contracts work as a series of options so that if a show is a success you don't struggle to reassemble the cast every year (at least until the initial contracts run out; renewals become a pain as the actors start demanding more freedom and shorter options each time) but if it's a failure you don't have to pay the actors for several more years. How long contracts are varies depending on localised practice and the strength of the actor. I suspect Christopher Eccleston wasn't tied by an option for a second year but normally the Doctor actor would only get that when it came to renewals.
Colin Baker seems to have taken advantage of failings in the BBC system. Effectively he argued his option for the 1985/6 season had already been taken up before the cancellation news. That season was already in preproduction with some directors assigned and early casting so it should have been clear the option had been exercised.
If there was anyone who would get paid regardless in the McCoy years it was John Nathan-Turner. He was on a BBC staff producer contract which was harder to drop. The BBC was actively trying to get rid of the post but largely by not appointing new ones and encouraging existing ones out, which also reduced the potential alternative shows he could have been assigned to.
I think Time just has more sensible dialogue than their other two stories (small pickings I know). I did used to like Watt on Earth though.
As far as fans go, I was amazed that, considering some of the stuff revealed about him in (one of the weaker aspects of the book is it tries to make "Was JNT a paedophile?" a question even though he blatently wasn't, when the real question should be "Was JNT a rapist?", to which the answer would seem to be "Yes", as getting young men drunk and then forcing himself on them seems to be a reccuring MO of his) it's still some of the fans who come off worse in the JNT biography book.
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.
Action Force/G.I. Joe