Derrick Sherwin

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Derrick Sherwin
Born(1936-04-16)16 April 1936
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, U.K.
Died17 October 2018(2018-10-17) (aged 82)
OccupationTelevision producer, writer, story editor, actor
Spouse(s)
Jane Sherwin (née Parsons)
(m. 1957; div. 1982)

Derrick George Sherwin (16 April 1936 – 17 October 2018[1][2]) was an English television producer, writer, story editor and actor. After beginning his career in the theatre, Sherwin became an actor in television before moving into writing. He became the story editor on Doctor Who and, as the producer of the series in 1969, he oversaw the transition from black and white to colour by producing Patrick Troughton's final story and Jon Pertwee's first. He also co-produced Paul Temple for the BBC.

Early life[edit]

Sherwin began his career in the theatre and worked as a junior set designer, scenic artist, scene shifter, stage manager and lighting designer. He also spent two years of National Service in the Royal Air Force. Following this, Sherwin established himself as an actor in theatre, films and television. While still working as an actor, Sherwin also began work as a freelance writer, contributing scripts to series such as Crossroads and Z-Cars.[3]

Doctor Who[edit]

In 1967, Sherwin was offered a story-editing role on Doctor Who by BBC Head of Serials Shaun Sutton. He was story editor/script editor on the stories from The Web of Fear to The Mind Robber, on the latter tale writing the first episode.[4] He also wrote the script for The Invasion, which introduced the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT), having adapted the original storyline supplied by Kit Pedler.

In 1968-1969, Sherwin began to take a greater role in the producing side of Doctor Who, and after the serial The Mind Robber, he became the unofficial Assistant Producer for the next 3 serials, with Terrance Dicks succeeding him as script editor. On The Space Pirates, Sherwin briefly resumed his old role as script editor,[5] while Dicks was busy writing the epic 10-part season finale The War Games, with Malcolm Hulke. Dicks has credited Sherwin with the creation of the Time Lords, who were introduced in The War Games, scripted by Dicks and Malcolm Hulke.

Sherwin succeeded Peter Bryant as producer of the programme in 1969, producing the serials The War Games and Spearhead from Space.[6] Sherwin was also involved with Bryant in the casting of Jon Pertwee in the lead role on the programme.[7] He also made a small on-screen appearance as a car park attendant in Spearhead from Space – he had formerly been an actor and was still a member of the actors' union, and dismissed the actor originally cast in the part for not being able to perform the role adequately.[8]

Sherwin was responsible for the idea of exiling the Doctor to Earth (which happens at the end of the Second Doctor's last serial, The War Games), a decision he took in an attempt to improve falling viewing figures, reinvent the programme and bring more reality to Doctor Who by basing it more on Nigel Kneale's Quatermass serials from the 1950s.[8] For this purpose, Sherwin created the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) in The Invasion as an organisation that the Doctor could become allied to on Earth during his exile.[5] UNIT became a prominent feature of Doctor Who throughout the Third Doctor's era, when Doctor Who was produced by Sherwin's successor, Barry Letts. Sherwin left Doctor Who after Jon Pertwee's debut serial, Spearhead from Space.

After leaving Doctor Who, Sherwin maintained connections with the series. When Michael Grade threatened to axe the show in 1985, Sherwin offered to “take it off [his] hands” and “produce it independently”, and also claimed to have done this a second time with Peter Cregeen, the man responsible for Doctor Who’s actual cancellation in 1989 [9]. He later contributed to several documentaries for the Doctor Who DVD range, as well as providing commentaries for the two stories he produced and surviving episodes of The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space for the Lost in Time collection.

Other work[edit]

After Doctor Who, Sherwin once again worked alongside Peter Bryant, after Bryant successfully persuaded Sherwin to join him on the production of Paul Temple (1969-1971). Sherwin later produced The Man Outside (1972), Ski-Boy (1973), and The Perils of Pendragon (1974).

Death[edit]

Derrick Sherwin died on 17 October 2018 following a long illness.

Selected filmography[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Who's Next? (2014) (autobiography). Fantom Films Ltd. ISBN 9781781961117
  • The Perfect Assassin or Wroten's Law (2014). (novel). United p.c. ISBN 9783710303319

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Derrick Sherwin 1936-2018". Doctor Who News. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  2. ^ Hadoke, Toby (November 6, 2018). "Derrick Sherwin obituary". theguardian.com. Archived from the original on 2018-11-06. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Doctor Who. The Seventies. Howe-Stammers-Walker, 1994, Doctor Who Books, ASIN: B0013CRH64
  4. ^ "Derrick Sherwin Interview". Bestbritishtv.com. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Season 6". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Top 10 Doctor Who producers: Part One". Denofgeek.com. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  7. ^ "The War Games". A Brief History of Time (Travel). Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Derrick Sherwin - Doctor Who Interview Archive". Drwhointerviews.wordpress.com. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Derrick Sherwin - Doctor Who Interview Archive". Drwhointerviews.wordpress.com. Retrieved 26 March 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Peter Bryant
Doctor Who Producer
1969–70
Succeeded by
Barry Letts