Mark Shivas

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Mark Shivas (24 April 1938 – 11 October 2008) was a British television producer, film producer and executive.

Born in Banstead Surrey, Shivas was the son of a schoolmaster father who specialising in teaching English and a mother who was a librarian.[1] He attended Whitgift School in Croydon and Merton College, Oxford where he read Law.[2] While at University, Shivas wrote for the student magazine Oxford Opinions. After abandoning a legal career, the co-founder and assistant editor of the magazine Movie (1961–64)[3] which used the French publication Cahiers du Cinema as its model,[4] (1962–64) and contributed interviews and articles to The New York Times.[4]

He began his television career at Granada Television in 1964 as an assistant to the head of the story department and later worked on the company's Cinema series as a producer and presenter.[5] In 1969 he switched networks and the field in which he worked by joining the BBC drama department, quickly becoming one of the corporation's most successful and prolific producers. He achieved particular success with the costume drama The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970), which gained three Emmy Award nominations in 1972, and Dennis Potter's Casanova (1971). .

Other productions he oversaw included the anthology series Black and Blue (1973), which included the play Secrets by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Shivas produced The Borgias (1981) for the BBC, which was poorly received by critics, and suffered in comparison with the contemporary Brideshead Revisited on ITV.

In 1988 Shivas became Head of Drama at the BBC, a position he occupied until 1993 when he moved across to head up the Corporation's fledgling BBC Films for which, as executive producer, he oversaw twenty films.[6] In later years, he returned to producing as a freelancer. Some of his most noted later productions included the second series of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues in 1998 and the 2003 espionage drama Cambridge Spies.

Shivas died from lung cancer.[7]


  1. ^ Keith Dewhurst "Mark Shivas: Film and television producer who worked with an unmatched range of writers and directors", The Independent, 17 October 2008
  2. ^ "Mark Shivas, The Stage, 4 November 2012
  3. ^ "Mark Shivas Esq. Authorised Biography", Debrett's
  4. ^ a b Geoffrey McNab "UK producer Mark Shivas dies age 70", Screen Daily, 14 October 2008
  5. ^ "Producer Mark Shivas dies at 70", Variety, 14 October 2008
  6. ^ Obituary: Mark Shivas, Daily Telegraph, 16 October 2008
  7. ^ Philip Purser, Alan Bennett and Ronald Harwood Obituary: Mark Shivas, The Guardian, 16 October 2008

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Powell
BBC Television Head of Drama
Succeeded by
Charles Denton