Ned Sherrin

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Ned Sherrin

Ned Sherrin
Edward George Sherrin

(1931-02-18)18 February 1931
Low Ham, Somerset, England
Died1 October 2007(2007-10-01) (aged 76)
Chelsea, London, England
Occupation(s)Broadcaster, author and stage director

Edward George Sherrin CBE (18 February 1931 – 1 October 2007) was an English broadcaster, author and stage director. He qualified as a barrister and then worked in independent television before joining the BBC. He appeared in a variety of radio and television satirical shows and theatre shows, some of which he also directed.

Early life[edit]

Sherrin was born at Gawlers Farm, Low Ham, Somerset, the second son of smallholding[1] farmer Thomas Adam Sherrin (1889–1965) and Dorothy Finch (née Drewett; 1895–1980).[2] He was educated at Sexey's School, in Bruton, Somerset,[3][4] and rendered his national service in the Royal Signals,[5] being commissioned as an officer in 1950.[6]

Although he read law at Exeter College, Oxford, and subsequently qualified as a barrister (called to the bar by Gray's Inn),[2][7] he became involved in theatre at Oxford and joined British television in 1956 shortly after the founding of independent television, producing shows for ATV in Birmingham.


Sherrin joined the BBC in 1957 as a temporary production assistant, then began working for them as a producer in Television Talks in 1963.[8] Specialising in satirical shows, he worked extensively in film production and television.

In 1962, he was responsible for the first satirical television series That Was The Week That Was[9] starring David Frost and Millicent Martin and its successors Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life and BBC-3. His other shows and films included Up Pompeii!, Up the Front, The Cobblers of Umbridge, World in Ferment, and The Virgin Soldiers. In 1978, he also hosted We Interrupt This Week, a lively and humorous news events quiz featuring two teams of well-known journalists and columnists sparring against one another. The show was a production of WNET/Channel 13 New York.

Sherrin produced and directed many theatre productions in London's West End, including Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and the musical revue Side by Side by Sondheim. He received an Olivier Award in 1984 for directing and conceiving The Ratepayers' Iolanthe, an adaptation by Sherrin and Alistair Beaton of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe.[10] Sherrin played the part of Addison in the film Orlando released in 1992.

On BBC Radio 4, from 1986, he presented a light entertainment show on Saturday mornings (latterly evenings) called Loose Ends,[11][12] and Counterpoint, a quiz show about all types of music, until forced off the air when his voice succumbed to throat cancer.

He also toured the UK with his one-man show An Evening of Theatrical Anecdotes.[11]

Sherrin wrote two volumes of autobiography, several books of quotations and anecdotes, as well as some fiction; and several works in collaboration with Caryl Brahms.

Personal life[edit]

Openly gay, he was a patron of the London Gay Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Stephen Sondheim Society of Singapore up until 1995.[13][14][15] Sherrin was awarded a CBE in the 1997 New Year Honours.[16][17] He was diagnosed with unilateral vocal cord paralysis in January 2007; this diagnosis was later changed to one of throat cancer,[18] from which he died on 1 October 2007, aged 76.[19]

Selected works[edit]

  • Sherrin, Ned (1983). A small thing – like an earthquake. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  • Sherrin, Ned; Shand, Neil (1984). 1956 and all that: a memorable history of England since the war to end all wars (Two). London: M Joseph.
  • Sherrin, Ned (1984). Cutting edge, or, "Back in the knife-box, Miss Sharp": Ned Sherrin's anthology of wit. London: J M Dent.
  • Brahms, Caryl; Sherrin, Ned (1984). Song by song: the lives and work of 14 great lyric writers. Egerton, Bolton: R Anderson Publications.
  • Brahms, Caryl; Sherrin, Ned (1986). Too dirty for the windmill. London: Constable. ISBN 9780094663800.
  • Sherrin, Ned (1991). Ned Sherrin's theatrical anecdotes: a connoisseur's collection of legends, stories, and gossip. London: Virgin.
  • Sherrin, Ned (1993). Ned Sherrin in his anecdotage: a classic collection from the master raconteur. London: Virgin.
  • Sherrin, Ned (1995). The Oxford dictionary of humorous quotations. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Sherrin, Ned (1996). Sherrin's year. London: Virgin.
  • Sherrin, Ned (1996). Scratch an actor. London: Sinclair-Stevenson.
  • Brahms, Caryl; Sherrin, Ned (1998). The Mitford girls: a musical. London: Warner/Chappell Music.
  • Sherrin, Ned (2004). I wish I'd said that. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Sherrin, Ned (2005). Ned Sherrin: the autobiography. London: Little, Brown.
  • Frost, David; Sherrin, Ned (1963). That was the week that was. London: W H Allen.


  1. ^ "Ned Sherrin". 18 September 2011. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/99194. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Coveney, Michael (2 October 2007). "Groundbreaking iconoclast bows out". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  4. ^ Bio: Ned Sherrin
  5. ^ "Ned Sherrin". Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  6. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 8 September 1950, p. 4527.
  7. ^ "Obituary: Ned Sherrin". BBC. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  8. ^ Briggs, Asa (1995), History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, Oxford University Press, p. 158, ISBN 0-19-215964-X
  9. ^ "Sherrin, Ned (1931–2007)". Screenonline. BFI. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Olivier Award winners for 1984". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  11. ^ a b Smith, Alistair (2 October 2007), "Satirical trailblazer and broadcaster Ned Sherrin dies", The Stage, retrieved 4 October 2007
  12. ^ Macintyre, James (2 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin, stalwart of Radio 4, dies aged 76". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  13. ^ Martin, Douglas (5 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin, Creator of Mock News 'Week,' Dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  14. ^ Dwyer, Ciara (30 October 2005), "Sherrin and the source of all pleasure", The Independent
  15. ^ Gibson, Owen (2 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin, wit, impresario, bon viveur and Radio 4 stalwart, dies at 76". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Tributes paid to Ned Sherrin CBE". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  17. ^ Sanderson, David (2 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin: That Was The Life That Was". The Times. London. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  18. ^ "Veteran broadcaster Ned Sherrin dies of cancer". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  19. ^ Gibson, Owen (1 October 2007), "Ned Sherrin, wit, impresario, bon viveur and Radio 4 stalwart, dies at 76", The Guardian, London, retrieved 1 October 2007

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