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Ned Sherrin

Ned Sherrin
Born Edward George Sherrin
(1931-02-18)18 February 1931
Low Ham, Somerset, England
Died 1 October 2007(2007-10-01) (aged 76)
Chelsea, London, England
Cause of death
Throat cancer
Nationality British
Occupation Broadcaster, author and stage director

Edward George "Ned" 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 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Selected works 4
  • References 5

Early life

Born in a farming family at Low Ham[1] on the Somerset Levels, Sherrin attended Sexey's School, in Bruton, Somerset.[2][3] Although he read law at Exeter College, Oxford, and subsequently qualified as a barrister,[4] he became involved in theatre at Oxford and joined British television at the founding of independent television in 1956, 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.[5] 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[6] 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 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 numerous theatre productions in London's West End, including Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and the landmark musical 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.[7]

On BBC Radio 4, from 1986, he presented a light entertainment show on Saturday mornings (latterly evenings) called Loose Ends,[8][9] 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.[8]

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

Openly gay,[10][11] he was a patron of the London Gay Symphony Orchestra,[12] as well as the Stephen Sondheim Society of Singapore up until 1995. Sherrin was awarded a CBE in the 1997 New Year's honours list.[13][14] He was diagnosed with unilateral vocal cord paralysis in January 2007[15] and died of complications of throat cancer on 1 October 2007, aged 76.[16]

Selected works

  • 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. 
  • 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:  
  • 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. 


  1. ^ "Ned Sherrin (1931–2007)". IMDB. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Coveney, Michael (2 October 2007). "Groundbreaking iconoclast bows out". Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Bio: Ned Sherrin
  4. ^ "Obituary: Ned Sherrin". BBC. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Briggs, Asa (1995), History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, Oxford University Press, p. 158,  
  6. ^ "Sherrin, Ned (1931–2007)". Screenonline. BFI. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Olivier Award winners for 1984
  8. ^ a b Smith, Alistair (2 October 2007), "Satirical trailblazer and broadcaster Ned Sherrin dies",  
  9. ^ Macintyre, James (2 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin, stalwart of Radio 4, dies aged 76". Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Martin, Douglas (5 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin, Creator of Mock News 'Week,' Dies at 76". New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Dwyer, Ciara (30 October 2005), "Sherrin and the source of all pleasure",  
  12. ^ Gibson, Owen (2 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin, wit, impresario, bon viveur and Radio 4 stalwart, dies at 76". Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "Tributes paid to Ned Sherrin CBE". BBC Press Office. BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Sanderson, David (2 October 2007). "Ned Sherrin: That Was The Life That Was". London: Times Online. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  15. ^ The silencing of Ned Sherrin, Daily Mail Online, 23 March 2007, retrieved 20 October 2008 
  16. ^ Gibson, Owen (1 October 2007), Ned Sherrin, wit, impresario, bon viveur and Radio 4 stalwart, dies at 76, London: Guardian Unlimited, retrieved 1 October 2007 
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