Ned Sherrin Death, Obituary – It is difficult to think of anyone who lived the spirit of the modern, non-deferential show business age more entirely or more energetically than Ned Sherrin, who passed away at the age of 76 due to throat cancer. It is difficult to think of anyone who embodied the spirit of the modern, non-deferential show business age. He was a theatre director, satirist, television pioneer, raconteur, humorist, and public speaker with unlimited brio and zeal. He was most known for his work in film production.
He was also a very witty man, the kind of person with whom it was unwise to cross swords in a competitive setting (“Back in the knife box, Miss Sharp!” was part of the title of one of his anthologies): he once accused me of “getting it wrong” yet again at a theater opening in Chichester. “I’m not paid to be right,” I hastily said, “I’m paid to be interesting.” “I’m paid to be interesting,” I clarified. “Oh dear,” Ned exclaimed with a flash of his eye, “a failure on two counts, then…”
As the producer and director of That Was the Week That Was, he will undoubtedly secure a place for himself in the annals of television history. It is difficult to believe that the program was only on the air for a little over a year beginning at the end of 1962, but it was one of the most impactful media events in Britain.
A program that followed the killing of President John F. Kennedy and the manner in which Bernard Levin was permitted to run amok with unsuspecting interviewees will be particularly remembered since it was the one and only time that satire was absent from the broadcast. Its obvious and much cozier successors, Have I Got News for You on BBC television and The News Quiz on Radio 4, are both broadcast by the BBC.
Following Beyond the Fringe, which was a revue written and performed by Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Dudley Moore, TW3, as it was commonly called, was addictive viewing. This show served as the signal that British humor had reached adulthood. John Bird, who had been Sherrin’s first choice for the position of chairman, was unable to occupy the cheekily occupied chair at the desk by the young man with the crew cut.
Because Sherrin had a background in cabaret and revue, he was able to discover and bring out the skills of people like Roy Kinnear, Millicent Martin, Kenneth Cope, and Lance Percival, among others, during his career. The authors included Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall, Dennis Potter, Herbert Kretzmer, Gerald Kaufman, Bernard Levin, David Nathan, Peter Tinniswood, Peter Lewis, Christopher Booker, and Richard Ingrams. Waterhouse and Hall contributed to each and every edition of TW3.
Other contributors were Richard Ingrams, Christopher Booker, and Herbert Kretzmer. The gloves had been taken off ever since Peter Cook’s performance in Beyond the Fringe, in which he humiliated the Conservative prime leader Harold Macmillan. Cook opened the Establishment club on Greek Street, Soho, in the early part of 1961, just a few weeks after the London debut of Beyond the Fringe. Richard Ingrams launched the journal Private Eye in the latter half of 1961.