Date Of Birth / Death: 16 April 1936 – 17 October 2018
Doctor Who Producer: 1969 – 1970
Preceded by: Peter Bryant
Succeeded by: Barry Letts
Derek Sherwin was the fifth producer of Doctor Who, taking over from Peter Bryant in 1969 – until 1970; when he was replaced by Barry Letts.
Derek Sherwin was Peter Bryant’s script-editor and when Peter Bryant left the role of producer – it was offered to Derek Sherwin.
Sherwin’s producer stint was the shortest of all, with only 2 adventures to his name. saw out Patrick Troughton’s era, with his final adventure; The War Games. Before producing the new incoming Third Doctor’s adventure Spearhead From Space.
In his short producing spell, Sherwin managed the change, from the Troughton’s black-and-white – to Pertwee’s full colour era.
“We were going from black and white to colour, which was an expensive exercise, and we had to have a run of productions that we could afford. We couldn’t keep on creating spaceships and monster suits all over the place and going out to the back end of nowhere to film alien planets – it just wasn’t on with the financial restrictions that existed. We were aware that Patrick Troughton wanted to leave. He’d had a hard slog – we were doing forty-two episodes a year in those days – and he was very, very tired… …The Doctor had changed before, so we knew that we could change him again, and that’s what we did!” – Sherwin on the 1969 changes to the show.
Sherwin also had a part in securing Jon Pertwee, for the role of the Third Doctor. He was also the writer who had originally created UNIT and the character Corporal Benton (as he wrote Troughton’s Invasion serial).
Sherwin also came up with the idea of exiling the Third Doctor on Earth. This was to ‘ground’ the show (to base it solely on Earth), save on the budget and set it in the same vein as 50’s TV series Quartermass.
During 1969, their was a BBC studio technians strike, which threatened to derail the show’s production. It was Sherwin who rearranged the production and shot all of Spearhead From Space on location using 16mm footage.
Sherwin was also an actor and made a cameo appearance in Spearhead From Space, as a bemused garage-attendant. As he had fired the chosen actor, who could not get the right take.
In the midst of filming Spearhead From Space, Doctor Who’s production office got a major shake-up when the BBC decided to shift both Peter Bryant and Sherwin over to the series Paul Temple.
This left the producer slot vacant. Douglas Camfield (Who had directed Invasion) was first asked to take over, as producer. When he declined, Sutton instead approached fellow-director Barry Letts (who had helmed Enemy Of The World).
“Jon Pertwee was terribly nervous about doing the series – he had never done drama before – and I told him that if anything went wrong we could simply stop and do another take. The fact that he could treat it like a film reassured him, and then he got used to it. It finally gave him the confidence, because he found the character!” – Sherwin on Pertwee.
After Doctor Who, Sherwin left the BBC and started his own production company. During the 1980’s when Doctor Who was threatened with being axed. Sherwin offered to buy the rights to the show, produce it and sell back a finished product to the BBC. He made the offer twice to both BBC Controller Michael Grade and his successor Peter Creegan. He was refused.
He spent time on the fan circuit, attending conventions and was interviewed for various Doctor Who DVD releases. He died recently – in 2018, aged 84.
Season Six – 1969 :
The War Games⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Season Seven – 1970 :
Spearhead from Space⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐