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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST LONDON NEWS


By David Lefkowitz
Published October 3 2007

  Ned Sherrin

TV producer and theatrical director Ned Sherrin, best known for the satirical UK series That Was the Week That Was and the Broadway revue, Side By Side By Sondheim died earlier this week of throat cancer at age 76.


Long lauded for his mischievous wit and his transformation of English TV comedy, Sherrin worked steadily from the late 1950s until last year, when his ailment kept him from being able to narrate the BBC Radio4 series, Loose Ends and Counterpoint. BBC director general Mark Thompson said in a statement, that Sherrin was a trail blazer whose contribution across decades made him one of Britain's best-loved voices.


Following his Oxford education and legal training, Sherrin worked on various projects for the BBC before coming up with That Was the Week That Was in 1962. A show of topical sketches and songs, the satire helped pave the way for everything from Not the Nine O'Clock News to The Daily Show, though Americans may be most familiar with the program because of the host, David Frost, and the songs Tom Lehrer crafted for it (and later recorded on his own).


In the mid-60s, Sherrin moved to film and produced such determinedly silly comedies as Up Pompeii, and the Marty Feldman vehicle, Every Home Should Have One. In 1973, he would also film the Peter Nichols satire, The National Health.


The theatrical musicals he wrote with collaborator Caryl Brahms are pretty much known only in Britain, but his conception and direction of the Stephen Sondheim tribute, Side By Side By Sondheim , became a template for many other composer-related revues of its kind. The show ran more than 800 performances in London, which led to a 384-performance Broadway run in 1977-78. His on-stage narration also garnered to a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.


Back in the UK, Sherrin won an Olivier Award for directing The Ratepayer's Iolanthe in 1984 and staged a revival of Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell last year. He toured in the solo, An Evening with Ned Sherrin , though people curious about his life could also read his numerous books, such as Ned Sherrin in his Anecdotage , A Small Thing Like an Earthquake and Sherrin's Year.


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