Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A man of exquisite taste and pleasure in life

Described by Stephen Fry as "a man of exquisite taste and pleasure in life... who in many ways resembled a gigantic cat who found an enormous vat of cream", that marvellous and influential giant of British entertainment Ned Sherrin has died.

Ned Sherrin was not just the man who presented Loose Ends on Radio 4, but in his heyday was responsible for masterminding some of the most innovative and memorable shows in modern times.

No-one in these deeply cynical times can quite comprehend what a huge impact his show That Was the Week That Was must have been in the austere early 1960s, when poking fun at the establishment was usually done in a reverential and cap-doffing fashion. TW3 (as it became known) was certainly not reverential in any way, and set the scene for the emergence of generations of satirical media such as Private Eye and even Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You.

Ned was responsible not just for satirical programming but also some extremely popular "mainstream" plays, TV, radio and movies. He brought in-depth news reporting to our screens with the Tonight programme, produced big screen comedies such as The Virgin Soldiers, Up Pompeii, Up the Chastity Belt and Up The Front, and for the small stage that fabulous revue Side by Side by Sondheim, performed by Millicent Martin, Julia Mackenzie and David Kernan (a hit on both sides of the Atlantic), and the award-winning Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell with Peter O'Toole.

An out gay man with a regular penchant for rent boys and bitchy repartee, he was loved and feared by many. We will miss him more than we know.

Ned Sherrin obituary in the Guardian

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