Vale Doctor Who Producer Derrick Sherwin, 1936-2018

He was a Doctor Who jack of all trades, but Derrick Sherwin, who died on 17 October at the age of 82, will be best remembered as the man responsible for creating UNIT.

Producer Derrick Sherwin died after a long illness.

Producer Sherwin worked on Who writing scripts, producing the series for the transition between the second and Third Doctor, and even appeared in one scene, playing a Car Park Attendant in the 1970 story Spearhead from Space.

But his real legacy came in 1968 when he created the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce or UNIT for the story The Invasion.

Born in 1936, he worked first in theatre before moving into television in 1958 and appearing in the show Duty Bound. His early work in dramas including as Here Lies Miss Sabry, The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre, United! and Armchair Theatre.

He joined Who as Assistant Script Editor to help the incumbent Peter Bryant who was preparing to take over as producer. It was a baptism of fire as he was immediately charged with rescuing a number of scripts which were not ready for production. He told Doctor Who Magazine.

“It was just before Christmas, and I was landed with a great pile of scripts that had to go into production immediately after the holiday break.

“The director had sent them back and said he wouldn’t do them. Pat Troughton had thrown a wobbly – they really were appalling! That set the pattern for the first three months. It was a real baptism of fire.”

He took over as Script Editor for the 1968 story The Dominators and later that year had the chance to write his own story from scratch. The result was The Invasion, the Cybermen story that set up the pattern for the series for much of the next five years. Sherwin felt the series had become too fantastical, with different monsters every week. He wanted to give the series a more grounded approach and saw as his inspiration the 1950’s Quatermass stories. To help achieve that he took a character created for the story The Web of Fear, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, promoted him to Brigadier, and created UNIT around him.

Sherwin moved into the role of producer for the last Patrick Troughton story, The War Games, which also featured his ex-wife Jane as Lady Jennifer, and was responsible for casting the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and overseeing the series move from black-and-white to colour.

He left the series after Spearhead in Space moving on to produce the series Paul Temple and later The Man Outside and Perils of Pendragon.

But that was not the end of his love for Doctor Who and when the show was under threat of cancellation from the BBC he offered to buy the franchise and produce it independently however he was turned down.

Sherwin died on the 17th October after a long illness.

RIP Michael Pickwoad, Doctor Who production designer

The DWCA is sad to announce the passing of Michael Pickwoad, production designer on Doctor Who from 2010 to 2017.

Pickwoad oversaw the look of the series from Matt Smith’s first Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, until the end of the Peter Capaldi era in Twice Upon A Time. He worked on 71 episodes of the series, perhaps most significantly designing the TARDIS interior that debuted in The Snowmen and was later tweaked for the Twelfth Doctor. He also worked on several episodes of the spin-off series Class.

Born in 1945, Michael Pickwoad was the son of actor William Mervyn, who appeared in First Doctor story The War Machines, and theatre designer Anne Margaret Payne Cooke. He began his career as an art director in the early 1970s before becoming a production designer in the 1980s, with one of his first films being the cult classic Withnail and I – starring Paul McGann.

His work on TV included Rules of Engagement, Kavanagh QC and Murder Most Horrid, the last of which was co-written by Steven Moffat. He worked with Moffat on his series Coupling and again on his 2007 drama Jekyll.

In 2010 he took over as Doctor Who’s production designer, becoming the second person to hold the position since the series returned in 2005. His tenure saw him create sets that ranged from Victorian London to the Wild West, from the badlands of Skaro to the wilds of Sherwood Forest, from a Cold War Submarine to the Orient Express in space.

Moffat said, “The only downside of great men is that they make terrible losses, and we’ve lost Michael far too soon. He was a genius and a gentleman and we will all miss him.”

RIP Peter Miles

The DWCA is sad to report on the passing of Peter Miles.

 

Miles is probably best known to fans as Nyder, Davros’ henchman. He played this role in the classic series Fourth Doctor story Genesis of the Daleks.

He had also previously been in the Third Doctor stories – Doctor Who and the Silurians and Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

Miles also returned to the role of Nyder in Big Finish’s range of I, Davros audios.

In addition to Doctor Who, he was also in Blake’s 7 and Z Cars.

Miles was 89.

RIP David Fisher

The DWCA is sad to report on the passing of writer David Fisher.

David wrote four Doctor Who stories, all of which featured the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.

His first contribution to the series was in 1978, when he wrote two stories in the Key to Time season. These were The Stones of Blood and The Androids of Tara.

In 1979 he returned to the show and wrote The Creature from the Pit. He was also working on a story called A Gamble with Time, but for personal reasons, had to hand it over to script editor Douglas Adams to finish what became City of Death.

His last full contribution to the series was The Leisure Hive.

David Fisher was 88.

RIP Paddy Russell

The DWCA is sad to report on the passing of Paddy Russell.

Paddy was the first female director to work on the show and worked with the first, third and fourth Doctors.

Paddy was first involved with Doctor Who directing the William Hartnell story, The Massacre of St Bartholmew’s Eve.

It was eight years later she directed the six part Jon Pertwee story, Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

She was involved twice more with the series directing Tom Baker stories Pyramids of Mars and Horror of Fang Rock.

Paddy was 89.

RIP Dudley Simpson

It is with sorrow that we report on the passing of Dudley Simpson.

Dudley worked on over 290 episodes of Doctor Who, writing the score to over sixty stories. His music provided the soundtrack to the majority of adventures of the first four Doctors. He also wrote title music for Blake’s 7 and The Tomorrow People.

Dudley was born in Australia on the 4th of October, 1922. He studied orchestration and composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. His entry into Television was meeting a BBC executive at a party. From there, it was his work on drama Moonstrike that bought him to the attention of Mervyn Pinfeld who recruited him to write music for the First Doctor Story – Planet of  Giants. He wrote scores to such memorable stories such as Fury from the Deep, Seeds of Death, Terror of the Autons, Genesis of the Daleks, and many many more.

In addition to being behind the scenes, he appeared on camera as the Conductor in episode 4 of The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

Dudley also appeared at Whovention 2013, where he was able to regale attendees with stories from his time working on the show.

Dudley passed away in Australia, he was 95

RIP Victor Pemberton

It is with regret we report on the passing of Victor Pemberton.

Pemberton is one of a few people who has also written for Doctor Who (Fury from the Deep) and also acted in the show as well. (The Moonbase.)

Pemberton is also credited with creating the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, which first appeared in Fury from the Deep. He also contributed to the show by being a script editor on Tomb of the Cybermen. His other work for Doctor Who was the fourth Doctor audio adventure ‘Doctor Who and the Pescatons’. He also wrote the target novelisations for both Fury and The Pescatons.

Pemberton was 85.

RIP Rosemary Howe

The DWCA is sad to report on the passing of Rosemary Howe, the mother of founder Antony Howe.

Rosemary was one of the driving forces behind the starting of the club.

Deepest condolences to the Howe family.

Rosemary was 96.

RIP Trevor Baxter

It is with deep regret we have to report on the passing of Trevor Baxter.


Baxter who had a wide career, appearing in such shows as Z Cars, The New Avengers and George and Mildred.

To Doctor Who fans he is best known for playing Professor George Litefoot, pathologist and eventual comrade of impresario Henry Gordon Jago, from the Fourth Doctor story The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

He returned to this role in 2009 in the Big Finish audio drama The Mahogany Murderers, which would end up serving as the pilot for 2010’s Jago & Litefoot series box set. Thirteen box sets were produced over eight years, the most recent of which was released just a couple of months ago.

Baxter was 84.

RIP Sir John Hurt 1940-2017

It is with deep regret that we report on the passing of Sir John Hurt.

war-doctor

Hurt was best known within Doctor Who circles playing the War Doctor in the 50th Anniversary special – The Day of the Doctor. He returned to the role in the Big Finish audio adventures in 2015.

He also has a number of iconic roles within pop culture, such as Kane in Alien, the voice’s of Hazel in Watership Down and, the horned king in The Black Cauldron and Mr. Ollivander in the Harry Potter Film Series.

Hurt, was 77. He is survived by wife of 12 years Anwen Rees-Myers.