Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (4)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Died in Norfolk, England, UK  (following a short illness)
Birth NameShaun Alfred Graham Sutton

Mini Bio (1)

He was one of the most influential figures in British television. He was head of BBC Television Drama from 1969-81. He was responsible for such groundbreaking productions as Dennis Potter's "Pennies From Heaven" and "Brimstone and Treacle" as well as "I, Claudius," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and classic serials including "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," and "Testament of Youth."

As a director, he worked on detective series such as "Z Cars" and the costume drama "The Forsyte Saga," the most acclaimed BBC series of the sixties. In 1981, he was appointed executive producer of the BBC Shakespeare series, in which all 37 plays were adapted for television.

He was born Shaun Alfred Graham Sutton in Hammersmith, London, England to theatrical parents. He studied drama at the Embassy School. He worked as an actor in several London shows before the outbreak of World War II.

He served in the Royal Navy in 1940 and after the war, he returned to acting. He joined the BBC in 1952 working on mainly children's comedies and in 1962 became one of the original directors for the then new series "Z Cars."

In 1966, he became head of serials for the BBC, responsible for a huge output of high quality drama including "The Forsyte Saga." The 1967 serial put BBC2 on the map, attracting six million viewers on Sunday evenings and was repeated a year later on BBC1, gaining an audience of 18 million. It was the first serial ever to be sold to the Soviet Union and was purchased by stations all over America. The series confirmed the BBC's reputation for costume dramas and spawned a host of clones like "The First Churchills" and "The Pallisers."

In 1969, he was promoted to head of drama in an era which was later to be described as the golden age of British television drama. Under his auspices at the BBC. he produced more than 120 plays annually by writers including Joe Orton, David Storey and Sir Alan Ayckbourn. He championed controversial productions such as the prison drama "Scum" and several of Dennis Potter's plays.

With Cedric Messina and Jonathan Miller, he was executive producer of the 1978-85 BBC Shakespeare anthology, which starred actors such as Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Derek Jacobi, Timothy West CBE and Sir John Gielgud. When the Shakespeare cycle was completed, he worked on Theatre Night, a BBC2 season of six plays a year adapted from the stage.

He wrote several books including the seminal guide to television drama, "The Largest Theatre in the World" in (1982).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Patrick Newley

Spouse (1)

Barbara Leslie (1948 - 14 May 2004) ( his death) ( 4 children)

Trivia (4)

He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1979 for is services to television drama.
He was an Associate Member of RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England).
He was the head of BBC Television Drama from 1969-1981.
He was an old friend of the actor Jon Pertwee. When Pertwee was cast as the star of Doctor Who (1963) in 1969, Sutton famously advised him to play the part as himself, which Pertwee duly did, and became one of the most popular and longest-serving Doctors ever.

Personal Quotes (2)

Let dramatists call a spade a spade. But the point can usually be made without calling it a four-letter shovel.
I think the essential thing about Doctor Who (1963) was that... I don't mean he should be elderly but I thought he must have a huge great presence and at least be a sort of middle-aged man who could look after all problems, as it were, and I think after Tom Baker I actually myself thought that it lost some of its magic. In that way it worked with the children better and it also I thought worked with the adults as well.

See also

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