Shaun Sutton

Last updated 09 January 2020

Production Credits
BBC Head of Drama: Ongoing Production (1963-1989)[]
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Shaun Alfred Graham Sutton OBE

Born: Tuesday 14th October 1919
Died: Friday 14th May 2004 (age: 84)

Shaun Sutton joined the BBC Drama department in 1952 where he carved an early career in writing and directing, especially with productions aimed at children. By the 1960s he had moved onto adult drama, being one of the early directors for the successful police series Z-Cars and follow-up series Softly, Softly. In 1963, Sydney Newman offered him the position of producer on a developing series called Doctor Who, but he declined this to focus on his other projects. In 1966 he accepted the position of Head of Serials, succeeding Gerald Savory, and then a year later took over from Newman as temporary Head of Drama, which became permanent in 1969.

He occupied this position throughout the 1970s, a period which is often now referred to as the 'golden age' of drama, with productions such as The Forsyte Saga, I Claudius, The Onedin Line, Poldark, The Six Wives of Henry VIII to name but a few. He also oversaw the casting of three Doctors, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davison.

In 1981 he resigned from the position to return to producing, including some thirteen of The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare. His last work was Merlin of the Crystal Cave in 1991.

In 1982 he published The Largest Theatre in the World, an autobiography of his time working in the drama department of the BBC.

He was married to Barbara Leslie and the father of four children, and after retirement lived in Norfolk.

He was made an OBE in 1979.