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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 533 > A Call to Arms

A Call to Arms

Derrick Sherwin, who died in October, regarded Doctor Who as a relatively small part of his career. During the late 1960s, however, Sherwin’s ingenuity and pragmatism gave us two of the most important creations in the series’ history…

“It was going down the pan,” said Derrick Sherwin, recalling the Doctor Who he joined in 1967. “It had to be changed, it had to be developed, it had to come alive… I wanted to get it out of this stupid thing of wandering around the universe… It’s got to be to some extent made for the adults viewing, so they will not only need to watch it because the kids are watching it, but because they enjoy it.”

Born in High Wycombe on 16 April 1936, Derrick George Sherwin was a tough, determined man. He was often blunt and outspoken – a means to an end in getting his visions onto the small screen. Weak scripts were quickly replaced and strategies were adopted to make meagre budgets appear vast. Originally an actor and scenic designer, he spent two years on Doctor Who, first as story/script editor, then writer, and finally as producer overseeing a major transition – in the process creating two enduring pieces of the narrative’s ongoing mythology.

Sherwin’s first TV play, Yob and Nabob, was a 20th-century fable about a hitchhiker playing mind-games with a Rolls-driving tycoon; it went out as part of BBC2’s prestigious Theatre 625 strand on Boxing Day 1965. Concurrently, Sherwin was starting to appear regularly as the prickly Welsh centre-forward Bryn Morriston in United!, BBC1’s twice-weekly football drama. “I was forced to rewrite much of my own dialogue,” noted Sherwin in his 2014 memoir Who’s Next?

Derrick Sherwin appeared in the groundbreaking drama anthology Armchair Theatre in the 1960s.

While Sherwin continued acting in series like Armchair Theatre, his focus turned more to writing.

Derrick Sherwin, aged just three, with his teddy bear.
A scene from The Elder Statesman, shown on BBC Television on 9 May 1960. The cast included Derrick Sherwin as Michael Claverton-Ferry, William Russell as Charles Hemington, Vanessa Redgrave as Lord Claverton’s daughter Monica and Eric Portman as Lord Claverton.
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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • An exclusive preview of the New Year's day Special: Resolution. • An exclusive interview with Sharon D Clarke, who played Grace O’Brien in the 2018 series • Frazer Hines answers questions from our TARDIS tin • A tribute to Derrick Sherwin, the Doctor Who script editor and producer who oversaw the series’ transition from black and white into colour • Highlights from a previously unpublished interview with Derrick Sherwin in 2014 • Part Three of The Warmonger, a brand-new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends • The Time Team watches Doctor Who’s very first Christmas Day episode, 1965’s The Feast of Steven • An in-depth look at Series 11’s ratings • An in-depth look at Series 11’s ratings • Share your views on the latest series of Doctor Who in our 2018 Season Survey • The Fact of Fiction delves into 1981’s spin-off K9 and Company, starring Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith • Put your Doctor Who knowledge to the test with the DWM Christmas Quiz • DWM's reviews of Series 11 episodes Demons of the Punjab, Kerblam! and The Witchfinders • The Blogs of Doom, reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!