Michael Barry (15 May 1910 – June 1988) was a British television producer, director and executive, who was an important early influence on BBC television drama. He was educated at King's College London.
He was one of the first producers to work in the field of drama for the BBC, producing and directing several plays for the fledgling BBC Television Service in the 1930s, before it was placed on hiatus for the duration of the Second World War in 1939. He also worked occasionally outside of drama, producing episodes of the magazine programme Picture Page during 1938. After the resumption of the service in 1946, Barry returned, and quickly became one of the senior drama producers.
In 1952, he succeeded Val Gielgud to become the Head of Drama at BBC Television, a position he was to occupy for the next decade. He was responsible for commissioning several important productions, including the Quatermass science-fiction serials, and in 1954 a famous adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four . This latter production caused much controversy due to its supposed horrific scenes and subversive content, and Barry appeared on the current affairs programme Panorama the day after broadcast to defend the production, and three days later introduced the second performance live to camera himself.
Barry retired from his position of Head of Drama in 1961, being replaced the following year by his friend Sydney Newman, who went on to oversee great changes in the department. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in charge of RTÉ's new television service in Ireland, he returned for a time to front-line producing work, overseeing an epic series adaptations of William Shakespeare's The Wars of the Roses sequence of plays, before he retired altogether from television work.
The memoirs of his time in television, From the Palace to the Grove, were published by the Royal Television Society in 1992.
| BBC Television Head of Drama |
Verity Ann Lambert was an English television and film producer.
Sydney Cecil Newman, OC was a Canadian film and television producer, who played a pioneering role in British television drama from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. After his return to Canada in 1970, Newman was appointed Acting Director of the Broadcast Programs Branch for the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) and then head of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He also occupied senior positions at the Canadian Film Development Corporation and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and acted as an advisor to the Secretary of State.
Sir Jeremy Israel Isaacs is a television producer and executive, opera manager, and a recipient of many British Academy Television Awards and International Emmy Awards.
Donald Boyd Wilson was a Scottish television writer and producer who worked for the BBC. His work included co-creating the science fiction series Doctor Who in 1963 and adapting and producing The Forsyte Saga in 1967.
Thomas Nigel Kneale was a Manx screenwriter who wrote professionally for more than 50 years, was a winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and was twice nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay. In 2000, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association.
Jonathan Leslie Powell is an English former television producer and executive. His senior positions in television included serving as the Head of BBC Drama Series and Serials and Controller of BBC1. He later became a professor and head of department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Michael Wearing was a British television producer, who spent much of his career working on drama productions for the BBC. He is best known as the producer of the well received serials Boys from the Blackstuff (1982) and Edge of Darkness (1985), which created for him a reputation as one of British television's foremost drama producers.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a British television adaptation of the 1949 novel of the same name by George Orwell, originally broadcast on BBC Television in December 1954. The production proved to be hugely controversial, with questions asked in Parliament and many viewer complaints over its supposed subversive nature and horrific content. In a 2000 poll of industry experts conducted by the British Film Institute to determine the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four was ranked in seventy-third position.
Rudolph Cartier was an Austrian television director, filmmaker, screenwriter and producer who worked predominantly in British television, exclusively for the BBC. He is best known for his 1950s collaborations with screenwriter Nigel Kneale, most notably the Quatermass serials and their 1954 adaptation of George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Jane Tranter is an English television executive who was the executive vice-president of programming and production at BBC Worldwide's Los Angeles base from 2009 until 2015. From 2006 to 2008, she was the BBC's controller of fiction; in this capacity she oversaw the corporation's output in drama and comedy, as well as films and programmes acquired from overseas, across all BBC TV channels. Critics were concerned that the BBC had invested too much creative power in one person, and following Tranter's move to the United States, the position of controller of fiction was abolished and the responsibilities divided up among four other executives.
BBC television dramas have been produced and broadcast since even before the public service company had an officially established television broadcasting network in the United Kingdom. As with any major broadcast network, drama forms an important part of its schedule, with many of the BBC's top-rated programmes being from this genre.
Val Henry Gielgud was an English actor, writer, director and broadcaster. He was a pioneer of radio drama for the BBC, and also directed the first ever drama to be produced in the newer medium of television.
Philip Michael Hinchcliffe is a retired English television producer, screenwriter and script editor. After graduating from Cambridge University, he began his career as a writer and script editor at Associated Television before joining the BBC to produce Doctor Who in one of its most popular eras from 1974 to 1977. In 2010 Hinchcliffe was chosen by Den of Geek as the best ever producer of the series.
Barry Leopold Letts was an English actor, television director, writer and producer, best known for being the producer of Doctor Who from 1969 to 1974.
Shaun Alfred Graham Sutton was an English television writer, director, producer and executive, who worked in the medium for nearly forty years from the 1950s to the 1990s. His most important role was as the Head of Drama at BBC Television from the late 1960s until 1981, a role he occupied for longer than anyone else.
British television science fiction refers to popular programmes in the genre that have been produced by both the BBC and Britain's largest commercial channel, ITV. The BBC's Doctor Who is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world and as the "most successful" science fiction series of all time.
Irene Shubik was a British television producer and story editor, known for her contribution to the development of the single play in British television drama. Beginning her career in television at ABC Television, she worked on Armchair Theatre as a story editor, where she devised the science fiction anthology series Out of this World.
Christine Langan is an English film producer who was appointed Head of BBC Films in 2009. In 2016, she left the role to become CEO of comedy television production company Baby Cow Productions.
John Royston Morley was a British television producer, director and writer. He was among the earliest television producers, and also trained new producers for the BBC and in Australia.
Cecil Charles Madden, MBE, was an English pioneer of television production. In 1936 he moved from BBC radio to its experimental television service and was responsible for many programmes until the service was suspended during the Second World War. After the service resumed in 1946 he resumed his television work, and later became a BBC executive until his retirement in 1964.