In Conversation With Beryl VertueBookmark and Share

Monday, 7 January 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Top TV producer, media executive, and former agent Beryl Vertue will be discussing her career at the BFI Southbank next month.

The multi-award-winning Vertue started out as a secretary at the writers' agency Associated London Scripts, where she went on to represent Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, Johnny Speight, Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, and Terry Nation, who she ensured retained partial rights to his creation the Daleks. She was also the agent for comedians Tony Hancock and Frankie Howerd.

In the 1960s, she formed Associated London Films, which saw her involved with, among many productions, the feature films of 'Till Death Us Do Part, Steptoe And Son, and Up Pompeii, and in 1967 she was invited by the showbusiness impresario and entertainment entrepreneur Robert Stigwood to join his famed Organisation after it absorbed ALS. While there she pioneered the concept of selling British TV formats to America and Europe, with two of the most notable hits being 'Till Death Us Do Part, which became All In The Family, and Steptoe And Son, which was reworked as Sanford And Son.

Among her early producing credits for British TV was The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, for which she was the executive producer. While at the Robert Stigwood Organisation, she also executive-produced the film version of Tommy.

Vertue - the mother-in-law of Steven Moffat - left the Robert Stigwood Organisation in the 1980s to form Hartswood Films - one of the first independent TV production companies in the UK and whose many hits have included Sherlock, Men Behaving Badly, Coupling, and Jekyll.

She was given an award by Women In Film And Television in 1999 for outstanding contributions to the industry, and the same year the Royal Television Society made her a member of its Hall of Fame. Vertue was awarded an OBE in the 2000 New Year Honours for services to independent television production, and four years later was given the Alan Clarke Award for Outstanding Creative Contribution to Television by BAFTA. In 2010, she and her daughters Debbie and Sue - both board directors of Hartswood - were given the Women In Film And TV Achievement Of The Year Award for Sherlock, and last March she was given both a Lifetime Achievement Award, at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards, and the Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, at the Broadcasting Press Guild TV and Radio Awards.

Beryl Vertue In Conversation takes place on Tuesday 26th February at 8.40pm, when she will be interviewed by Paul Jackson, ITV's ex-director of entertainment and comedy and the current chief executive of Eyeworks, after which audience members will be able to ask her questions.

Tickets to the event go on sale to the general public on Tuesday 15th January at 11.30am.

UPDATE - 19th January: A season of related screenings has been announced, as follows: