Was the head of drama, films at BBC

Respected Brit producer Mark Shivas, who also served as head of drama and head of films at the BBC, has died aged 70 from cancer it was confirmed Oct. 14.

Shivas begun his career in film as a journo, starting film criticism mag “Movie” and writing film stories for the New York Times. In 1964, he joined Granada TV as assistant to the head of story department and soon rose. He produced and then presented Granada’s weekly program “Cinema” before migrating to BBC TV drama in 1969. There, he produced for many of the leading directors of the time: Michael Apted (“Joy”), Alan Clarke (“To Encourage the Others”), Alan Parker (“The Evacuees”) and Dennis Potter (“Casanova”).

From 1980, Shivas worked as a freelance producer, highlights including Anthony Minghella-penned “What If It’s Raining?,” “The Borgias” TV series for the BBC, Jeremy Irons-starrer “Moonlighting,” Alan Bennett penned “A Private Function” and Nic Roeg’s “The Witches.”

As head of drama at the BBC from 1988, Shivas exec produced successful projects including Minghella’s “Truly Madly Deeply” and Stephen Frears’ “The Snapper.” In 1993, Shivas became the first topper of BBC Films where he nurtured emerging feature filmmakers including Michael Winterbottom (“Jude”) and Antonia Bird (“Priest”).

Over the course of his career he racked up many Bafta and Emmy noms, winning a special Bafta TV award in 1969 for “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” and an Emmy (outstanding children’s program) for Jim Henson’s “The Storyteller” (1988).

Two years ago, Shivas set up production company Headline Pictures with Stewart Mackinnon and Kevin Hood. He remained as chairman up until his death.

Shivas leaves behind his civil partner of eleven years Karun Thakar.

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