Mark Shivas (24 April 1938 – 11 October 2008) was a British television producer, film producer and executive.

Shivas was born in Banstead in Surrey. His father was an English teacher; his mother was a librarian.[1] He attended Whitgift School in Croydon and read law at Merton College, Oxford.[2][3] Shivas wrote for the student magazine Oxford Opinions. After abandoning a legal career, he co-founded the magazine Movie (1961–64)[4] which used the French publication Cahiers du Cinéma as its model,.[5] He was assistant editor (1962–64), and also contributed interviews and articles to The New York Times.[5]

He began his television career at Granada Television in 1964 as an assistant to the head of the story department and later worked on the company's Cinema series as a producer and presenter.[6] In 1969 he joined the BBC's drama department, and became one of the corporation's most successful and prolific producers. The costume drama The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970), was nominated for three Emmy Awards in 1972.[7] Dennis Potter's Casanova (1971) was another success.[8]

Other productions he oversaw included the anthology series Black and Blue (1973), which included the play Secrets by Michael Palin and Terry Jones.[9] Critics disliked Shivas's production of The Borgias (1981) for the BBC; it suffered in comparison with the contemporary Brideshead Revisited on ITV.[10]

Shivas was head of drama at the BBC from 1988 to 1993; he then moved to the BBC Films, and was executive producer of twenty films.[11] In later years, he returned to producing as a freelancer. Some of his most noted later productions included the second series of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues in 1998 and the 2003 espionage drama Cambridge Spies.[12][13]


Shivas died from lung cancer on 11 October 2008, aged 70.[14]


  1. ^ Keith Dewhurst "Mark Shivas: Film and television producer who worked with an unmatched range of writers and directors", The Independent, 17 October 2008
  2. ^ Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900-1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 495.
  3. ^ [1] "Mark Shivas], The Stage, 4 November 2012
  4. ^ "Mark Shivas Esq. Authorised Biography", Debrett's
  5. ^ a b Geoffrey McNab "UK producer Mark Shivas dies age 70", Screen Daily, 14 October 2008
  6. ^ "Producer Mark Shivas dies at 70", Variety, 14 October 2008
  7. ^ "Mark Shivas". Television Academy.
  8. ^ "Frank Finlay, actor - obituary". February 2016.
  9. ^ "Secrets (1973)". BFI. Archived from the original on 17 August 2019.
  10. ^ Schneider, Steve (29 September 1985). "CABLE TV NOTES; AND NOW FOR AN OLD ITALIAN 'DYNASTY'". The New York Times – via
  11. ^ Obituary: Mark Shivas, Daily Telegraph, 16 October 2008
  12. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Waiting for the Telegram (1998)".
  13. ^ "Mark Shivas". Archived from the original on 24 July 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  14. ^ Philip Purser, Alan Bennett and Ronald Harwood Obituary: Mark Shivas, The Guardian, 16 October 2008.
Media offices Preceded byJonathan Powell BBC Television Head of Drama 1988–1993 Succeeded byCharles Denton