Beryl Vertue OBE was Terry Nation's agent at the time of the sale of script of The Daleks, and thus was responsible for negotiating the deal that gave him controlling ownership of the Daleks. She had somewhat accidentally taken over his representation because she was also representing Nation's early comedy boss, Tony Hancock, along with several other comedians in Hancock's orbit.
Following her critical negotiation for Nation, she moved into film production. In the later 1960s and early 1970s, she produced or executive produced some memorable British films, many of them adaptations of popular British television series. Among these were: Till Death Us Do Part, with Brian Blessed and Una Stubbs; Steptoe and Son with Mike Reid; and Up Pompeii with Frankie Howerd, Barbara Murray, and Bill Fraser. Indeed, she produced a number of Frankie Howerd film vehicles, including Up the Front and the Terry Nation-written The House in Nightmare Park. Perhaps her most famous film internationally was the rock opera, Tommy, starring Elton John and a bevvy of other A-list rock stars.
Still, it's her work in television for which she undoubtedly became best known.
As the British television industry moved into the modern era of independent production, she founded Hartswood Films, thereby becoming a studio head. Her influence on British Television is difficult to specifically quantify, because she's produced or executive produced many prominent British television shows of the millennial era, including: The Savages with Geoffrey Palmer; Simon Nye's Martin Clunes vehicle, Men Behaving Badly, and the Imelda Staunton series, Is It Legal?; Supernova; and Carrie & Barry with Mark Williams, Claire Rushbrook, Michelle Gomez and Sarah Quintrell.
She was at various points the boss of both her daughter, Sue Vertue, and her son-in-law, Steven Moffat. The Doctor Who show runner reported to his mother-in-law on Coupling; Jekyll, directed in part by Douglas Mackinnon and featuring Michelle Ryan, Meera Syal, Fenella Woolgar and Paterson Joseph; and his co-venture with Mark Gatiss, Sherlock — directed in part by Euros Lyn, sharing dozens of crew members with Moffat's Doctor Who team, and featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Gatiss and Una Stubbs.
She is also important to American television, because she was the agent who sold Till Death Us Do Part and Steptoe and Son to Norman Lear, thus beginning Lear's extensive All in the Family and Sanford and Son franchises.
Awards and notable nominations
- Emmy Award nomination for Sherlock
- BAFTA (and BAFTA Cymru) TV Award for Sherlock
- Non-competitive Alan Clarke Award for Outstanding Creative Contribution to Television, given to her solely, as the head of Hartswood Films
- Multiple BAFTA nominations for Men Behaving Badly
- Royal Television Society Award, Lifetime Achievement, 2012