Beryl Vertue, ‘Sherlock’ Producer, Dies at 90

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Beryl Vertue, the prolific British producer behind BBC’s “Sherlock” and “Men Behaving Badly,” passed away peacefully Saturday night at her home, according to reports in the British press. She was 90.

“It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we have to share the sad news that mum/Beryl passed away peacefully last night,” her daughters and Hartswood Films co-producers Sue and Debbie said in a statement to Reuters. “It wasn’t COVID, it was just her nearly 91-year-old body saying enough is enough.”

They continued: “We were there so the passing was as good as one could hope for. Nothing wrong with her brain – even earlier this week she was grilling us both about work. It’s really impossible to believe that she has gone though, because I know we’re not alone in thinking that somehow she’d go on forever. She meant so much to so many.”

Vertue, who began her career as a typist for “Steptoe and Son” writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, founded Hartswood Films in 1979. Daughters Sue and Debbie joined the company, as did son-in-law Steven Moffat, who co-created “Sherlock” with Mark Gatiss.

Gatiss was one of the first to pay tribute, tweeting, “From Goons to Rag & Bone Men, Daleks to Consulting Detectives. She saw it all and did most of it. But foremost – a wonderful woman, a loyal colleague and an absolute scream. She was loved.”

In their statement, her daughters said Vertue was a mother figure to several people in the industry. “She was more than a mother to us – she was also a friend. To many in the industry she was more than a friend – she was often a mother.”

In 2000 Vertue was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her services to the industry and was presented with a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2016.

She won a BAFTA for “Sherlock” in 2011 and was nominated three more times. As one of the producers of the BBC series and special episodes, she was nominated for four Emmys, winning one in 2016.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who dubbed her “Sherlock’s godmother,” presented her with a lifetime achievement award at the 2016 Women in Film and Television awards.

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