Shaun O’Riordan 1927-2018 

24 September 2018

We’re sad to note that Shaun O’Riordan, a staff director at ATV, has died aged 91.

His directorial output is hard to list, since it starts way back 1963 with a couple of editions of ATV London’s religious programme About Religion and just climbs ever upward from there. For purposes of our likely readers, you may remember him first and foremost as the man behind the ATV Midlands and Central series Sapphire and Steel – his direction of this creepy and powerful show having impressed itself upon a whole generation of children and their parents: quite what ATV was doing showing it in the very early evening aiming to catch a family audience is unclear.

Nevertheless, 38 years later, here I am, a vegetarian former hunt saboteur, thanks to his terrifying direction of a story involving vivisected animals rebelling against their human oppressors in a time capsule on the top of Associated Communications Corporation House on Great Cumberland Street in London. No, really.

He leaves his wife, Maggie, and his two sons Julius and Samuel.

His funeral service will be held at St Bartholomew’s Church, Meltham, Holmfirth, on Friday 12 October 2018, at 2pm. If you’d like to donate money in his name, you can give to the Actors’ Benevolent Fund.

You Say

4 responses to this article

Gerald Baton 26 September 2018 at 4:06 am

What was amazing about ATV’s Sapphire & Steel and the genius of the direction of Shaun O’Riordan [for an early evening, almost prime time show] was that he was able to convey to the viewer a compelling and spellbinding, with an appropriate level of credibility / suspension of disbelief, stories shot on very simple, low budget studio sets.

Compare that to the high budget, special CGI effects, on location, over the top direction with extra loud intrusive music, cringeworthy childish productions that just forces one to change channels after 5 minutes of incredulity and disbelief that is pumped out by the state broadcaster nowadays.

Sometimes “less” (simpicity) truly is more and artistically lasts longer.

Joanne Gray 1 October 2018 at 12:03 am

Rest in peace, and thanks for terrifying and entertaining this 70s girl in equal measure, often making me too scared to go to bed after Sapphire and Steel.

Alan Keeling 9 October 2018 at 8:29 pm

Thanks for playing Eddie Larkin, various roles in Robin Hood and directing and producing great programmes like Sapphire & Steel, Thriller, etc R.I.P Shaun.

Ashley Bond 25 June 2023 at 10:11 am

Thanks for entertaining the 6 and 7yo me with Sapphire and Steel and Come Back Lucy. As someone who has worked in the industry and from a young age made my own films, with supernatural elements, I’m sure it was Shaun’s influence from watching those late 70s shows. RIP Shaun, a great director and producer.

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