Michael Ferguson 1937-2021Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Michael Ferguson (Credit: Chuck Foster)

The Director Michael Ferguson has died at the age of  84.


Michael Ferguson directed 21 episodes of Doctor Who, working on the series since its beginning in 1963 through to the 1970s. He later went on to work on EastEnders, responsible for a revival in the fortunes of the Soap. 

Michael Ferguson was born in South London in June 1937. After training as an actor at Lamda he worked with Theatre Centre, a touring company visiting schools. 

He joined the BBC in 1963 working in Television as an Assistant Floor Manager, the person responsible for keeping control of the Studio Floor and assisting the director.

The first programme Ferguson found himself working on was a brand new Science Fiction series called Doctor Who. He was engaged for the second story now known as The Daleks. As the AFM he was responsible for waving the Dalek sucker seen at the end of Episode One, The Dead Planet, and thus became the first person in history to play a Dalek.

Ferguson soon was promoted to Director, working on the popular soap Compact. It was as a Director he returned to Doctor Who in 1966, directing The War Machines, as a story that involved location filming around Fitzrovia in London. 

In 1969 he was given a chance to direct the Second Doctor in the six-part story, The Seeds of Death. one of the first stories to be released on BBC Video. 

He directed two stories with the Third Doctor, The seven-part Ambassadors of Death in 1970, and the four-part Claws of Axos the following year. 

As well as Doctor Who he directed many classic BBC programmes such as Z-Cars, Paul Temple, Colditz, Flambards, The Sandbaggers and The Glory Boys

By the late 1980s Ferguson was working as a producer on the ITV series The Bill. It was his success in revamping the police series that let the head of BBC ongoing drama, Peter Cregeen, offer him the position of Executive Producer on EastEnders.

The soap had been declining in popularity after its initial success, but the changes Ferguson made revived its fortunes. He introduced new characters, such as the Mitchell brothers and new storylines which caught the public imagination. 

After two years he moved onto Casualty, before returning to ITV and The Bill.

After retiring in 2003  he taught screen acting at the Actors Centre in London.

Michael Ferguson died on 4 October 2021. He is survived by his second wife Jana Shelden and his daughter with his first wife Tracy. 


FILTER: - Obituary