Michael Ferguson (OK 1954) died October 4, 2021
Michael Ferguson, television producer and director, was a pupil at King’s from 1946 until 1954 (JS and SS). His acting talent was evident from a young age. In the school magazine’s review of a 1954 production of London Assurance, he was singled out for praise: ‘Ferguson is more than equal to all situations. He is, on the whole, the actor who carries most conviction with him from start to finish.’
Michael went on to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, after which he acted and directed in theatre. In 1963 he joined BBC television as an assistant floor manager, and completed the corporation’s directors’ course the following year. His early career as a director at the BBC saw him work on soap operas and dramas such as Z Cars and Colditz. He was also one of the few directors to work with the first three Doctors in Doctor Who: William Hartnell, in The War Machines (1966); Patrick Troughton, in The Seeds of Death (1969); and Jon Pertwee, in both The Ambassadors of Death (1970) and The Claws of Axos (1971).
In the early 1970s, he moved over to ITV where he directed episodes of Hadleigh and Dickens of London. His role, as a producer, in the successful revamp of The Bill inadvertently brought about his return to the BBC, when bosses there asked him to overhaul EastEnders. As executive producer he brought in a number of changes but possibly his most successful move was the introduction of Phil and Grant Mitchell, who arguably became the programme’s most popular characters. By the end of his two-year stint on the show, EastEnders was once more sitting high in the TV ratings.
After he retired, Michael taught screen acting to students at Arts Educational Schools and professionals at the Actors Centre in London.