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Many of us film music collectors often talk about the Golden age of film music which was in the late 1930,s through to the 1950,s and included the works of Korngold, Steiner, Newman, Friedhofer, Rozsa, Herrman and others. Then we have the Silver age which for me was more about the 1960,s with new and up and coming composers such as John Barry, Francis Lai, Maurice Jarre, Jerry Goldsmith et al. So when I discuss music for TV I think it is only right that we also give this a category also, in my ever so humble opinion British TV music was second to none and especially in the 1960,s was inventive and original, so maybe we should refer to this period as the Platinum years. It was a period that begin in the early 1960,s and carried on through until the mid to late 1970,s Network records have released a double compact disc which showcases just some of these wonderful themes and also various incidental music tracks from the programmes as produced by I. T. C. These included numerous shows that were to become the staple viewing diet of the Great British public and also would be imported worldwide.

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Composers that worked on I.T.C. productions created a sound that became synonymous with the productions and also I think dominated the 1960,s it was a sound that was sort of uniform but at the same time each and every show had its own individual musical fingerprint. Composers such as Edwin Astley, Albert elms, Ron Grainer, Roger Webb, Tony Hatch, John Barry, Ken Thorne, John Cameron, Laurie Johnson, Brian Dee, Robert Farnon, Irvin Martin AND EVEN Paul McCartney created a music sound-scape of haunting and infectious themes and atmospheric scores that would unbeknown to them become an important part of television history. THE MUSIC OF ITC was released in 2009 and boasts 103 tracks from various shows as heard in their original forms. The compilation is somewhat dominated by composer Edwin Astley, who was after all one of the most prolific composers of television music and was responsible for so many of what are now classic themes for the small screen. THE SAINT, DANGER MAN, GIDEONS WAY, THE BARON,DEPARTMENT S, RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED) the list is endless and at times unbelievable that all of these great themes came from one composer. Astley also penned some of the scores for THE CHAMPIONS which had a theme by Tony Hatch. My own personal favourite by Astley is RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED) the harpsichord adds a wonderful atmosphere to the proceedings and forgive the pun but also infuses a haunting and comedic aura to the work. The compact disc opens with DANGER MAN, there are 6 cues in the first section representing the show, which are taken from the half hour episode series.
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Patrick McGoohan starred as John Drake a secret agent that was sent into dangerous situations and nearly always emerged unscathed a role that stood him in good stead for the lead in THE PRISONER. Astley,s theme for the black and white series was made up mainly from bass which was over the top but also attention grabbing for audiences, the composer utilising a trick that composer James Bernard used on his Hammer film scores, the brass basically spelling out DAN-GER MAN. This first section of 6 tracks commences with the MAIN TITLES, then segues into 4 cues of at times tense sounding score which is then rounded off by the series CLOSING TITLES music. Tracks 7 through to 13 are taken from the second series which was not only in colour but had one hour episodes, this was a more sophisticated series that included a world wide stage for the secret agent Drake and took him on even more dangerous missions and assignments. Astley created a new theme for this series but still included the DAN-GER MAN motif performed by the brass section and there was the ever present melodic and jazz infused incidental music that was bolstered on this occasion by the inclusion of brass flourishes and stabs to heighten the tension. The main theme from the series was released on a single as HIGH WIRE.
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GIDEONS WAY is next in the running order, now this is show I must admit I did not see a lot of but funnily enough I do remember the music or at least Astley,s rather regal sounding opening theme music for the series. The series which starred stalwart British actor John Gregson as Commander George Gideon was based upon the novels of John Creasy, it was filmed in a kind of documentary style which was effective in creating the correct mood for the series storylines. There are two cues from the series included here, MAIN TITLES and CLOSING TITLES, as the incidental music also composed by Astley is thought to be either lost or destroyed. In many ways Astley’s style is not dissimilar to that of John Barry, bold sounding brass laced with at times strings or smoky sounding saxophone or subtle woods.

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More Astley in the tracks 14 and 15 this time from THE BARON, this starred hero of the Italian sword and sandal adventures Steve Forrest as John Mannering and antiques dealer who also works for British intelligence. Astley again stepped up to create a haunting and infectious sounding theme for the series, the MAIN TITLE and CLOSING TITLES are included along with 5 cues of incidental music from the series. As a matter of interest the series also starred composer Paul Ferris(WITCHFINDER GENERAL) as Mannering’s assistant.


This compact disc includes all of the music that remains from THE BARON again the remainder being either lost or destroyed.

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Tracks 23 to 31 are taken from the popular series THE SAINT which starred the ever dapper and debonair Roger Moore as Simon Templar this was the series that paved the way for Moore to become James Bond. The music tracks included are a mixture of material from both the black and white original series and the later colour series, Astley wrote a killer theme for the series and one that is still today instantly recognisable by people of a certain age. One only has to hear that seven note motif and it seems to take you right back in time when the show was being aired.
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Next up is MAN IN A SUITCASE, music courtesy of Ron Grainer, we are treated to 6 cues from the series two of which are versions of the iconic theme from the series, plus 4 cues of incidental music which are a delight to hear and at times one can hear musical quirks and a style that was to manifest itself in the composers score for THE OMEGA MAN.
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The series starred Richard Bradford who was well cast as McGill an ex CIA agent who had been discredited by the organisation and had set himself up as a private investigator. The series was also very popular and Bradford oozed charm to the point of being so cool he could have been called ice cold McGill.

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Another popular series that Grainer scored for ITC was THE PRISONER, I think the attraction of the series was that one did not really understand much of it, it was an off the wall offbeat piece of television but one that was compulsive and alluring. Patrick McGoohan starred as number six, who was a secret service agent that wanted to quit his job, but as soon as he does he is kidnapped and taken away to a somewhat surreal community called THE VILLAGE where he is tortured, observed and interrogated, his captors asking why? Why? did you resign?

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The music side of things were just as tense and fraught as the series, composers Wilfred Josephs and Robert Farnon were asked to write a theme but these attempts were both rejected by Patrick McGoohan, enter then Ron Grainer who was set the task of writing a theme but even Grainer had his first attempt rejected. The sections here include MAIN TITLES A, MAIN TITLES B, CLOSING TITLES and 4 tracks of incidental music which was written by Robert Farnon and Albert Elms. Of course record label Silva Screen have released a number of discs that include the scores and the central themes from THE PRISONER.

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Craig sterling, Sharon Macready and Richard Barret now there are three names from the past, these are THE CHAMPIONS, played by Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo and Richard Gaunt. The main theme for this series was written by Tony Hatch and had incidental music penned by Edwin Astley and Albert Elms, the opening theme was a typical Hatch piece instantly recognisable and forever lingering in ones head, long after the show had finished.
The main titles and closing titles are included plus there are 3 cues of score by Astley and a further 2 composed by Elms. Albert elms was the original composer for the series he was scheduled to write the shows opening and closing theme but due to a clash of schedules, Elms was busy on THE PRISONER composer Robert Farnon was assigned to work on THE CHAMPIONS Farnon submitted his rejected theme for THE PRISONER as the theme for THE CHAMPIONS but had this rejected also, so Tony Hatch was brought in and the rest as they say is history, with the first episode having a score by Farnon and Elms scoring the second episode only to be replaced by Edwin Astley from episode three because Elms was asked to return to work on THE PRISONER.

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The next section is dedicated to the series DEPARTMENT S, which was the handiwork of Edwin Astley, its not till you go through this compilation that you actually realise just how much this composer contributed to British television music, his riveting and highly charged DEPARTMENT S theme is certainly iconic with a Capital I, in this section there are eight cues from the series including the opening theme with seven being incidental cues, but saying this all of them could be main themes for any television series as they are highly contagious and affecting. DEPARTMENT S was a series that focused upon a special Interpol department that was given the task of solving cases that the police had been baffled by. Its mainstay characters were Jason King played by the flamboyant Peter Wyngarde, Stuart Sullivan portrayed by Joel Fabiani and a touch of glamour being added in the form of Rosemary Nichols who played computer expert Annabelle Croft. Astley’s music is sauvé, sweeping and sophisticated with an instant musical hook that entices the audience into the mysterious and complex world of DEPARTMENT S. In other words a classic.


Disc two opens with RANDALL AND HOPKIRK DECEASED, this starred Mike Pratt as private investigator Jeff Randall who’s partner Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope) is killed, Randall thinks he has gone mad and is seeing things when he is visited by his departed partner, but Marty has returned as a ghost to aid his partner in his investigations and also to keep an eye on his attractive widow played by Annette Andre. The storylines and the formula proved to be a great success with TV viewers and composer Edwin Astley once again stepped up to provide a great opening and closing theme for the series employing harpsichord as the lead instrument and also utilising it as a three note musical stab or punctuation each time Marty appeared on screen to great effect. Astley first turned to the harpsichord for his DANGER MAN hour long episodes and it certainly enhances and supports the action and antics on screen in RANDALL AND HOPKIRK.

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This collection includes six tracks from the series, four of which are incidental cues that in many ways have a kind of Barry-esque sound to them, with the other two cues being the opening and closing themes for each episode, which although similar are orchestrated in a slightly different way. Out of all the I T C productions I think it is RANDALL AND HOPKIRK that I recall mostly, mainly due to the music, the series was repeated on Sunday lunch times during the mid 1970,s and still attracted good viewing figures.

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Next up is THE STRANGE REPORT musical duties falling to Roger Webb, again the series had a killer opening theme which commanded you to the TV right from the off.

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The music that Webb provided for the series was quite European sounding, by this I think of composers such as Stelvio Cipriani, Piero Umiliani, Gianni Marchetti and even Bruno Nicolai when hearing the theme and incidental tracks from the series, it has a kind of big band but easy listening sound, which was a style that many of the Italian composers employed when scoring Police, Romantic/Sex or Giallo movies. Webb was known for working of other TV series such as GEORGE AND MILDRED and also was involved on the soundtracks for DEATH IN VENICE and BOOGIE NIGHTS among others. THE STRANGE REPORT, starred Anthony Quayle, Anneke Wills and Kaz Garas. Adam Strange(Quayle) and his team only tackle difficult and out of the ordinary cases that have proven to difficult or politically sensitive for the likes of Scotland yard, Webb’s forthright theme opens spectacularly with a brass fanfare that literally screams out the shows title before diving head first into a powerful and pulsating central theme.

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THE PERSUADERS is next in the line up, starting with John Barry’s opening theme for the series and then segueing into the song GOTTA GET AWAY, which was penned by Tony Hatch and his wife Jackie Trent. The track gets an instrumental working also with an arrangement by Ken Thorne, who provided a lot of the series incidental music scores. Thorne’s music for me resembled the work of Charles Fox and Bob Crewe on the Roger Vadim movie BARBARELLA and also echoed a Burt Bacharach style, it had that kind of pop vibe.

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THE PERSUADERS starred Roger Moore (Lord Brett Sinclair) and Tony Curtis Danny Wilde) OR WAS IT Tony Curtis and Roger Moore ? JASON KING is next with some scintillating and funky sounding music by Laurie Johnson. This is a hip and up beat score that also contains some wonderfully dramatic moments, the composer fusing a big band brassy sound with Hammond organ and funky jazzy guitar and underlining these elements with a strong dramatic sound.

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THE PROTECTORS was not one of I T C,s most successful series, in fact I would say that the shows theme AVENUES AND ALLEYWAYS has outlived the actual programme or at least memories of it. The score for the series was by John Cameron, who was a composer that worked steadily in film and television but never really hit the big time or the A list, however his score for a TV adaptation of JACK THE RIPPER which starred Michael Caine was a masterpiece in my opinion and is a soundtrack that is crying out to be issued onto CD.

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Cameron utilised a jazz big band style and underlined this with a funky beat for his scores for THE PROTECTORS and at times employed various arrangements of the title theme which was written by Mitch Miller and Peter Callander and performed by singer Tony Christie who took it into the British charts twice, once in 1972 reaching number 37 and then again in 2005 when it peaked at number 26.


The ill fated THE ADVENTURER comes next in the running order, I say ill fated because the series never really gelled with the TV audiences around the world and even the presence of a PERSUADERS/VENDETTA like theme by John Barry the series flagged a little in the ratings compared with other I T C productions, personally I think it was because of the casting of Gene Barry as the series central character Gene Bradley who is a multi millionaire, film star and successful businessman, but he looked somewhat awkward in the role and this reflected in the ratings for the series.

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The compilation includes the Italian main titles which is unaccredited but for me does sound something akin to the style of Guido and Maurizio De Angelis. Most of the incidental music was written by Paul B Clay but this is sadly lost or destroyed. THE ZOO GANG follows this with a theme by Paul McCartney and Wings and incidental music courtesy of Ken Thorne, this I think has to be my least favourite series from I T C and also my least favourite theme. The last selection of music on the collection comes from THE RETURN OF THE SAINT, music by Brian Dee and Irvin Martin, the theme that introduced the series still included the familiar original theme from the 1960,s series, THE RETURN OF THE SAINT was a much harder worldly wise series which I suppose reflected the period in which it was released the late 1970,s. Also included on this compilation is the Italian/European opening theme which is a rather oddball song by Guido and Maurizio de Angelis performed by Oliver Onions, the De Angelis Brothers had enjoyed considerable success during the 1960,s and 1970,s with their Spaghetti western soundtracks and also their film scores for the films of Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill, plus they had already ventured into TV scoring as well.

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This is a wonderful collection filled with great themes that evoke many memories, presented extremely well with consistently very good sound quality and informative sleeve notes. Go buy it NOW……..




When a soundtrack collector of a certain age (50 to 60) is asked what are your earliest or first memories of music for film, the answer invariably will be that it is a television theme or even a collection of themes from TV shows that aired when they were a child. This is certainly true from my own point of view and I know it’s the same scenario for many of my soundtrack collecting friends. When watching a TV show back in the 1960,s one kind of knew that the opening theme would be something catchy, something that would grab your attention quickly but also one that was sadly normally far to short in duration. Composer Jerry Goldsmith once said at one of his many concerts in London when about to conduct his suite of TV themes that when he was asked to write a theme for TV he would try and come up with something that would be instantly infectious or at least have a good hook to it, this was so that as soon as it started anyone who was not in the room where the TV was would know straight away that their programme was about to start, it was a case of the music drawing the people to the box in the corner so they could settle down and watch the images on the small screen. This I think is very true, when you think about it a theme for TV show has to try and do just that but in a very short passage of time, it has to entice, alert and set the scene for the show that is about to start in less than 2 minutes or even quicker. In film of course it’s a little different the composer has a little more time and may have the luxury of 3 minutes and back in the day was allowed to create a main title theme on which he or she could base the remainder of their score upon.

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But TV well that’s very different, for one the budgets are a lot smaller and this means the composer is limited to the amount of musicians they can utilise, so they have to be inventive in what they do which for me just reinforces the respect I have for composers who write for TV and film. I think my earliest memories of any music would have been Mario Lanza and Frankie Laine, because of my Fathers collection of 78 records, (you know the ones that broke very easily,,, OOOOPs sorry Dad..It just fell apart in my hand Honest).

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But I have to say my earliest memories of actual TV music would have been things like THE POWER GAME which starred respected actor Patrick Wymark as John Wilder, with a strong supporting cast that included Barbara Murray, Jack Watling and Clifford Evans and had a theme composed by Wayne Hill. Hill,s rousing little theme was recorded by Cyril Stapelton and his orchestra and has in recent years been adopted by a Football club as their anthem, Hill (born Robert Dale) was also responsible for composing the now iconic music that was utilised in the BBC programme VISION ON, it’s the piece that plays over the gallery section of the show, his music being recorded by the Noveltones and released as LEFT BANK TWO on a single record by De Wolfe music in 1964.
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Hill also wrote a piece of music that was used as Ulster Televisions opening music before the station went on air. But it is his LEFT BANK TWO that is probably his most well known composition. I also remember things like SUPERCAR, FIREBALL XL5 and FOUR FEATHER FALLS.(do you ?), and if I am truthful I suppose it was programmes like this that first caught my ear or at least their theme tunes( of course there was also TORCHY and TWIZZLE and even BILL AND BEN, THE WOODEN TOPS and ANDY PANDY but lets not go there). FOUR FEATHER FALLS was the third puppet TV show produced by Gerry Anderson for Granada television, the show was the idea of Barry Gray who as we all know composed the music as well, the first episode aired in the February of 1960 and the series ran for approx 9 months, Nicholas Parsons provided the voice of Tex the main character in the show and Kenneth Connor (of Carry on fame) also did voice over duties on the series, the series soundtrack included a number of songs which were performed by Michael Holliday, the opening theme FOUR FEATHER FALLS was performed by the singer in the style of Bing Crosby, it was reported that Holliday was paid a massive 2,000 Pounds for recording six songs for the series, which by today’s standards is approx 40,000 pounds and was a big chunk of the shows overall production budget which was 6,000 pounds.

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FIREBALL XL5 I must admit was my favourite, produced by Anderson for ATV this series also had music by Barry Gray, which was really dramatic and a pre cursor to his work on THUNDERBIRDS, it also had a jazzy sounding opening theme that included electronic sounds which was a combination that had the desirable effect and got everyone glued to the TV before the action had even begun, we waited with baited breath to see our hero Steve Zodiac tackle numerous disasters and catastrophes all supported by Gray’s mysterious and action led compositions, the series also boasted a really catchy pop song over the end credits which was performed by Don Spencer who sounded a little like Cliff Richard or Adam Faith. “I WISH I WAS A SPACEMAN, THE FASTEST GUY ALIVE,I’D FLY YOU TO THE UNIVERSE IN FIREBALL XL5“.

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Were the opening lines, in fact I am reminded of STARFIRE by the John Barry seven every time I hear this, it was fairly typical of the sound that was in vogue at that period of time in Gt Britain, a fusion of electronic or electric that was bolstered by strings and given a kind of rock and roll beat.

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SUPERCAR was a series that preceded FIREBALL XLF, and its hero was Mike Mercury, again Barry Gray helped develop the series with Gerry Anderson and also wrote the songs and the music with the title song for season one of the series circa 1959 being performed by Mike Sammes and then in season 2 by the Mike Sammes singers.
The style and sound achieved here by Gray was to be expanded upon and built on by the composer when he came to work the music for future series such as STINGRAY, CAPTAIN SCARLETT and THUNDERBIRDS in later years. So three puppet television shows that all had great music and music that probably guided me towards the actual collecting of film music in later life.

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These all contained great themes which became mini classics and are now I am sure you will agree are iconic examples of TV music and by the list you can see I watched far too much TV during the 1960,s. Composers such as Jerry Goldsmith cut his proverbial musical teeth working in television and it is true to say that these composers also learnt their craft and the discipline that was required to become a composer of music for film whilst working on the tight schedules and dealing with the restrictions of small budgets on television.
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This was the same in in England with composers starting in television during the late 1950,s and then progressing into the scoring of feature films by the mid to late 1960,s. It also worked the other way around with established film music composers being assigned to television productions, John Barry for example who worked on numerous big movies during the 1960,s and 1970,s was drafted into television, writing the themes for series such as VENDETTA and THE PERSUADERS, the composer even penning the haunting music for a hairspray advert which was entitled, THE GIRL WITH THE SUN IN HER HAIR.

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The 1960,s were particularly fruitful in the memorable theme department with programmes such as RANDALL AND HOPKIRK DECEASED, DEPARTMENT S, MAN IN A SUITCASE, THE BARON, THE AVENGERS, THE CHAMPIONS, DR.WHO, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, WILLIAM TELL, CORONATION STREET, DANGER MAN, THE PRISONER, THE HUMAN JUNGLE, NO HIDING PLACE, THE SAINT, Z CARS, etc etc all containing memorable themes that are still familiar today plus the shows also included a handful of memorable scores or incidental music as it was sometimes referred too and if I have left out any of your favourites I apologise. Lets not forget also music or themes from European TV productions that were aired by the BBC during the 1960,s one comes to mind straight away, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE was a French television production, it starred Robert Hoffmann in the title role and was narrated by Lee Payant, the haunting music was the work of Robert Mellin and Gian-Piero Reverberi it was a series of 13 episodes, and was narrated over rather than it being dubbed, this was something that was common during the 1960,s on TV for example the series TALES FROM EUROPE was never dubbed into English for some reason, but was narrated over, the narrator basically telling the story as the film progressed with the actors speaking in the original language, at times this was a little off putting, but something one got used to. The series was interesting because it gave UK audiences a glimpse at how other countries presented TV shows and also their often very different approach to film making, the programmes were at times quite lavish with convincing sets etc and the music was always something that I noticed, the stories came from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Poland, Norway, Mongolia, Hungary, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Holland and Russia, the series began in 1964 and ran till 1969 on the BBC but many of the films were made during the late 1950,s one such production was THE SINGING RINGING TREE which was a German tale, and was filmed in 1957.
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The music for this movie was the work of Heinz-Friedel Heddenhausen, the composer who was also an actor worked on eleven productions from 1936 through to 1968, his score for THE SINGING RINGING TREE was atmospheric and also to a certain degree original and was a major part of creating the evil and also mystical mood that was required for the movie, I say movie because it was produced as a feature in Germany which ran for approx;75 minutes, but was edited into episodes of some 20 minutes or so for the TALES FROM EUROPE series.
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THE SINGING RINGING TREE was supposedly a fairy tale very much in the style of The Brothers Grimm, but it has been voted by many as one of the scariest things that has been shown on television (and this was before the watershed …folks, no wonder my generation are so freaky). It’s a kind of beauty and the beast scenario, with an enchanted garden and evil dwarf and a Prince that turns into a bear, so good wholesome viewing. Moving on and back to the shores of England there were also other shows that had familiar and catchy theme tunes, CROSSROADS, THE DOCTORS and EMMERDALE FARM or EMMERDALE as it is know nowadays for example, all of which were composed by Tony Hatch, now here is a composer, songwriter and also performer that was in many ways Britain’s answer to Burt Bacharach, simply because Hatch was just an all rounder. Tony Hatch seemed at home doing anything musical, whether it be writing music for TV, composing or arranging music for pop songs, writing lyrics to numerous songs that are now themselves embedded in the musical heritage of England and know all over the globe or even producing records or sitting on a panel on a talent show. He was born Anthony Peter Hatch in Pinner, Middlesex on June 30th 1939 and is probably one of Britain’s most prolific composer/song writers, he worked with so many popular artists it would be hard to list them here. Bert Weedon, Adam Faith, Petulia Clark, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, David Bowie, Sacha Distel, Roy Budd, Buddy Greco are among them plus Jackie Trent who Hatch was married to.

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I know many reading this will laugh because I have included soap opera themes but I look at it this way, the theme from EMMERDALE has been around for many years and as soon as anyone hears the opening bars of the theme tune one knows what it is where its from and in many cases who wrote it, which is a great credit to Mr. Hatch. The same can be said for the CROSSROADS theme and lets not forget those NEIGHBOURS down under, yep that’s right Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent penned the title song for that series too he also penned the theme from the 1960,s show THE CHAMPIONS. Lets go to the late 1970,s shall we, September 18th 1978 to be precise, do you remember a series entitled THE SANDBAGGERS ? It starred Roy Marsden and was a series that dealt with men and women who were on the front line of the cold war which at the time was very much alive and well. The infectious theme was by Roy Budd. Budd was a child prodigy an accomplished jazz pianist who broke into scoring movies by chance in 1970 when he was assigned to write the score for the controversial western SOLDIER BLUE. Budd’s career as a film composer went from strength to strength and he worked on a number of box office success’s during the 1970,s CATLOW, WILD GEESE, GET CARTER, KIDNAPPED, THE STONE KILLER and many more.


Writing for TV was something of a departure for the composer, although saying this he did release a cover version of the theme for the television series MR. ROSE which was by composer John Snow in 1967 on the PYE records label. Lets not forget Ron Grainer either, well I am hoping to try and mention as many composers as I can but Grainer for me was one of the most prolific music-smiths to write for television during the 1960,s especially. His theme for DR.WHO broke new ground with the composer enlisting the aid of electronics plus his opening theme music for both THE PRISONER and MAN IN A SUITCASE hit the mark in the infectious musical hook department and I am sure had people stop doing what ever it was they were doing and rushing to the living room jumping into the armchair getting comfortable waiting to watch their favourite show on the box, plus of course lets not forget STEPTOE AND SON with the composers “OLD NED” composition becoming an endearing piece of British television history. Grainer also worked on JOE 90 (the song) TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED, MAIGRET,PAUL TEMPLE, COMEDY PLAYHOUSE with its jolly sounding HAPPY JOE theme. Laurie Johnson’s AVENGERS, NEW AVENGERS and THE PROFFESSIONALS surely are among the list of all time iconic/cult themes for the small screen. Johnson penned numerous infectious themes for television these included shows such as, JASON KING, WHICKERS WORLD, ANIMAL MAGIC, RIVIERA POLICE, NO HIDING PLACE and THIS IS YOUR LIFE to name but a handful. Edwin Astley is also a firm favourite of many collectors, with his themes for THE BARON, GIDEONS WAY,DANGER MAN, RANDALL AND HOPKIRK-DECEASED, DEPARTMENT S, SECRET AGENT and THE SAINT being essential in any film music or TV theme collection. One name that I do not think many associate with Television is that of Scottish born composer Harry Robertson or is that Robinson? He is associated with the music for films such as TWINS OF EVIL, FRIGHT,VAMPIRE LOVERS, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE, COUNTESS DRACULA, THE GHOUL, HOUSE IN NIGHTMARE PARK, HAWK THE SLAYER as well as THE OBLONG BOX for AIP and LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF.

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Robertson was also heavily involved with the CFF Children’s film foundation and scored a number of their productions. It was actually his work on a television show that got him noticed and led him to working for Hammer films, JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN was aired in 1968 and the composer provided a rather unsettling sounding theme for the series and also scored three of the episodes, after this he was offered THE OBLONG BOX in 1969 and went onto work on THE VAMPIRE LOVERS which was a joint effort from Hammer and American International Pictures in 1970.
Robertson was also a writer and a producer and made HAWK THE SLAYER in 1980 which he also scored in 1991 he worked on SPECIALS and in 1992 he wrote a catchy theme for VIRTUAL MURDER which he also wrote and produced for TV. Two of his first forays into writing for television however were CRANE in 1963 and SHINDIG in 1964.
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The list of themes and composers is endless, it would be hard I think to mention all of them, but I hope that I have covered the majority within this article, TV music today is certainly not the same, because as with film music things have certainly changed it seems that many producers or directors do not see the need for a theme per say, but surely this is all part and parcel of the film making process to have music that is original and also a strong theme or themes that everyone can identify with the film or show, maybe its me? Lets list a few shows that I have not mentioned, MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE, EASTENDERS, CASUALTY, HOLBY CITY, BLESS THIS HOUSE, THE ARMY GAME, WORZEL GUMMIDGE, FOLLYFOOT, FLAMBARDS, GEORGE AND THE DRAGON, NEAREST AND DEAREST (have you been), DIXON OF DOCK GREEN (evening all), THE PROTECTORS, SAPPHIRE AND STEEL, DEMPSEY AND MAKEPEACE, MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION, FATHER DEAR FATHER, ON THE BUSES, CALLAN, HANCOCKS HALF HOUR, THE CLANGERS, TILL DEATH US DO PART, DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE, THE RAT CATCHERS, PUBLIC EYE,REDCAP, PLEASE SIR, THE CEASARS, I CLAUDIUS, THE FLYING DOCTORS, SKIPPY, STRANGE REPORT, ARE YOU BEING SERVED, GHOST SQUAD all had good solid themes or at least themes that were instantly recognisable some also had songs which gave the programme in question its own individual personality.

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French TV also yielded some memorable themes, THE FLASHING BLADE for example and the very popular THE WHITE HORSES with music by Bojan Adamic and a hit song performed by Jackie Lee who also incidentally was the original performer of the Michel Magne rejected song for Roger Vadim’s BARBARELLA. Then we had BELLE AND SEBASTEIN with music by Daniel White. Also a mention I think is worth making about THE VIRGINIAN which was a very popular television western series from the States, this series went through something of a re-vamp after being very successful in its original form with a rousing opening theme by Percy Faith entitled LONESOME TREE, however when it was re-vamped and re-launched many of the actors changed and Italian composer Ennio Morricone provided the series with a new theme THE MEN FROM SHILOH much to the delight of Spaghetti western fans.

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Although released back in 1992, Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Bram Stokers DRACULA is for me one of the more interesting movies on the subject, ok I don’t think it will ever take the place of the Hammer horrors which had Sir Christopher Lee in the role of the evil bloodsucking Count, but the Coppola version of the story for me hit many of the right spots and also broke new ground at times concerning the myth of the Vampire. One particular area where I thought the production got it right was the musical score by Wojeich Kilar, it is a dramatically driven and exciting soundtrack but at the same time it remains romantically laced which is something of a feat for the composer seeing as the film is crammed with numerous action scenes and violent and horrific sequences, but when one thinks about it DRACULA is essentially a love story, so not to be romantic I suppose would be slightly remiss of the composer, it is a tale of love lost and then re-discovered.

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Kilar was no stranger to film scoring when he was assigned to DRACULA but his scoring projects were in the main for movies in Europe and at the time of DRACULA being released I do remember collectors thinking and remarking on who is this composer, but once they listened to his score were totally smitten with his style and wonderful gift for melody and his grasp of the dramatic. Kilar’s score is as impressive as the films cast and its locations and cinematography, the composer creating a soundtrack that is in many ways traditional with the emphasise on the use of conventional instrumentation as in strings, brass, percussion and woodwind rather than any inclusion of electronic or synthesised sounds. The compact disc opens with DRACULA-THE BEGINNING, which is a brooding and atmospheric cue, giving the listener an insight into the expressive musical content that is to follow, powerful strings and bursts of brass and percussion fuse seamlessly together to heighten the tension, these however subside and give way to a brief respite which comes in the form of female voice, but the quiet interlude is short lived as strings return with choir and whispering voices that are underlined by timpani which quickly sets the pace and urgent mood of the composition.

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As well as the powerful and commanding thematic material created by Kilar there are a number of more subdued and quieter moments within the realms of the work, in fact at times the composer fashions an intimate and mesmerising sound that is alluring and hypnotic, as in track number 4, LUCYS PARTY, which is a charming slightly off beat melody for music box effect, this and other cues written in the same style are slightly unsettling as they are for want of a better description the lull before the storm, the composer inevitably conjuring up an exhilarating and highly charged composition as if from nowhere.

This is displayed in track number 6, THE STORM the cue begins slowly, quietly and with no indication of what is about to burst forth, the piece soon gains tempo and momentum as Kilar treats us to a pounding percussion led composition punctuated by brass stabs, laced with driving strings and menacing sounding choir that acts as a background to a fragile sounding female voice. The booming percussive elements set the tempo and Kilar builds and builds his composition until it arrives at its crescendo. Track number 7, is an example of the artistry Kilar possessed when creating a theme that is not only beautiful but also displays a mood that is uncertain and apprehensive, A LOVE REMEMBERED is a particularly haunting cue, harp and strings combine as a subdued sounding background to a solo woodwind which is poignant and emotive in its introduction of the central fabric of the compositions core theme. Strings and harp then take the theme away from the woodwind to give it an even more romantic sound, this however is short lived and woodwind once again take on the motif giving it something of a Barry-esque sound, this is an emotive and touching tone poem which is a welcome tranquil 4 minutes amongst a sea of more dramatic pieces, Kilar returns to fragments of this particular theme but expands it further in track number 11, MINA AND DRACULA, in which we are given a more lengthy interpretation of the theme plus he manages to infuse a more romantic atmosphere to the proceedings, creating a Max Steiner or Miklos Rozsa moment and evoking memories of scores from the Golden age with lush strings and heartbreaking melodies.


One of the stand out tracks for me is the VAMPIRE HUNTERS cue, it manifests itself early on the compact disc, and acts as an introduction to the many action cues that are to follow, the commanding and forceful percussive tempo raising its head each time there is a moment of horror or tension on screen. Although Kilar’s soundtrack is a very dominant and highly charged affair when listening to it away from the images it was scored too, within the context of the movie it just works and at times is hardly noticeable, which I think is what film music is all about. It enhances, supports, underlines, punctuates and acts as to elevate the scenario on screen. Track number 8, RING OF FIRE is one of the scores more shocking tracks Kilar creates a menacing and atmosphere that is in a word harrowing, with voices, percussion, animal sounds and driving high pitched strings. The love theme motif returns in track number 9, A LOVE ETERNAL but this time it a more sombre rendition of the theme d’ amour, the composer enhances the effect further with a heavenly sounding choir, which extends into track number 10 ASCENSION, which is a calming but brief piece.


The beauty and serene quality of ASCENSION melts away and segues into the scores final cue, END CREDITS which is basically a near 7 minute Overture that integrates all of the scores key themes into a end credit roll. The final track on the disc is LOVE SONG FOR A VAMPIRE,performed by Annie Lennox, why they felt the need for a song is beyond me, the score is indeed more than enough, in a word a classic soundtrack.


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Composer Bernardo Segal was born in Brazil on August 4th 1911. He made his first professional appearance as a pianist at the age of just 9, in 1927 Segal travelled to the United States where he began to study music with Alexander Siloti, aged 21 Segal made his American debut at the New York town hall and later went on to perform in well known orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic. As well as being a competent pianist Segal ventured into composing and wrote music for ballets, theatre productions and later films and television. His career as a film music composer led to him scoring films such as THE GREAT ST LOUIS BANK ROBBERY in 1959 which included an early role for actor Steve McQueen. Segal also worked on THE LUCK OF GINGER COFFEY in 1964 and in 1967 composed the score to CUSTER OF THE WEST with Robert Shaw in the title role, it is probably true to say that it is his music for this movie which still remains one of the composers best known works for cinema. He also worked on a number of episodes of COLUMBO and AIRWOLF, the composer passed away in 1993.

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Originally released on a long playing Liberty records album in 1965, GENGHIS KHAN was the second historical movie that composer Dusan Radic worked on, the other being THE LONG SHIPS two years previous. For a movie that was not Hollywood produced GENGHIS KHAN got quite a lot of publicity, this was I think due mainly to the movies impressive cast which was headed by at that time hot property actor Omar Sharif in the title role. Although not a high budget production, the movie achieved fair returns at the cinema box office in the UK, but did not fare so well in other territories, this was certainly a case of the public liking it because it was just an adventure uncomplicated and filled with action, but the critics shunned and were unkind to it.


Eastern European Lp record.

The negative reviews coming mainly because the films storyline was flawed on few counts as in being historically correct, but this was cinema in the 1960,s and the studios involved I think were more interested in getting a return for their investments and putting bums on seats rather than being given awards and receiving acclaim from critics for producing a correct and informative biopic. The musical score by composer Radic, was in many ways text book epic all’a Hollywood of the golden age era, with a rousing central theme which was entitled THE MARCH OF THE MONGOLS opening the soundtrack recording. This composition set the scene beautifully for the remainder of Radic’s imposing work, the composer writing a particularly romantically lush and lavish love theme in the form of track number two, ALWAYS YOUR HAND, which is the musical link between Genghis Khan and the love of his life portrayed by Francoise Dorleac. Radic also infused an Oriental sound into his score giving it some authenticity, however when I say oriental sound I suppose it is more of a western notion of how Chinese music sounds, this type of scoring can be heard more prominently within the cues BATH A LA CHINESE, THE EMPEROR OF CHINA and momentarily as an introduction to RETURN TO PEKING. For much of the of the score however the composer utilises strings, percussion and rousing brass flourishes to convey a sense of grandeur and at times drama as in track number six, PARADE OF THE MONGOL HORDE, and it is because of this style of scoring that one could easily mistake this for the work of a Hollywood based composer, such as Bernstein, Rozsa and Waxman. The score was conducted by British composer/musical director Muir Matheison, who’s name was and still is synonymous with mainly British movies during the late 1940,s through to the late 1960,s.

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Dusan Radic.

Matheison apparently was also responsible for the orchestrations on the GENGHIS KHAN score, which might explain a slight shift in style and direction by Radic when one compares it to THE LONG SHIPS, however saying that there are also certain quirks of orchestration within GENGHIS KHAN that did manifest themselves originally in Radic’s music for THE LONG SHIPS. Radic treats us to many varying arrangements of his rousing central theme or march during the short but entertaining duration of the compact disc, with proud and patriotic sounding brass underlined by cantering strings which are romantic and heroic. The galloping and urgent strings form the backbone to many of the cues written for the films impressive battle scenes and can be heard achieving their most dramatic and vital involvement within THE GREAT BATTLE. This is a soundtrack that so richly deserved to be released onto compact disc, the first incarnation of the score on compact disc was somewhat dubious, it was issued in 1998 on the German based Tickertape label which essentially was a bootleg.

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But as with many of these such productions collectors were just pleased to have the soundtrack, this first edition had fairly good sound up until the tracks that would have been on the B side of the original album, these were slightly distorted and some towards the end of the disc almost un-listenable, enter then KRITZERLAND and the ever industrious Mr KIMMEL in 2010 with an official release that contained two bonus tracks and far superior sound quality. Overall then a score that you as a collector of fine movie scores should attempt to add to your collection, recommended highly. THE LONG SHIPS is also released on a Tickertape CD but the sound quality is very sub-standard indeed,the score is also released on FSM paired with LORD JIM.


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