Tag Archives: BBC

LP 295: Various – Top BBC TV Themes Volume 4 (BBC, 1981)

18 Dec

Side 1
01 Derek Goom – Juliet Bravo
02 Daryl Runswick – Theme From Maybury (Sky Crying Rain)
03 The Harry South Orchestra – Chinese Detective
04 Paul Shane and The Yellowcoats – Hi De Hi (Holiday Rock)
05 The Nic Rowley Group – Not The Nine O’Clock News
06 Roger Chapman – Speak For Yourself
07 Vangelis – Theme From Cosmos (Heaven And Hell 3rd Movement)

Side 2
08 Ennio Morricone – Chi Mai
09 The Anthony Isaac Orchestra with Eric Hill – Mackenzie
10 The Great Hossack Orchestra – Nanny
11 Daryl Runswick – We The Accused
12 The Pro Musica Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marcus Doda – Poldark
13 The Pro Musica Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marcus Doda – I Claudius
14 The Leon Young Orchestra – Goodbye Darling

Here’s one I made earlier. And seeing as it is Christmas…

Volume 4 of the BBC’s Top TV Themes is easily the weakest volume in the series – unsurprising seeing as we had moved to 1981 and a more rigid approach to television theme composition was now being taken. Nevertheless there are a few surprises that make it worth a purchase.

#1 Derek Goom’s driving and upbeat Juliet Bravo theme. I preferred Stephanie Turner and have just finished watching the second series on DVD.

#2 Harry South Orchestra – Chinese Detective. Atmospheric and groovy with deadly strings.

#3 Vangelis shooting the moon with the stirring Theme From Cosmos.

Side 2 is comprised of relaxed yet serious pieces – no breaks – so very much an acquired taste.

That’s it from me for this year. Who knows what 2012 will bring ?

To all readers – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 291: Derek Griffiths – Heads and Tails (BBC, 1980)

1 Sep

Side 1
01 (a) Heads And Tails (b) Wag-A-Lot (c) Dog-A-Long
02 (a) Ladybird (b) Ants (c) Butterflies
03 Foxtrot Territory
04 (a) Pigs On The Trot (b) Wallowing Good
05 Silence Too Has A Tale To Tell
06 Diving Ducks
07 Clumsy Swan
08 Gulls
09 Dig In Quick

Side 2
10 Life Gets Everywhere
11 (a) Too Hot To Handle (b) Hey Mum!
12 The World Over
13 Run Cheetah Run
14 Coat Of Many Colours
15 (a) Proboscis Monkeys (b) Colobus Monkey
16 Home Is A Hole
17 Get Up And Go

Heads and Tails was the name of a series of animal films for children which was produced by the BBC and broadcast between 1977 and 1979.
Derek Griffiths was responsible for…everything.
A total one man band – guitars, bass, banjo, keyboards, recorders, saxophones, clarinet, harmonica, percussion.
He had previously worked on Play School, Look and Read and a stunning appearance on Til Death Us Do Part.

The soundtrack album to the Heads and Tails series was released on the BBC label in 1980. I loved this when I was a child and time has not diminished its magic or sense of fun. The heat includes the plaintive Ladybird, the mournful Gulls and the frantic Dig In Quick. Over on side two there’s a nice folk vibe with The World Over and Life Gets Everywhere while closer Get Up And Go concludes the album on a upbeat and positive note – complete with tinny guitar rattle.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 287: Elizabeth Parker – The Living Planet: A Portrait of The Earth (BBC, 1984)

25 Aug

Side 1
01 The Living Planet (Theme From The Series)
02 The Building Of The Earth
03 The Frozen World
04 The Northern Forests
05 Jungle
06 Seas Of Grass

Side 2
07 The Baking Deserts
08 The Sky Above
09 Sweet Fresh Water
10 The Margins Of The Land
11 Worlds Apart
12 The Open Ocean
13 New Worlds (Closing Theme From The Series)

Elizabeth Parker of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop composed the music for all 12 episodes of the memorable documentary The Living Planet which originally aired during early 1984.

It’s a sparse yet memorable electronic score with a number of genuinely moving pieces – favourites being The Northern Forests, The Margins Of The Land and The Baking Deserts. The Open Ocean is a sparse and fragile creation that drifts by in a sleepy haze – reminding me of Virginia Astley’s From The Gardens Where We Feel Secure album. The brief opening and closing themes from each episode have been logically chosen to start and finish the LP and work well to give the listening experience a circular structure.

Comments and feedback are welcome.



LP 284: Norrie Paramor and The Midland Radio Orchestra – Radio 2 Top Tunes Volume 2 (BBC, 1975)

21 Aug

Side 1
01 The Dambusters March
02 Ebb Tide
03 Who’s In The Strawberry Patch With Sally?
04 The Harry Line Theme
05 Popcorn
06 Love In Bloom
07 The Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves

Side 2
08 Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer
09 The Way We Were
10 Georgy Girl
11 She
12 Go Before You Break My Heart
13 Minuetto Allegretto

The third collaborative album between Norrie Paramor and The Midland Radio Orchestra was released during 1975 and is confusingly titled Radio 2 Top Tunes Volume 2. Key tracks include the stark and lonely Ebb Tibe, a reflective Love In Bloom and a stirring She.

The Harry Lime Theme is wonderfully evocative especially when listened to with closed eyes while Norrie’s bash at Popcorn is fabulous stuff – slowed down beats yet still funky. You’ll find yourself standing to attention when the opening strings of The Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves kicks in and then being nicely surprised by the shimmering orchestral take on classic 1960s staple Georgy Girl.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 277: Norrie Paramor and The Midland Radio Orchestra – The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (BBC, 1974)

11 Aug

Side 1
01 Dance In The Old Fashioned Way
02 For All We Know
03 The Entertainer
04 Solitaire
05 You’re Sixteen
06 As Time Goes By
07 The Ricochet Theme

Side 2
08 The Pallisers Theme
09 Holly Holy
10 When You Smile
11 The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
12 Any Dream Will Do
13 Mah-Na Mah-Na

The Most Beautiful Girl In The World was the follow-up to BBC Top Tunes in late 1974. It’s a consistent LP with a breezy title track, a mournful version of The Pallisers and some great swinging lounge in When You Smile.

Other memorable tracks include the downbeat Solitaire and the funky dollybird brass of The Ricochet Theme. Beat-diggers may dig the groovy version of Mah-Na, Mah-Na that closes the album.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 274: Various – Top BBC TV Themes Volume 3 (BBC, 1980)

7 Aug

Side 1
01 The Frank Barber Orchestra – Dallas
02 Paul Phoenix – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sky (Nunc Dimittis)
03 Richard Denton and Martin Cook – Tomorrow’s World
04 Patrick Halling Chamber Ensemble – Pride And Prejudice
05 George Fenton – Shoestring
06 BBC Radiophonic Workshop – The Body In Question (Greenwich Chorus)
07 Tony Hatch Orchestra – Man Alive

Side 2
08 Gordon Giltrap – Holiday 80/81 (Heartsong)
09 Harry Stoneham Five – Parkinson (Michael’s Theme)
10 Richard Hartley and The Westminster Sinfronia – Penmarric
11 The Frank Barber Orchestra – Knots Landing
12 The Early Music Consort directed by David Munrow – The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (Fanfare, Passomezo Du Roy, Gaillarde D’Escosse)
13 Joe Griffiths – Breakaway
14 Anthony Isaac Orchestra – The Enigma Films

The third volume in the BBC’s television themes round-up is a diverse bag of tricks – a real mix of different styles. Most of them are pretty memorable too and in my opinion it’s a stronger LP than the previous instalment (see LP 253).

Frank Barber brings two US soaps to the table – the unforgettable Dallas and Knots Landing while fans of Shoestring will revel in George Fenton’s rich jazz funk theme. Elsewhere on side one there’s the evocative strains of both Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Pride and Prejudice.

Richard Denton and Martin Denton crop up again – like good twopences – with the storming electronic weirdness of Tomorrow’s World. Speaking of strange sounds, The Body In Question (Greenwich Chorus) is a spooky, almost ghostly composition from Peter Howell and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Groovy lounge cats should be satisfied with the swinging Man Alive and funky Parkinson theme from easy stalwarts Tony Hatch and Harry Stoneham. Gordon Giltrap’s Holiday 80/81 (Heartsong) is a melancholy and meandering epic and easily the finest of the various themes that the show has had during the years.

The lush piano of Penmarric (under the expert conducting of Richard Hartley) makes for a most pleasant palate-cleanser before the baroque old-English sounds of David Munrow giving the six wives of Henry VIII a good seeing-to. That one reminds of Ray Davies’ excursion into the past as The In-Keepers.

The final two tracks maintain the high standard. Joe Griffiths’ Breakaway can be filed under ‘brooding and tense dramatic sounds’ while Anthony Isaac’s take on The Enigma Files is an uplifting piece of lively boogie.

Comments and feedback are welcome.


LP 268: Various – BBC Space Themes (BBC, 1978)

30 Jul

Side 1
01 The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conduced by Carl Böhm – Apollo
02 Dick Mills – Moonbase 3
03 Patrick Michael and His Orchestra – A For Andromeda
04 Frank Chacksfield and His Orchestra – The Sky At Night
05 The London Symphony Orchestra conduced by Aaron Copeland – Apollo Soyuz
06 Frank Weir, His Saxaphone, Chorus and Orchestra – Journey Into Space
07 The Astronauts – Space For Man and The Case of The Ancient Astronauts

Side 2
08 Dudley Simpson Orchestra – Blake’s 7
09 Johnny Keating and His Orchestra – Star Trek
10 The London Symphony Orchestra with The Ambrosian Singers conducted by André Previn – Quatermass
11 Johnny Dankworth Big Band – Tomorrow’s World
12 Delia Derbyshire – Dr. Who

BBC Space Themes is another record that drags me back to my childhood. One of my primary school classmates lent it to me in 1981 so I made a cassette copy on our Philips 3-in-1. It got lots of airplay. I eventually picked up the LP in the mid-1990s – on the same day that I picked up the first In-Flight Entertainment compilation album.

An austere Apollo launches our rocket before Dudley Simpson’s evocative Moonbase 3 (realised by Dick Mills) glides along with a beautiful arrangement. Frank Chackfield’s version of The Sky At Night is immense, an emotional soundscape of wordless wonder. Elsewhere the eerie tones of Journey Into Space usher in the odd and quirky electronics of Peter Howell’s Space For Man And The Case Of The Ancient Astronauts. One of the Radiophonic Workshop’s finest works.

Over on side 2 there are more treats. Blake’s 7 sounds better in this sort of company. I could never warm to the 45 when playing it at home. Star Trek is a revelation, a jazzy creation of sweet grooves from Johnny Keating while the Quatermass theme played by The London Symphony Orchestra is positively epic. This nicely contrasts with the big band arrangement of Tomorrow’s World from another Johnny – this one named Dankworth. We arrive back to earth with the inevitable strains of Dr. Who as realised by Delia Derbyshire.

Enjoy the voyage.

Comments and feedback are welcome.