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Light Music Signature Tunes

Matthew Sweet takes an affectionate look back across an 80-year relationship between light music and the media through the world of radio and television signature tunes.

Matthew Sweet takes an affectionate look back across an eighty year relationship between light music and the media through the world of radio and television signature tunes.

Since the Golden Age of radio back in the 1930s and 40s, through the arrival of television, and up until the present day, light music has played a central part in shaping our perception of programmes. Some of the melodies used by producers as signature tunes have been especially composed, while others have been edited from (slightly) larger works. Many have become light music classics, such as Eric Coates's "By The Sleepy Lagoon" (Desert Island Discs), or Trevor Duncan's "A Little Suite" (Doctor Finlay's Casebook), and Johnny Pearson's "Sleepy Shores" (Owen MD).

Matthew Sweet reflects across a broad selection of these much loved themes, many of which are only familiar from their first forty seconds.

1 hour

Last on

Sat 25 Jun 2011 13:00

Music Played

  • Charles Williams

    Devil's Galop (extract) [theme from "Dick Barton Special Agent", 1948]

    Performers: Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra

    • EMI.
    • CDGB50.
  • Eric Coates

    Calling All Workers

    Performer: Eric Coates Orchestra.

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 66868.
  • Jack Strachey

    In Party Mood [theme from "Housewives Choice", 1945-1967]

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 67148.
  • Léon Jessel

    Parade of the Tin Soldiers (extract) [theme from "Toytown", 1933]

    Performers: New Light Symphony Orchestra, Clifford Greenwood (conductor)

    • CONIFER CLASSICS.
    • 75605 52281-2.
  • Richman, Meskill, Schwartz

    "One Little Raindrop" (extract) [broadcast on "Radio Luxembourg", 1939]

    Performers: Ovaltineys, Tessa Deane & George Melachrino

    • CONIFER CLASSICS.
    • 75605 52281-2.
  • Edward White

    Puffin' Billy

    Orchestra: Melodi Light Orchestra. Conductor: Hubert Clifford.

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 66868.
  • Eric Coates

    By the Sleepy Lagoon

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 67400.
  • Robert Farnon

    Portrait of a Flirt (extract) [theme from 'In Town Tonight' + most used theme tune around

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 67148.
  • Arthur Wood

    Barwick Green (extract) [theme from 'The Archers']

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 66968.
  • Ronald Binge

    Elizabethan Serenade [theme from "Music Tapestry"; also used on the British Forces Network

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 66868.
  • James Moody/Tommy Riley

    Trade Wind Hornpipe [theme from "Navy Lark", 1950s]

    Performer: Tommy Reilly

    • EMI.
    • CDEMS 1554.
  • Ivor Slaney

    Top Dog [theme from "The Men from the Ministry", 1962-1977"]

    Performers: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Gavin Sutherland (conductor)

    • NAXOS.
    • 8.570332.
  • Vivien Ellis arr. Sidney Torch

    Alpine Pastures [theme from "My Word", 1956]

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 67148.
  • Ronald Binge

    Sailing By

    Performers: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 66968.
  • Charles Williams

    Young Ballerina (used as BBC "Interlude" music for "The Potter's Wheel", 1951)

    Performers: BBC Concert Orchestra, Barry Wordsworth (conductor)

    • ASV WHITE LINE.
    • WHL 2151.
  • Woolf Phillips

    Parisian Mode (extract) [theme from "What's My Line", 1951]

    Performers: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Paul Murphy (conductor)

    • NAXOS.
    • 8.570332.
  • Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra

    Girls In Grey

    Performer: The New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 66968.
  • John Malcolm

    Non Stop [theme for "Early ITN News", 1955]

    Performers: BBC Scottish SO, John Wilson (conductor)

    • Recorded for the programme.
  • H Ashworth-Hope

    Barnacle Bill [theme for "Blue Peter"]

    Performers: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Gavin Sutherland (conductor)

    • NAXOS.
    • 8.570332.
  • Trevor Duncan

    'March' from 'A Little Suite' [theme from "Doctor Finlay's Casebook", 1962-71]

    Performers: Light Music Society Orchestra, Sir Vivian Dunn (conductor)

    • EMI.
    • CD GB 50.
  • Johnny Pearson

    The Awakening (extract) [theme to "News at Ten"]

    Performer: Unknown

    • KPM.
    • KPM 433 CD.
  • Johnny Pearson

    Sleepy Shores [theme for "Owen MD" 1969-1971]

    Performer: The Johnny Pearson Orchestra

    • VIRGIN.
    • VTDCD 629.
  • Jack Trombey

    Eye Level (extract) [theme from "Van der Valk", 1972]

    Performer: The Simon Park Orchestra

    • Play It Again.
    • PLAY006.
  • Carl Davis

    Pride and Prejudice - Suite [theme for "Pride and Prejudice", BBC TV, 1995]

    Performers: Martin Roscoe (piano), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis (conductor)

    • TRING.
    • TRP 099.
  • John Fox and Krys Moram

    The Girl I Love (extract) [used as 'Test Card Music']

    Performers: John Fox and His Orchestra

    • APOLLO SOUND.
    • ASCD 206.

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