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80 Years of BBC TV

Eighty years ago, the BBC officially opened its television service. To celebrate, leading composer Tony Hatch will present an hour of memorable TV theme tunes.

Eighty years ago, the BBC officially opened its television service and with a sharp blast of a whistle "the new wonder" was up and running. Leading comedy actress Adele Dixon sang the first song ever to have been written or recorded about the small screen when she warbled "conjured up in sound and sight, by the magic rays of light, that brings television to you", and with that momentous recording the first ever theme tune was launched.

Since that memorable day we have heard many, weird, wonderful and whacky tunes, all designed to stay in your head like an ear worm. Leading composer Tony Hatch feels that they are a call sign, an appointment to view, as soon as you hear the opening bars, you're rushing for the best seat in the house - and he should know as he wrote three of the most memorable, Crossroads, Emmerdale and of course Neighbours amongst many others. Throughout the next hour, he will treat you to a smattering of those familiar and unfamiliar notes. You'll learn why hearing the opening theme to "Newsnight" always brings a smile to the face of composer George Fenton. Why Paul McCartney was furious with Cilla Black when she performed the signature tune to "Cilla" live and how "Morse Code" has been used in more themes than just "Morse". Oh and get your pen and paper ready as Tony will be quizzing you on your sporting theme knowledge.

After the next hour be prepared to have many of those brief bars, buzzing in your head all night.

57 minutes

Last on

Tue 1 Nov 2016 22:00

Music Played

  • Tony Hatch

    Neighbours

    Performer: Barry Crocker. Lyricist: Jackie Trent.
    • The Best Of BBC-TV's Themes.
    • BBC Records.
  • Tony Hatch

    Theme from Sportsnight

    Performer: The Tony Hatch Orchestra.
    • The Best Footie Anthems In The World...Ever!.
    • Virgin.
  • Tony Hatch

    Theme from Crossroads

    • The Best Of Cult Fiction (Various).
    • Virgin.
  • James Dyrenforth

    Television

    Composer: Kenneth Leslie-Smith. Performer: Adele Dixon.
    • White Label.
    • 001.
  • Tony Hatch

    Theme from Crossroads

    • Castle.
    • PLSCD-195.
  • Tony Hatch

    Emmerdale

    Performer: The Tony Hatch Orchestra.
    • Sequel Records.
    • NEM CD-920.
  • Tony Hatch

    Theme from Sportsnight

    Performer: The Tony Hatch Orchestra.
    • Sequel Records.
    • NEM CD-920.
  • Tony Hatch

    Neighbours

    Performer: Barry Crocker. Lyricist: Jackie Trent.
    • BBC Records.
    • PWKS-645.
  • Alberto Semprini

    Semprini Fanfare

    Performer: Alberto Semprini.
    • White Label.
    • 001.
  • Walt Disney

    Mickey Mouse Premiere

    Performer: Walt Disney.
    • White Label.
    • 001.
  • Jerry Goldsmith

    Looney Tunes: Back in Jerry Goldsmith

    • Ldc.
    • B0001925XA-B0001925XA.
  • The Warner Bros. Symphony Orchestra

    MERRIE MELODIES CLOSING THEME

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • WARNER BROS.
    • 9-26494-2.
  • Winston Sharples

    Felix The Cat

    Performer: Ann Bennett.
    • Mastermix.
    • 9210.
  • Samuel Lerner

    I'm Popeye The Sailor Man

    Performer: Billy Costello.
    • Rex.
    • 8536-A.
  • Max Fleischer

    Betty Boop Theme

    Performer: Klaus Hallen Dance Orchestra.
    • White Label.
    • 001.
  • George Fenton

    NEWSNIGHT THEME

    Performer: George Fenton.
    • CARLIN.
    • CARLIN-138.
  • DAVID LOWE

    BBC News

    Performer: DAVID LOWE.
  • N/A

    ITV NIGHTLY NEWS Recording

    • KPM Music.
    • KPM-433CD.
  • The Delle Haensch Band

    NUMBER ONE

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • BBC.
    • REH-441.
  • Don Harper

    World of Sport

    • EMI.
    • 7243-55671127.
  • Keith Mansfield

    Grandstand

    Orchestra: Sound Stage Orchestra.
    • KPM.
    • nfi.
  • Tony Hatch

    Theme from Sportsnight

    Performer: The Tony Hatch Orchestra.
    • Sequel Records.
    • NEM CD-920.
  • Keith Mansfield

    World Series

    • BBC.
    • PWK-648.
  • Keith Mansfield

    Light And Tuneful

    • Play It Again.
    • PLAY 009.
  • Brian Bennett

    Holy Mackerel (Rugby Special)

    Performer: Brian Bennett Band.
    • EMI.
    • 5-567112.
  • Doug Wood Group

    Drag Racer (BBC Snooker theme)

    • bbc.
    • reh-441.
  • Booker T. & The MG’s

    Soul Limbo

    • STAX.
    • XATS-1001.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    A MUSICAL JOKE (HORSE OF THE YEAR SHOW THEME)

    Performer: The New World Orchestra.
    • EMI.
    • 4739112-NA.
  • Sam Fonteyn

    Pop Looks Bach (Theme from Ski Sunday)

    Performer: New Dance Orchestra.
    • BBC Records.
    • PWKS-645.
  • Keith Mansfield

    Young Scene

    • KPM.
    • KPM-194.
  • Offside

    Match Of The Day

    • Virgin.
    • VTCD-94.
  • Fleetwood Mac

    The Chain (Formula One)

    • Warner.
    • ..
  • Tony Hatch

    Emmerdale

    Performer: The Tony Hatch Orchestra.
    • Sequel Records.
    • NEM CD-920.
  • Eric Spear

    Coronation Street

    Performer: Ronnie Hunt.
    • Virgin Records.
    • VTDCD-747.
  • Simon May

    Eastenders Theme (2009 Version)

    • BBC.
    • REB-594.
  • WRIGHT

    Hollyoaks

    Performer: The Silver Screen Orchestra.
    • Pulse.
    • PLSCD-458.
  • Tony Hatch

    Theme from Crossroads

    • CASTLE.
    • MBSCD-412/D.
  • PAUL HENNING

    The Ballad Of Jed Clampett

    Performer: Earl Scruggs. Performer: Jerry Scoggins. Performer: Lester Flatt.
    • Rhino.
    • R2 78-231.
  • The Peppermint Trolley Company

    The Brady Bunch

    • Tvt.
    • unknown.
  • Douglas J. Cuomo

    Sex and the City (Main Title Theme)

    Composer: THOMAS CHARLES FINDLAY. Music Arranger: ANDREW DEREK COCUP. Performer: Douglas J. Cuomo.
    • SONY.
    • STVCD-172.
  • Dan McGrath

    Strictly Come Dancing TV Theme

    Composer: Josh Phillips. Performer: Dave Arch. Performer: The Strictly Come Dancing Band.
    • Sony.
    • 2266-423.
  • Paul Francis Webster

    Spiderman

    Composer: Bob Harris.
    • Silva Screen.
    • FILMCD-35.
  • Unknown

    Superman

    Performer: Unknown.
    • White Label.
    • 001.
  • Unavailable

    Wonder Woman

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • TVT RECORDS.
    • 0022-722CIN.
  • Neal Hefti

    BATMAN

    Music Arranger: Peter Spence. Performer: Peter Spence.
    • TEEVEE TOONS.
    • TVT-1100CD.
  • Eric Jupp

    Skippy The Bush Kangaroo (Theme)

    • SILVA SCREEN.
    • FILMCD-028.
  • Caswell

    PRISONER: CELL BLOCK H

    Music Arranger: N/A. Performer: Lynne Hamilton.
    • K-TEL.
    • NCD-3429.
  • Geoff Harvey

    The Theme from The Sullivans

    Performer: Geoff Harvey.
    • SILVA SCREEN.
    • FILMCD-028.
  • DON BATTYE

    Theme from Sons and Daughters

    Composer: Peter Pine. Performer: Kerrie Biddell. Performer: Mick Leyton.
    • SILVA SCREEN.
    • FILMCD-028.
  • MIKE PERJANIK

    HOME AND AWAY TV THEME TUNE

    Performer: Karen Boddington. Performer: Mark Williams.
    • First Night Records.
    • 001.
  • MIKE PERJANIK

    HOME AND AWAY TV THEME TUNE

    Performer: Karen Boddington. Performer: Mark Williams.
    • First Night Records.
    • 001.
  • Tony Hatch

    Neighbours

    Performer: Barry Crocker. Lyricist: Jackie Trent.
    • BBC Records.
    • PWKS-645.
  • Dennis Waterman

    I Could Be So Good For You

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • Dino.
    • DINCD-119/A&B.
  • Al Jarreau

    Moonlighting Theme

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • Warner Bros.
    • 9362-46461-2.
  • Jim Diamond

    HI HO SILVER

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • A&M.
    • CDA-5131.
  • Joe Fagin

    That's Livin' Alright

    • PLAY IT AGAIN.
    • PLAY-006.
  • Trad.

    When the Boat Comes In

    Music Arranger: Fanshaw. Performer: Alex Glasgow.
    • BBC.
    • BBC RESL-31.
  • Jerrold Immel

    The Theme From Dallas

    Performer: Jerrold Immel.
    • White Label.
    • 001.
  • Conti

    DYNASTY THEME

    Music Arranger: N/A. Performer: Orchestra, conducted by Bill Conti.
    • CINERAMA.
    • 00227-22CIN.
  • Cilla Black

    Something Tells Me

    Music Arranger: Mike Vickers.
    • EMI.
    • CDP7-967772.
  • JIMMY DUNNING

    BABY WE CAN'T GO WRONG

    Music Arranger: N/A. Performer: Cilla Black.
    • EMI.
    • 72435-8412420.
  • Tim Martin

    It's Now

    Composer: Walt Meskell. Performer: Cilla Black.
    • Sony Music Entertainment.
    • 001.
  • Mike Vickers

    Easy In Your Company

    Performer: Cilla Black.
    • Sony Music Entertainment.
    • 001.
  • K ROBBINS

    SURPRISE, SURPRISE

    Music Arranger: N/A. Performer: Cilla Black.
    • TOWERBELL.
    • TOWLP-14.
  • Laurie Holloway

    BLIND DATE Recording

    Performer: Laurie Holloway & His Orchestra.
    • Virgin.
    • VTDCD-747.
  • Cilla Black

    STEP INSIDE LOVE

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • EMI.
    • 0946-33698925.
  • Andy Williams

    MAY EACH DAY

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • COLUMBIA.
    • 477591-2.
  • Mike Post

    Hill Street Blues Theme

    • ELEKTRA.
    • K-12576.
  • Mike Post

    The Rockford Files Theme

    • BBC RECORDS.
    • REH-378.
  • Mike Post

    Theme from Magnum P.I.

    • Unknown.
    • TVP-MCD405.
  • MIKE POST

    A Team Theme

    Music Arranger: NFI. Performer: MIKE POST.
    • Silver Screen Records.
    • TV PM CD-807.
  • Barrington Pheloung

    Inspector Morse Theme

    • VIRGIN.
    • VTCD-5.
  • HAZLEHURST

    SOME MOTHERS DO 'AVE 'EM

    Music Arranger: N/A. Performer: Ronnie Hazlehurst and His Orchestra.
    • BBC.
    • REH-387.
  • Howard Goodall

    Theme From Q.I.

    Performer: Howard Goodall.
    • White Label.
    • 001.
  • JOHNSON

    ANIMAL MAGIC

    Music Arranger: N/A. Performer: JOHNSON, LAURIE AND HIS ORCHESTRA.
    • PLAY IT AGAIN.
    • PLAY-006.
  • John Lunn

    Downton Abbey

    Performer: Chamber Orchestra of London.
    • decca.
    • 2781146.
  • Dennis Wilson

    Fawlty Towers

    • BBC.
    • REH-387.
  • Tom Howe

    The Great British Bake-Off

    Performer: Tom Howe.
    • Amp Records.
    • asin B009YU1JSY.
  • M.Stevens

    Hawaii Five-O

    Music Arranger: M.Stevens. Performer: Morton Stevens.
    • Capitol.
    • SM-410.
  • Frank Kidson

    Johnny Todd (Z Cars Theme)

    Performer: Johnny Keating & The Z Men.
    • Columbia.
    • TWO 391.
  • ORCHESTRA

    Dr Who

    Music Arranger: N/A.
    • Weekend.
    • WEEKCD-2.
  • John Philip Sousa

    LIBERTY BELL MONTY PYTHON

    Performer: The Band of the Welsh Guards.
    • BBC.
    • REF-454/A.
  • Ashworth Hope

    Blue Peter

    Performer: Mike Oldfield.
    • MO.
    • CDMOC-1.
  • CCS

    Whole Lotta Love

    • THE MUSIC FACTORY.
    • CD 483.
  • Alan Hawkshaw

    Chicken Man ('Grange Hill' theme)

    • BBC ENTERPRISES.
    • PWKS-650.

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