Web Page No 2130
Don’t forget the lunchtime get together at The George at noon on the 20th February. Both June Blitz and Pete Sexton have confirmed that they will attend.
7th February 2015
Middle Picture: Steptoe and Son
Bottom Picture: Blue Peter
Isn’t it strange how just a few bars of music can magically transport you back to television and radio programmes of your youth? These memories can be divided into two sections television and radio so I will deal with these themes on two separate pages. Page one Television.
I am sure that no one can hear the March from the Little Suite without thinking of Dr. Finlay’s casebook and the folks in Arden House in Tannochbrae with Barbara Mullen muttering those immortal works ‘Oh! Dr. Finlay!’ to Bill Simpson whilst Andrew Cruickshank looked on.
Whenever I hear the adagio from Spartacus I naturally think of Peter Gilmore and Anne Stalybridge in the Onedin Line with its real star the sailing ship the Charlotte Rhodes.
Dad’s Army is still as popular now as it was when we were teenagers but there’s an interesting story behind the theme tune. I was very lucky in having Bill Pertwee as a friend and this is the story he told concerning the song. It was never a wartime song, it was especially written for the series by Jimmy Perry. Perry and Croft really wanted Bud Flanagan to sing the song but when he was approached he firmly told them that he had retired and did not sing any more. During rehearsals David Croft discovered that Bill Pertwee was a friend of Bud Flanagan from the days when they appeared on the Music Halls together and he wondered if Bill could influence Bud at all. So Bill phoned Bud Flanagan and explained that he was involved in an embryonic new series which had great potential. He described the cast and the story lines and the predicament they were in with the theme tune and would he consider singing the song as a favour to him. As Bill told it the line went quiet and very quietly Bud Flanagan said that if they could get a band together and sent him the music, he would go into the studio and sing it through just once and that was all he was prepared to do. This happened he went to the studio at the appointed time, sung the song once and went home. So when you hear the theme music to Dad’s Army being sung you now know that this was the one and only time that Bud Flanagan actually sang that song and was his last ever recording.
The first few notes of the tune ‘Old Ned’ by Ron Grainer, immediately conjures up the father and son team in that scrap yard in Oil Drum Lane. Steptoe and son must have one of the most distinctive theme tunes.
Another distinctive theme tune written by the Australian Ron Grainer is that electronic music which heralds the start of the Dr Who episodes. Ron Grainer recorded the music in the BBC experimental studio and the music was billed as being by Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Mind you when I hear the music I cannot help but bring the original (and to my mind the best) actor to play the part, William Hartnell.
The theme played by The Simon Park Orchestra and entitled Eye Level introduced the Dutch detective Van der Valk to the crime fans , and Barry Foster fans all over the country.
Probably one of the best known theme was known to followers of both classical scholars and television fan alike. The music, by Rossini, is the William Tell Overture, known to most as the theme to The Lone Ranger. The music still brings to mind The Lone Ranger riding across the prairie crying ‘Hi, ho Silver, away’.
In the early days of television the interlude appeared on the screen at regular intervals, there were several short films used, a kitten playing with a ball of wool, a water mill turning but I cannot hear the piece of music by Charles Williams, called the Young Ballerina, without visualising The Potters Wheel.
I cannot conclude without mentioning a tune written by H Ashworth-Hope, a successful solicitor as well as a composer; although over the years it has been rearranged several times, it is still very distinctive. Come on by now, you must have guessed I am talking about Blue Peter and its theme tune. This signature tune has always been a hornpipe, originally using variations of the tune Barnacle Bill.] In 1979 it was updated by Mike Oldfield, and again in the 1990’s. From the 2008 series onwards it became a rendition of the similar Sailor's Hornpipe. However, from 14 October 2008, the tune became a blend of both tunes.
The following is a list of all the versions of the Blue Peter signature tune, "Barnacle Bill" that have been used on the show: Sidney Torch & The New Century Orchestra: 1958 to 1979, Mike Oldfield: 1979 to 1989, Simon Brint: 1989 to 1992, again Simon Brint: 1992 to 1994, The Yes/No People: 1994 to 1999, David Arnold and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra: 1999 to 2004, Nial Brown: 2004 to 2006, Dave Cooke: 2007 to 2007, Dave Cooke & Blue Peter Music Makers 2007 to 2008, Dobs Vye: 2008 to 2011, Banks & Wag: 2011 to the present time.
I must admit that I had no idea that there had been eleven different versions of this one tune.
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News and Views:
On this day 7th February 1960-1965
On 07/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/02/1961 the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/02/1962 the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/02/1963 the number one single was Diamonds - Jet Harris & Tony Meehan and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Liz Taylor films Cleopatra.
On 09/02/1964 the number one single was Needles & Pins - Searchers and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was USSR tops medals at Winter Olympics.
On 07/02/1965 the number one single was You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - Righteous Brothers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United