It’s Eurovision time, 2018 style!!

Oh yes, the time of year I await with baited breath. As with previous years, I’ll be going through and reviewing each entry, so this is a live post. Keep reloading, as I’ll be updating this through out the night, with the latest update first…

23:50
And here endeth the Aurovision for another year. A controversial night, and not a great winner. Reminds me too much of that “Bom Bom” song

22:07
ITALY: I’d probably like this one, but the suject martial’s put me right off. Thankfully this is the last one, I can go and get something to eat after this!

22:03
CYPRUS: This is supposed to be the favourite. Not sure why, it’s nothing special

21:58
IRELAND: Usuaully a fan favourite. Never realised they hadn’t been in it for five years though. That streetlight isn’t giving out much light though. The song wasn’t bad.

21:55
NETHERLANDS: Never a fan of country, and this one is no exception. Looks like he’s applying to be on the crystal maze.

21:50
ISRAEL: I genuintely don’t know what to make of that. She sounds like a dog choking on a chicken bone.

21:46
HUNGARY: Ha! this is more like it! The bloke singing it can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but it’s certainly more upbeat than some of the dreck on before it.

21:42
SWEDEN: I always like Sweden’s songs… unfortunately, this year isn’t one of their best. Bring back Carola, that’s what I say!

21:34
MOLDOVA: I’m not typing anything as I’m actually watching this one. It’s been the most eurovision-ny one so far.

21:34
BULGARIA: I take it we’re reaching the dreary stages, or the bit where I get bored… not sure which yet, but this one isn’t very good at all.

21:30
FINLAND: Redeeming features: 0. Not a fan of that one at all. Something about monsters being under the bed.

21:22
AUSTRALIA: I really fancy a dairy milk after seeing that dress. Very generic song.

21:18
DENMARK: I don’t think I can listen to anyone whose eyes are that close together. A bit unfair, however, as the song isn’t TOO bad. In fact, as it’s gone on, it’s grown on me. Not bad at all.

21:14
CZECH REPUBLIC: Cack. Absolute cack. Swing/Jazz is sooooo 1994.

21:11
FRANCE: It’s not great, is it? It’ll probably win.

21:06
ALBANIA: Oooh, this one isn’t bad. I do like the occasional acoustic guitar. He also looks like Photonicinduction. I keep expecting him to smash a lightbulb, then shout “I ain’t ‘avin’ it!” But yes, I do like this one very, very much.

21:02
GERMANY: It’s Ed Sheeran on a budget isn’t it? Totally ripping off every Adele Song.

21:00
SERBIA: Forgettable entry from a hipster, and someone wrapped in boiler cladding slapping fuck out of some oil drums. Nil points. Still trying to find out what that prick shouted

20:52
UNITED KINGDOM: SuRie – Storm. This is the only one I’ve actually heard (unsurprisingly), and I really like it.If politics weren’t involved, we might have had a chance of winning.

And someone ran on stage during our song. Sigh. I’m going to rewind that and see what happened.

Apparently, the intruder grabbed the mic, and shouted something foreign.

20:46
PORTUGAL: Oooh, I don’t mind this one. Pretty minimalist with just a piano in the background, but I do like it.

20:43
NORWAY: Yeah, this one isn’t great. Probably the catchiest one so far. Same lines over and over again. Nil points

20:39
Opera. Maybe this is a good a time as any to open my first can. It’s only uphill from here…. Clever dress though, that apparently cost €65,000. I wonder how many glasses just broke?

20:34
AUSTRIA: I think this is probably my favourite song so far. But please, enough of the crowd interaction. CErtainly my favourite so far.

20:30
LITHUANIA: Started off ever so slightly out of tune. Unless that’s just my ears. It’d probably be a good song, but she’s got a weird voice. Sounds a bit like her who just died out of The Cranberries. Have they banned snare drums from this years’ competition?

20:22
SLOVENIA: I doubt this one will do well at all, it’s pretty generic. I think I’d rather hear Spain’e entry again, and that almost put me in a coma. Some pointless crowd interaction there. You’re supposed to sing the song, petal, not them.

I thought these songs were only supposed to last three minutes? That felt like it went on for a fortnight.

20:22
SPAIN: Oh my god, I can’t stand this one already. I can’t understand the lyrics, but it’s setting my fucking diabetes off. NEXT! My predition is that it’ll do well. Really well.

20:18
UKRAINE: It’s slightly catchy, in a “Self Control – wo-oo-ooah” style way. The guy looks like if Declan Connelly became a vampire. And oh shit, the stairs are on fire!

I haven’t started drinking yet.

20:13
Apparently, in China, you can’t have tattoos on television, so it’s been banned. OH WELL.

20:09
Oh joy. There’s a flag ceremony.

BBC REH 387… Yes, it’s more theme tunes!

It’s a while since I’ve done a theme-music oriented post. This time it’s not from a CD, it’s from an LP, but not any old one, this one is from the 1980, and it’s as far as I can tell, it’s called “BBC Comedy themes”. Now, this record isn’t mine, unfortunately. Instead, it was thrust into my sweaty palms by Andy the Iridium Fan, and span on my turntable for approximately 38 minutes…

01. THE GOODIES THEME – The Goodies (1975, Bradleys, BRADL 1010)

I don’t particularly like this theme. I didn’t really like The Goodies. I was too young for them, and they haven’t been repeated for decades. (Note, hoewever, that they’re getting repeats on BBC2 this month). It’s just one of the tunes with sets of words that grate on me. Not listenable. Sorry.

02. FAWLTY TOWERS – The Dennis Wilson Quartet

There’s no release / catalogue data for this one, so presumably, it was never released “officially”. It’s a happy tune, then dark, then happy, then dark again. Slow. I have a feeling it’s one of those themes where a short piece of music was recorded for the show, then when the show becomes popular, the theme is extended to fill the space on a record. Rather the reverse of library music. If this was a piece of library music, I’d expect a bit more information on the sleeve.

03. THE LIKELY LADS (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO YOU?) – Highly Likely (1973, BBc Records, RESL 10)

These types of “theme” send shivers down my spine, as I absolutely love them. A proper song, written by the writer of the actual series itself. Famed for it’s chorus, “oooh, what happened to you, whatever happened to me, what became of the people, we used to be”.

This theme was remade many years later by the punk rock band “Snuff”, released under the title “Christmas Single”.

04. SOME MOTHER’S DO ‘AVE ‘EM – Ron Grainer (1978, Polydor, 2384.107)

Here’s a fascinating fact for you. Did you know that the theme tune for this show actually spells out “Some Mohters Do Ave Em” in morse code? Apparently, it does. Ronnie Hazelhurst, you absolute, but slightly dead, legend.

This particular track, however, is the perfect example of non-library filler music. According to this recording, the SMDAE theme is 18 seconds long. Unfortunately, after the end of the famous 18-second piccolo intro, the theme is transformed into some ungodly abomination of ‘jazz’, roughly based around the theme, complete with painfully out-of-place glockenspiel.

Originally, it was recorded for the 1978 album “Sixteen Small Screen Greats”. This album is still in existence somewhere, and this is what it looks like.

05. Q. 8. THEME – Spike Milligan + Ed Welch (1979, UNITED ARTISTS, UAG 30223)

I’m totally unfamilar with the show, but am in love with this theme. Ed Welch is one of my heroes. If I could shake his hand, I would. I didn’t even know this was one of his while the record was playing. One day, I’ll do a blog post about Ed Welch. This theme, apparently, is the main theme for the show, left to loop a couple of times, with Mr. Milligan providing some ad-libbing during the theme’s quiet parts.

06. STEPTOE AND SON (Old Ned), The Ron Grainer Orchestra, (1962, Pye 7N 45141)

This is the “famous” version of the theme, meaning that this is the version most likely to turn up if anyone mentions this particular theme. I didn’t realise it was particular recording was so old, but it is – conicidentally, ATIF brought round a Steptoe + Son soundtrack LP from 1962, and it was used on there too.

07. MONTY PYTHON (THE LIBERTY BELL) – The Band of The Welsh Guards (1971 BBC RESL 121)

As far as I know, this could have been the version used on the programme. It is, after all, released on the BBC record label. It’s the full thing though, therefore it doesn’t have the fart noise as the end. Not the same without this.

SIDE B

08. THEME FROM MASH – The Mash (1970, CBS 8536)

Accodring to the sleeve notes, the instrumental version of the theme was never officially released, therefore they’ve resorted to including the version released as a single. Thankfully, they didn’t go with the version listed on the Ronnie Hazelhurst album listed above.

09. DAD’S ARMY (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE KIDDING MR. HITLER?) – Bud Flanagan (PYE 7N 17854)

Timed at just over a minute long, yet still one of the most recognisable themes on the album. It was recorded in 1969, and was the last recording from Bud Flanagan before he died. It’s not actually a war song. Play a few seconds of it to anyone, and it’s instantly recognisable. This is the “full” version, with the extra couple of lines worth of lyrics.

10. GOING STRAIGHT – Ronnie Barker (1978, EMI 2768)

The spin-off from Porridge, with its own sotry-telling theme tune. I’ve never seen the show, so not sure how much of it got used in the programme itself. It’s a jolly, rather humorous number. On a separate note, I was asked a quizzical question by someone at work… “what was the show that came after Porrige?” Not only could I give the title, I could sing the theme tune. I believe the personconcerned thought I was rather odd for knowing this, and he’d be right.

11. LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE (1978, POLYDOR 2384.107)

Oh dear. It’s another one from the afore-mentioned Ronnie Hazelhurst album. This is one of the few programmes I can think of, that for each episode, they just re-recorded the theme, along with the incidental music. Here’s an odd question I’m not expecting an answer to… did any other school “sing” this theme around the harvest festival time, as in, someone gave it lyrics? Something about eating bread…

12. THE LIVER BIRDS (ON A MOUNTAIN STANDS A LADY) – The Scaffold (1969 EMI PARLOPHONE 5812)

This particular recording formed the B side of the single “Gin Gan Goolie”, and only reached #38 in the charts. I know of the show, and know that it had the laaa-la-laaaa-laaa bit in it, but after checking youtube, it would appear this isn’t the version used in the programme – it had different lyrics, and a whistly bit at the start. No doubt, though, this was the base of the theme, but this recording is just a song, later adapted for the programme.

13. THE FALL AND RISE OF REGINALD PERRIN (1978 POLYDOR 3284.107)

As the album plays its penultimate track, I must admit to hating the last two themes. This one has the sickening combination of a show I don’t particularly know, awful 70s flutes, hideously twangy guitar, and a catalogue number of 3284.107. Yup, Ronnie Hazelhurst again. Now you may think I don’t like this guy. You’d be wrong, it’s just unfortunate they chose poor recordings for this album. I’m tempted to trawl ebay to see if I can get an original of the album, just to hear how bad the other tracks are.

14. IT AIN’T HALF HOT HOT MUM (MEET THE GANG) (1975 EMI EMC 3074)

By the time the show ended, I wasn’t even 2 years old. I can’t say I remember seeing a complete episode. I do, however, remember the “variety show” opening of the show. It’s the song they used to sing on that. It’s just not great.

So, there we are, 14 tracks. Some good, some bad, some I’d rather carve out of existence. It seems to follow the path of all of the other theme albums I’ve had the chance to listen to.

BBC European Athletics theme.

Well, I got an answer from The Beeb, courtesy of Steve Cram, of all people. The theme music was an instrumental version of “Invincible” by Carola. which was, I’m sure you’ll remember, Sweden’s entry in theis years’ Eurovision Song Contest. And, just in case you don’t remember it, here it is (removed as link is dead)

It’s hardly surprising to read that I also liked it at the time too.

There now follows a theme-music appreciation post.

I know everyone hates these, but sod it. It’s my blog. I’ve not updated for ages, and I’m hoping this will get me into the swing of things again.

I’ve recently bought the following CD.


OK, it doesn’t look like much. In fact, it looks like one of those cheap CD’s you’d pick up on the open market for £2, with entirely re-recorded versions of your favourite sports TV themes.

Not even close. It cost me £6.99, and it’s almost jam-packed with the greatest works of sports theme ever. I say almost. I may have a rant about the Match Of The Day Theme. Let’s play it through.

(01) Grandstand (Current Theme) – Sound Stage Orchestra

There simply couldn’t be a sports theme CD without this classic, soon to be removed from our TV screens. I love it. From its over-emphasised brass section, to the over-the-top trumpet leading to the seldom heard middle eight. Andy M informed me that the day Grandstand’s demise was announced, Radio 1 played the full version of this. And good on them!

(02) News Scoop (Grandstand Original Theme) – Symphonia Orchestra Conducted By Ludo Philipp

Used by the beeb whenever they introduce vintage clips. And also the theme to Auntie’s Sporting Bloomers. Oh, a pole vaulter’s pole snapped! And someone’s landed head first in the water jump! Actually, that’s quite funny.

(03) The Trap (London Marathon) – Ron Goodwin And His Concert Orchestra

Also the intro to the oliver Reed film “the Trap” as documented in… um, the name of the track. the longest track on the CD, at a whopping 3m 9s. Countless views of Tower Bridge, Cutty Sark and athletes pissing in the street. An absolute classic. The original version had lyrics (I actually saw the film one dreary afternoon)… something like “and she shall have diamonds and pearls”, sung by Reedy himself. It’s a top tune, and still used by the beeb to this day.

(04) Pop Looks Bach (Ski Sunday) – New Dance Orchestra

What can I say? This is Ski Sunday. Literally. Violins, kettle drums, sitting on a sunday afternoon eating biscuits, and maybe some leftover joint. (meat-type, natch). Again, only watched by children to see massive injuries. I’ve ran out of things to say, and there’s still 20 seconds of the track left, ah here’s the big finish!

(05) Soul Limbo (Test Cricket) – Booker T & The MGs

Yes, it’s the unmistakable cricket theme, with more cowbells and xylophones than you can shake a wicket at. A record in its own right, naturally. An intro which always reminded me of my mother emptying the tin ashtray we had at the time. And still have, despite nobody smoking in our house for over 9 years.

(06) Drag Racer (Snooker) – Doug Wood Group

The snooker theme. There is no other. Sod Pot Black. What surprisies me was that this track was recorded in 1976, but the version I have on 7″ is copyright 1982, despite it being the same version. The beeb thought it would be funny to stick crap snooker sound effects on the start and the end, which is probably the reason of the revised copyright date. It’s still a top track. And the remixes of it currently broadcast are sacrelege. Can’t spell that word.

(07) Offside (Match Of The Day Theme) – Mike Vickers Orchestra

THIS MAKES MY EARS BLEED. THIS IS NOT THE MATCH OF THE DAY THEME. THIS IS THE WEEDY ATTEMPT FEATURED ON EVERYTHING SEEING AS BBC WON’T RELEASE THE BARRY THING VERSION. THIS IS MAKING MY EARS BLEED. MAKE IT STOP. Bit of an insight, as there’s still a minute to go. Barry Fenton recorded the original track in 1969, still used to this day. This 1970 mockup is an awful representation of it. You’ll have heard it before. This is by far the low point of the CD. It’s finished!

(08) Drum Majorette (Match Of The Day Original Theme) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Conducted By Robert Farnon

Er. I’m not familiar with this one at all. Oh, actually, about 30 seconds into it, a little bit of it is recognisable. Hmmm. 22 more tracks to go. Not familiar with this one at all. Did I put the milk back in the fridge?….. Meh.

(09) Sportsnight (Theme) – Tony Hatch Orchestra

Ahhh. Tony Hatch. I have vague recollections of this theme. My parents weren’t sporty, and this show was always on past my bedtime. Therefore, I know of it expecially, the DA DA DA DA-DA DA! at the end. Wow, it has a really shit sax solo. My god, it’s awful. Never heard this before. Ah, back onto the main theme. Still over a minute to go, and as seems to be the par for the course on these themes…. start bit, cheesy middle secton, start bit again, proper ending.

(10) All Sports March – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Conducted By Robert Farnon

I can place it. But it’s crap. So. A little about my day, then. I had a bit of a headache this morning when I woke up. But that soon cleared when I got to work, of all places. they’re still replacing the streetlights on Easington Road…… Um…. this theme is really crap. Only 30 seconds to go. I might have to stop and get more beer in a second.

(11) Light And Tuneful (Wimbledon Opening Music) – Sound Stage Orchestra

Bit of a strange name for something that really isn’t that light, to be honest. I love this theme. Usual structure. Main theme, then the cheesy middle eight which gets talked over by Sue Barker, then the end of the theme, which is the same as the start, only in a different key, which I don’t think gets used any more.

(12) Sporting Occasion (Wimbledon Closing Music) – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Conducted By Robert Farnon

I don’t think this gets used as the closing any more. It got used as the opening a few years ago, to the dislike of most of the public. It’s a boring, tra-la-la thing, with a bit of fanfare in it. Bleh. Not my cup of tea.

(13) Holy Mackerel! (Rugby Special) – Brian Bennett Band

Brian Bennet, ex member of the Shadows, brings us this ditty I always remember from my childhood. Wah-wah synth. and lots of it. you can almost sing the lyrics “This is rugby league!” over it. That’s my strongest recollection of it. Not used any more. At all. Ever. Completely forgotten.

(14) Cranes (Darts) – Doug Wood Group

The entire reason I bought this CD. I knew the name, and the artist of the track. Many google searches drew a blank. Though, a few nights ago, it struck me I might have been searching for the wrong thing. I’d known the artist as “Doug Wood BAND”. The other night, I searched for “Doug Wood GROUP”. Within an instant, I was redirected to HMV, where they had snippets of all of the themes on here. My word! they were all the original versions, and this track was included A google search later, meant I got it from amazon for almost £4 cheaper. Woo. Um, back to the track. Clear recollections of saturday afternoons, with a rotating dartboard, and that scary last note. Almost 2 minutes of sheer brilliance. They really knew how to do snare drums in the 70’s.

(15) Derby Day – Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted By Ole Jensen

Not familiar with this one at all. I’m sure they probably still use it on Derby Day. But not in my presence. We’re only half way through. I expect a lot of rubbish tracks, and some quality ones. Can’t quite remember the track order.

(16) The Challenge (BBC Sports Personality Of The Year) – Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted By Ole Jensen

Oh dear, we’re onto the rubbish. This one has deteriorated badly. Recorded presumably in Mono. I know it to a point, and I think they still use it. It’s not that good.

(17) World Series – Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted By Ole Jensen

Er. I have no idea what they used this one for. Thankfully the last one in the trio of Ole Jensen tracks I’ve not actually heard before.

(18) Saturday Sports (Sportsview) – National Light Orchestra

But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the crap tracks. No recollection of this AT ALL. Literally. I know it about as well as I know the back of my neck. Well, I know there’s a wart on there, but that’s not the point.

(19) Soul Riff (Crown Green Bowls) – Doug Wood Group

To be honest, this is the only Doug Wood Group track I’m not familiar with. I quite like it though. I don’t think the beeb use it any more.

(20) International Sports March – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Conducted By Sidney Torch

YOU JOIN ME! IN THE MIDDLE OF A TRACK I’VE NEVER HEARD BEFORE! The 2nd longest track on the CD, at 3mins 8secs. Great. Time to get more beers……

(21) World Of Sport March (World Of Sport) – Don Harper Big Band

The only track to stray away from the comfort of the BBC. This is the famous ITV World of Sport theme. It’s beautiful. Stupidly loud piccolos, mute trumpets, more bass than a freshwater lake, and clocking in at a paltry 1min 45secs. It’s just *too* short. I could have listened to it for hours!

(22) World Series (Athletics) – Sound Stage Orchestra

What I love about this CD is the names that were originally given to the tracks, in this case “World Series”. Never-before-heard honkytonk piano solo. I absolutely love this. And, they don’t use it anymore. A few years ago, for whatever reason, they replaced this theme with a synthed-up soundalike. It was exactly the same, except for whatever reason, they re-recorded it. I can only assume that someone at the beeb lost their master before they went ahead and showed the highlights of the long jump from Oslo. Brilliant track.

(23) Grandstand – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Conducted By Robert Farnon

Another Grandstand theme. The 70’s have something to be thankful for. They got rid of this from our screens. Can you imagine Des Lynam introducing Crown Green Bowls from Wembley over this?

(24) Out Of The Blue (Sports Report (BBC Light Programme And Radio 5)) – Band Of The Irish Guards Conducted By Major C.H. Jaeger

I can only assume, a very famous piece of music. It sounds very recently recorded. Probably from around the time Radio 5 started, which if I remember, was late 80’s? Bugger. I’ve put the CD box somewhere now… oh, there it is…. 1951 according to the booklet. No way.

(25) Goodwood Galop – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Conducted By Robert Farnon

Wy word. This is fast paced. I thought the CD was skipping. In fact no, it wasn’t skipping, it’s just a crap track. Copyright 1950, apparently. I don’t think they even DO racing from Goodwood anymore.

(26) Sportsmaster – Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted By Ole Jensen

Er. Didn’t I hear this track earlier? Oh, wait. It’s almost the same as the other ones by the same “band”.

(27) Heavy Action (Superstars) – Sound Stage Orchestra

The SUPERSTARS THEME! I took a shine to this after the Beeb resurrected Superstars a year or two ago. Though, when I say resurrected, I’m sure I mean “A chance for some past it celebreties and some dodgy presenters to sun themselves up on a sunny island for however long it took them to record it. I mean, does Johnny Vaughan *need* another holiday? What’s wrong with the swimming baths at Rhyl? That’s where Ron Pickering was every week! Needless to say, Sportstarts has not returned to our screens during 2006. Whew. Only a few tracks to go.

(UPDATE: Superstars is back for Summer 2008, on Channel 5. Although I only caught about 5 seconds of it, it doesn’t appear that they use this theme anymore. For shame My mistake! After actually watching an episode, they do still use this theme.).

(28) The Big Match – Sound Stage Orchestra

I’m divided about this one to be honest. It’s the famous track. Fast paced. Usual structure. Start. Mad oragan solo. End, same as the start, but with a bitey ending. But was it BBC or ITV?

(29) Tour De France – New Concert Orchestra Conducted By Nat Nyll

Nat Nyll. Now there’s a name that rolls off the tongue. No, I’m only joking. Never heard of him, or the theme.

(30) Football Fanfare – Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted By Ole Jensen

Oh, god. It’s back to Melodi Light, with another load of bollocks I’ve never heard before.

So, it’s clear, to me, which tracks are the stand-out ones, and which ones are a complete waste of disc. It is, of course, my personal opionion, and someone reading this could be jumping up and down at the prospect of hearing “Goodwood Gallop” again. And they can, if you buy the CD, which I assume is still in print.

Here’s the lowdown, should you wish to buy it…

UK Code: CD GOAL 1
Something Code: THE GREAT SPORTING EXPERIENCE 7243 5 56711 2 7
EMI Records.
Running Time: 71:16
Time to type: Considerably Longer

I enjoyed that. Normal service WILL resume shortly.