The theme tune to Desmond’s

Waaay back in the late 1980s, there was a comedy show called “Desmond’s”, following a family running a barber’s shop in Peckham. It aired from 1989 until the death of the lead actor, Norman Beaton, in 1994.

It would come to no surprise (to both of my regular readers anyway) that I was a fan of the theme tune, and of course, it’s one of the things that stood out to me. I loved it, and it was one of my favourite parts of the programme. It was one of those theme tunes that should have been released as a single, but it wasn’t.

Every year or so, I’d do a quick Google to see if a proper copy, or even an extended version of the theme had been leaked anywhere. Nope. The only things that ever turned up were just off-air, or off DVD recordings. Nothing more than the 45 seconds used at the start of the programme, and the instrumental bit used in the credits at the end. I came to the conclusion that it was only ever used on the programme, especially as it was co-written by the creator, Trix Worrell.

I think I went though one of these search things most recently anout a year ago, when for absolutely no reason, the theme started to be used in an advert for butter. This rekindled my love for the theme, and got me thinking, there had to be an “official” version. As the show ended in 1994, it’s unlikely that it would still exist some 26ish years later, and it certainly sounded better quality than it just being ripped from a copy of the programme.

Once again, I searched high and low (or rather, I searched Youtube), and found nothing. What’s even weirder, is that the full episodes that had been uploaded to Youtube now had the theme tune removed. How very, very odd. Considering that its only use outside of Desmonds was on a butter advert, it seemed very odd that it would just suddenly disappear like that. Obviously someone still owns the copyright to the song, so it could have just been that they didn’t want it on youtube, but why would they object to the theme being on there, but still allowing the rest of the episode to survive? It seemed clear that someone else had the rights to the song now, than what they did when Desmond’s was recorded. Were they planning a re-release?

Again, the trail went cold. No song, no videos on Youtube (except for poor quality versions), no more butter advert, and no release. I put it to the back of my mind. It was never going to see the light of day. A quarter of a century had gone by.

Now, I’ve been holed up for the past 4 weeks, thanks to an operation on my foot. I’ve barely been able to move off the sofa for a month, so I’ve became acquainted with an old friend called “Television”. Tonight (or yesterday by the time this makes it “to air”), I was watching The Chase, and the butter advert made a reappaearance. Just out of complete boredom, I flung “Don’t Scratch My Soca” into Google. Up came a result for Bandcamp. It was 3 minutes long. I didn’t expect much, just a fan remix or something like that. Imagine my surprise when, not only was it the proper version used on Desmond’s, it had a second verse! This was the moment I’d waited over 30 years for. All of the bits were there… the main theme, the bit they fade out when the episode starts, the end theme, and of course, that never-heard second verse. Daddykins, who happened to be enjoying The Chase, didn’t quite understand my excitement, as I fumbled with the remote, pausing his enjoyment of the afore-mentioned tea-time quiz show.

The track was released on June 21st, so only 9 days ago. Not only was it available as a free MP3, it’s possible to actually purchase it on vinyl (at the time of typing). A very small number were produced. 100 in colured vinyl, 200 in black vinyl, and a few white label test pressings. Well, I had to go for the coloured vinyl. I only ordered it today, so obviously, it hasn’t turned up yet. Might be a couple of weeks. Might be sooner. No doubt I’ll update when I have the record in my grasp.

Should you wish to hear the full theme, or even chance your arm at getting a vinyl copy, you can click here. Now, to give my fingers a rest, as typing this all into my phone hasn’t been the most comfortable experience.

EXTENSION: The theme was also written and produced by John Collins, and released under his “Local Records” label, which explains how / why the master recording survives. And, of course, it’s also available on Spotify

I asked some of the questionson the Local Records website too, such as when it was recorded, why it wasn’t released until now, etc.

1980s ITV Athletics theme… (The Heat – Richard Myhill)

Some of you may remember this. Many of you won’t. I could probably copy and paste the following from many other articles I’ve written about my love of obscure themes, but I won’t.

Back in the days when ITV actually had some athletics coverage, they used a guitar/piano type theme, which as a kid, I adored. I instantly knew I was in for an afternoon / evening of… erm, athletics.

ITV revamped their coverage for the 1990 European Championships in Split, and this awesome theme was dropped. Unfortunately, no video exists of the introductions that use the theme on youtube, or anywhere else for that matter, except for a realplayer video I have. It’s 35 seconds long, and 655K in size. You can imagine the quality.

I’d never heard this music anywhere else (except in an advert played once on the radio when going down the A19 when I was about 7 or 8).

In a series of mind ramblings involving Shazam (that mobile phone app that attempts to guess which song you’re listening to), and its inability to name this particular track, I typed into Google, “ITV Athletics theme”. The first few results were for the newer theme (which I’ve already got), but one hit was from Amazon…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ITV-Athletics/dp/B002X3LOB6

I took one look at the ‘CD cover’, and the generic name / artist of this track, and thought “Yeah, Okay. This is going to be an awful re-recording of something”.

I pressed play on the sample. The wallet flew out of my pocket quicker than what a Shearas Punjabi Wrap flies out of my body the morning after a night out. It’s amazingly the very same track!

For anyone with access to Spotify, here’s the link to the full track:-
Spotify Link

For the record…
00:00-00:30 seconds was never played
00:30-01:00 was the main theme
01:00-01:10 was the bit Jim Rosenthal used to talk over.

NOTE: The timings above are entirely wrong, as I failed to notice a subtle edited loop in the original theme, despite listening to the track constantly for around an hour.

The rest of the track was rarely played, but occasionally edited for random purposes such as viewer competitions, etc.

I thought for many years it was by Argent/Van Hooke, as they knocked out many themes for ITV around this time, but no, it’s actually by the same guy who did the famous 1970s-2000s Grandstand theme, Keith Mansfield.

EDIT 2: It’s not Keith Mansfield, it’s Richard Myhill, and is entitled “The Heat” from his record “Out Front”. the confusion probably came about by whoever released this, because it was featured on the KPM record library.

Right now, I want to be stood in the middle of an athletics track, in the pouring rain, looking slightly pissed off and uttering those immortal words… “Hello, from Brussels”…

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.