Department TV (Catalogue number WHRCD501)

Themes and incidental music from:

  • Special Branch
  • Van der Valk
  • Monty Python
  • Cinema
  • Living and Growing
  • Finding Out
  • The Messengers
  • Hobby Horse
  • Bounty advert
  • Farm Progress
  • London on the Move
  • Melody Go Round
  • It's Fun to Read

Plus the ITV Schools interval sequence and Test Card music.

Composer & Arranger Simon Parks writes:

"Seems a long time since I recorded these! 'Sprite' and 'Little Big John' were recorded at the old Chappell recording studios, Maddox Street, in 1972 with LBJ (as we call him) as a small-group filler in a big orchestral session. Nonetheless, it went on to be the top earner on the album, being picked as theme music for BBC2's Hobby Horse programme.

"'Seventeen' and 'Dawn to Dusk' date from a year earlier, and come from one session I do remember well, at Lansdowne Studios in Holland Park. It was a hot summer's day, and the studio was bulging at the seams with musicians. I didn't have much time for my three pieces, and remember getting decidedly hot and bothered!

"'Dawn to Dusk' proved worth the effort, though, enjoying a long run as the music for the Bounty Bar TV commercials. That was the fun of library music - you never knew which pieces would pick up the nice jobs.

"Finally, just for the record, I did write music on the De Wolfe Library under the pseudonym of Simon Haseley."

An Introductory Commentary by Steven Wills:

On this CD you'll hear 30 original sound recordings chosen from the vast De Wolfe Music Library in London. The company itself was established in music publishing back in 1909, having been founded by Meyer de Wolfe in connection with his musical activities as Musical Director within the film industry.

However, all the recordings on this CD were recorded in the late 1960s or the early 1970s. There's the Reg Tilsley Big Band and Orchestral playing amongst others 'Downtown Motown' which became popular as the theme to Cinema and as daytime interval music. Reg Tilsley himself was already well-known in the music industry. In the 1950s he had his own orchestra at the BBC in Birmingham and wrote and arranged music for many stars including Shirley Bassey, Ruby Murray and Ted Heath. Then in the 1960s his distinctive Tilsley Big Band Sound was requested by numerous artists, most notably Tom Jones, The Supremes, Tony Bennett and Lulu.

There are also 4 absolutely delightful vocal tracks written by Barbara Moore, the voice of the theme to the long-running '60s Cult TV series The Saint. The tune 'Very Fine Fellow' will be familiar to fans of Monty Python and 'Shades-Tones' was the signature tune to the ITV schools programme Living and Growing. Other ITV schools programme themes on this CD include 'In Step with Johann' for Finding Out, 'Children's Polka' for It's Fun to Read and 'Raff Riff' for The Messengers. Plus, a complete 1970s ITV schools interval sequence of 4 tracks can be heard in its original broadcast order from Track 25.

In between ITV schools programmes during the 1970s, and much of the 1980s, a musical interlude would feature between the programmes gnerally of between two or three minutes. the last minute showed a countdown clock which would gradually disappear, with the title of the next programme dsiplayed in the middle of the screen. The gap between the programmes would enable teachers to change-over pupils in the TV room to another class if necessary.

Also, proudly featured in stereo, is the orginal recording of 'Eye Level' written by Jack Trombey, the theme to Van Der Valk. the series was produced by Thames Television and starred Barry Foster as the novelist Nicholas Freeling's Dutch Detective. the theme music, picked from the De Wolfe Music Library, was so popular with the viewing public that Columbia Records issued the theme on a 7 inch vinyl single No. DB 8946. The 'B' side featured 'Distant Hills', the theme to Granada's long-running lunchtime drama Crown Court.

The single went to No. 1. in the British charts in September of 1973 and stayed there for 4 weeks. 'Eye Level' actually stayed in the chart at that time for an amazing 22 weeks. It's also a One Hit Wonder for The Simon Park Orchestra. the music itself was based on an old Dutch nursery rhyme with Jack Trombey writing a rough top line to the tune which was then arranged and conducted for orchestra by Simon Park.

The success of the single led to a whole album of library music tracks from De Wolfe being released on EMI's successful LP series 'Studio 2 Stereo', including 'Up to Date', the theme to the comedy series Man about the House. At the time of release, library music recordings were rarely made available to the general public, so this album was a welcome boost to many collectors of this genre. This CD features 4 tracks from that EMI compilation, including 2 from Simon Haseley (alias Simon Park) - 'Seventeen' and 'Dawn to Dusk'. EMI later issued 2 further albums of recordings by The Simon Park Orchestra, namely Something in the Air and Venus Fly Trap.

'Quitely with Johann' featured in episode 9 of Special Branch from 1973 starring George Sewell and Patrick Mower playing Detective Chief Inspectors Craven and Haggerty. In this episode entitled 'Threat' they have the responsibility of protecting a visiting Hollywood star Sue Arden (played by Stephanie Beacham) from murder by extremists.

This CD also features 'Double or Quits' used as the theme to Farm Progress and on BBC1 daytime intervals of the 1970s. plus, two original Test Card tunes, 'Crispy' and 'Shoeshine' played by The Jack trombey Orchestral.

The bonus track features The Reg Tilsley Orchestral playing 'Touch of the Bow bells' which was both the theme and incidental music to the British Transport Film, London on the Move made in 1969. It marks the opening of the Victoria Line, the world's first automatic underground line, and also depicts how road congestion was becoming a major issue with the running of London Transport's services and steps taken to increase its efficiency.

The British Transport Commission had set up its own in-house film production company back in May 1949 under the helm of Edgar Anstey OBE. Between 1950 and the early 1980s, a vast number of these short documentary films were produced covering many aspects of the serice, with some of them receiving critical acclaim and top awards at film festivals.

Nearly all the tunes on this CD will probably be familiar to you, they were no doubt used somewhere on television or indeed film or radio productions. Those I haven't mentioned specifically are familiar to me, maybe your memory will be better than mine in recalling where we've heard them before!

Track Listing

  1. Little Big John Simon Haseley
  2. Leonie Reg Tilsley
  3. Fly Away Barbara Moore
  4. Crispy Jack Trombey
  5. Dawn to Dusk Simon Haseley
  6. Funky Toothpaste Alan Parker
  7. Double or Quits Peter Milray
  8. Very Fine Fellow Barbara Moore
  9. Downtown Motown Reg Tilsley
  10. Seventeen Simon Haseley
  11. Good Morning Alan Parker
  12. In Step with Johann Reg Wale
  13. Cult and Colour Lee Mason
  14. Soft Spectrum Reg Tilsley
  15. Bounder Ralph Drake
  16. His Name Was Barbara Moore
  17. Eye Level Jack Trombey
  18. Pringle Alan Parker
  19. Another Spring Reg Tilsley
  20. Shoeshine Jack Trombey
  21. Passing Through Alan Parker
  22. Raff Riff Reg Wale
  23. Come Next Sunday Reg Tilsley
  24. Shades-Tones Barbara Moore
  25. Sandpiper Reg Tilsley
  26. Sprite Simon Haseley
  27. Swinging Strangely Alan Parker / William Parrish
  28. Children's Polka Eric Towren
  29. Quietly with Johann Reg Wale
  30. Touch of the Bow Bells Reg Tilsley