The 1980s and classic theme tunes

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Don Satchley
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The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Don Satchley »

I know I will have a bias as I was in my youth in the 1980s but for me, the era is the golden age of the theme tune. Creative tunes abound; my favourites I think are Rockliffe's Babies, Boon and Blockbusters. I can't honestly remember the last time I heard a new tv show and thought, wow, that's a good intro. What are your favourites?
Don

gmg
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by gmg »

Yip, great era for theme tunes. Off the top of my head I can think of Dallas, Dynasty, Bergerac, Robin of Sherwood, Harry's Game, Only Fools, the A-Team, Knight Rider, CHIPS, Magnum PI, Cover-Up, Crimewatch, and lots of kiddies shows from the time, such as Huckleberry Finn & His Friends, The Boy From Space, Terrahawks, Grange Hill, Monkey, Rainbow, Pigeon Street, Mooncat and even the 80's theme tune to Morph. IMO the Davison ere Dr. Who theme trumps the rest as well and there were some great sporting themes around at the time too including for Ski Sunday, Darts, Rugby Special, Golf, Snooker (both BBC & ITV) and even Bowls. The 80's TOTP theme by Thin Lizzy is also my favourite. All prvodided a great atmosphere of anticipation. It's maybe because I was an 80's child too but IMHO these are head and shoulders above what we get today.

Michael
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Michael »

I remember being very fond of the theme to Bird of Prey, the Richard Griffiths series. Others I remember standing out were Poirot, Wexford and Jeeves and Wooster (was that the eighties?) and of course, Hill Street Blues.

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Ross
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Ross »

Some great tunes already mentioned. I'd add:

K9 and Company (I love it, so there!)
Sorry
Take a Letter, Mr Jones
The Album
Metal Mickey
Educating Marmalade
Danger - Marmalade at Work
Round the Twist
Blott on the Landscape
Mog
Auf Wiedersehen Pet (two great themes for series one)
Dempsey and Makepeace
Let's Pretend

...and many o hers that I'll remember over the next couple of days.

ghughesarch
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by ghughesarch »

Treasure Hunt

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David Boothroyd
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by David Boothroyd »

YTV's 'Airline' had a very good Tony Hatch theme tune. The 'Good Morning Britain' theme from TVAM was also a masterpiece. 'Juliet Bravo' fitted very well with the programme.

But 'Rockliffe's Babies' does deserve the award.

gmg
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by gmg »

...and a notable omission from my list even though I never really watched it is Howard's Way.

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Roll ACR
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Roll ACR »

Indeed, although I'd expand it to include the '60s to early '90s. A heyday of so many thing in television. I'll resist the temptation to drift off topic and get all analytical about the original "Crossroads" music or gush about Denis King's LWT stuff...

I must admit to absolutely loving Roger Webb's "The Gentle Touch" theme. So many different versions too. The branding police nowadays would never permit a show to have that many variations of commercial break stings and end credits. Plus all the lovely flourishes that used to be present in sig tunes to motivate the "go roller" or "mix to prod cap" moments. Even just cutting captions every second bar (or as it often was, 2 bars for cast 1 bar for crew). Nowadays it's just X number of credits in the stack divided by 30" of shitty music layered up on a keyboard and fuck the bar count.

I agree, "Juliet Bravo" is good. Loved it as a kid and still a guilty pleasure now.

robert campbell
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by robert campbell »

The themes to BBC TV's The Assassination Run (1980) and its sequel The Treachery Game (1981) By John Scott are brilliant. Series starred Malcolm Stoddard and Mary Tamm.

videoking
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by videoking »

I love Denis King's theme for Lovejoy, a splendid tune!

gmg
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by gmg »

...and another one thats sprung to mind is the theme to the 80's BBC mini-series Skorpion.

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Bob Richardson
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Bob Richardson »

A treat in store for lovers of BBC TV themes: "Friday Night Is Music Night" on Friday at 8pm (28 October) is a special edition, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the BBC Television Service with a programme of memorable theme music.
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Duncan
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Duncan »

videoking wrote:I love Denis King's theme for Lovejoy, a splendid tune!
The original version from the first series is the best though. The arrangement for the subsequent series sounded "watered down"

Mark
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Mark »

Bob Richardson wrote:A treat in store for lovers of BBC TV themes: "Friday Night Is Music Night" on Friday at 8pm (28 October) is a special edition, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the BBC Television Service with a programme of memorable theme music.
Thanks, hadn't noticed that, very interested, should be good.
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Mark »

I would also go along with "Boon", and "Bird Of Prey", and (I agree, Ross) "K9 And Company" is a great theme...and "Metal Mickey".

Also, "Luna", "The Two Of Us", "Into The Labyrinth", the first theme of "Cat's Eyes", and 'Electro People' from "The Kenny Everett Television Show".

Both themes to "Pebble Mill At One" are excellent, too.

"Star Cops", "The Tripods", the three 80's who themes ( I liked 'em) and "Me & My Girl", thought Peter Skellern was excellent on that one.

One interesting example of a bad decision ( in the 70's) was replacing the superb theme to "Softly Softly Task Force", with a shocker, later on.

The only theme of recent times, that I liked, that springs to mind, is "Hustle", stylish and reminded me of the 60's for some reason.
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brigham
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by brigham »

The theme song for Boon is extremely irritating, along with that from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
The Mike D'Abo 'miss' later used for The Office was even worse.
What is the Most Irritating TV theme?

Clive
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Clive »

I always loved the original 80's version of the "A Question of Sport" theme tune but hated it's replacement. Equally the "Antiques Roadshow" Brandenburg Concerto theme was wonderful and was replaced by some overly pretentious classical piece. In the 80's they did seem to like re-engineering perfectly decent themes by adding that 80's synth sound...

Oh, and Crossroads too...

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Ross
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Ross »

brigham wrote:What is the Most Irritating TV theme?
Must admit, while I really liked the music, the lyrics to the Rockcliffe's Babies were so bad they were laughable.

"Rockabye baby, you're not to blame
If dad's doing time and mum's on the game...

You'll have a kid sister, cradle and all."

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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Mark »

Another good 80's one, "Tenko".

As for irritating ones, it's mostly recent or fairly recent ones, like "A Touch of Frost", not a bad theme, just somewhat bleak ( not unlike the series) also "Wycliffe", again not bad just bleak, reflecting the unusually humourless nature of the series.
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The Black Nun
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by The Black Nun »

I was thinking about the demise of the theme tune recently. It really is sad. I think it is down to decades of gradual dumbing-down in popular music to the point where there is so little musical invention left that there is literally no-one left in the business who remembers how to write a proper tune. Sad.

For me the sixties and seventies were the golden age of theme tune though. Notice how every show that has survived as a classic also has a brilliant theme tune? Back then a good theme tune was not simply desirable, it was an absolute necessity. Imagine Dr Who without its iconic opening music... it never would have lasted two seasons.

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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by murphy1961 »

The Black Nun wrote:I was thinking about the demise of the theme tune recently. It really is sad. I think it is down to decades of gradual dumbing-down in popular music to the point where there is so little musical invention left that there is literally no-one left in the business who remembers how to write a proper tune. Sad.

For me the sixties and seventies were the golden age of theme tune though. Notice how every show that has survived as a classic also has a brilliant theme tune? Back then a good theme tune was not simply desirable, it was an absolute necessity. Imagine Dr Who without its iconic opening music... it never would have lasted two seasons.
I agree 100%. I think the theme tunes go hand-in-hand with popular music which is why there were so many good ones from the 50s to the 80s. Often I used to just tune in to watch and listen to the opening and closing titles of a show, which were sometimes better than the show itself. It's also not just the theme music, it's when the music is 'married' with certain pieces of vision that makes it even better.

As far as 80s shows go, that is shows that started in the 80s, I like the themes to Cheers, although I didn't watch it that much, and the theme to Benson. The theme to Married With Children is pretty good but of course that's just an old Frank Sinatra song. You have the bizarre situation of an 80s show with a theme recorded in the mid-50s. I agree with a previous post about the Ronnie Corbett sitcom Sorry, that's a good one.

But to be frank, I can't really think of that many themes from the 80s, at least off the top of my head, if I included classic themes from the 50s, 60s and 70s, I'd probably be typing for the rest of the day.

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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by marsey »

Blakes 7
Minder
Ski Sunday
Spitting Image
Pot Black
The Adventure Game


and my favourite... Red Dwarf

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Ross
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Ross »

There seem to be a heck of a lot of 1970s theme tunes in people's lists of 1980s theme tunes. :-D

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Don Satchley
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Don Satchley »

Ross wrote:Some great tunes already mentioned. I'd add:

K9 and Company (I love it, so there!)
Sorry
Take a Letter, Mr Jones
The Album
Metal Mickey
Educating Marmalade
Danger - Marmalade at Work
Round the Twist
Blott on the Landscape
Mog
Auf Wiedersehen Pet (two great themes for series one)
Dempsey and Makepeace
Let's Pretend

...and many o hers that I'll remember over the next couple of days.
I forgot about Dempsey and Makepeace; a great theme. Must admit, you mentioning Let's Pretend made me giggle. A real blast from the past. ;)

murphy1961
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by murphy1961 »

The theme to Hi-De-Hi (Holiday Rock). It just qualifies as it premiered on 1 January 1980, although the theme was recorded in 1979.

I was going to say the theme to Shelley is pretty good too, but found out it actually started in 1979, so I guess officially it's a 70s theme, even though the majority of the show aired in the 80s.

perov
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by perov »

Moonlighting was a classy theme tune featuring Al Jarreau.

Cagney and Lacey is worth a mention.

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rondo veneziano
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by rondo veneziano »

This rare theme is quite exceptional, wish the short-lived 1981 series would be released on DVD. With the recent passing of John Carson in mind, he's in two episodes (Sunday Night Thriller).

[BBvideo 560,340]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n00Fxt-cXVo[/BBvideo]

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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Ross wrote:There seem to be a heck of a lot of 1970s theme tunes in people's lists of 1980s theme tunes. :-D
That's so we can include the good stuff like Survivors and Danger U X B! For actual 80s themes, I'll chuck in The Day of the Triffids, Knights of God, and Hannay.
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murphy1961
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Re: The 1980s and classic theme tunes

Post by murphy1961 »

Another one I thought of, Magnum PI, after I checked when it began, almost feels like it belongs to the 70s, which it almost does.

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