The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

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Brock
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The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Brock »

I heard "The African Waltz" by Johnny Dankworth and his orchestra on the radio the other day. Was it ever used as a TV theme tune? My mind vaguely associates it with BBC2 in the early 70s, but I could be completely wrong.

brigham
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by brigham »

Very familiar. It might have been with the Test Card, or some Station Opening sequence.
Definitely 'on the telly', though.

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Simon Coward
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Simon Coward »

It's not dissimilar in melody to the theme that Dankworth wrote for Telford's Change, although they're not identical.
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Brock
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Brock »

Might have the answer - one of the commenters on YouTube says "I suppose most people will remember this as a 'television for schools' theme tune, with that daft looking clock counting down the minute". Would that have been on ITV then? I think they used various different pieces of music.

TonyCurrie
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by TonyCurrie »

No, it was none of these. Certainly neither test card nor schools countdown.
Radio theme IIRC

Brock
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Brock »

So was it perhaps used immediately before the start of scheduled transmissions on BBC2? I don't mean test card music. As I recall, the continuity announcer would welcome viewers to the network and announce the first programme, then there'd be a short interlude before it started. During the last 30 seconds you'd see the clock ticking up to the scheduled start time, during which the interlude music would continue to play. (Hence the "clock" association, perhaps.)

This is "blue-and-white" era BBC2 I'm talking about, by the way.

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Ian Wegg
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Ian Wegg »

It's very familiar to me too, to the extent that when I heard the opening bars I already knew how the rest would go. I've had it as an earworm since I got up this morning.

It appears somebody has been diligent in keeping IMDB updated with instances of the work of the composer Galt MacDermot. There are only two entries for "African Waltz": Shindig! (1964) and Sir John Dankworth at the BBC (2010).

~iw

Brock
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Brock »

Is the MHP-chat mailing list still active? They used to be very good on all this "bits between the programmes" stuff.

Brock
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Brock »

Comments on this site include:

"It WAS a theme tune to a children's TV series, but I don't remember the name. It was a kind of Indiana Jones type serial, supposedly set in Egypt - hence the aptness of the name African Waltz"

"It was briefly used as introduction music for a BBC early evening quiz around 64 -65. It was only on for one season and I cannot remember the name. Richard Baker was the host."

No idea whether either of those is accurate. I certainly wouldn't have remembered it from 64-65 since I wasn't born until 1966.

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Simon Coward
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Re: The African Waltz - was it a TV theme?

Post by Simon Coward »

Brock wrote:Comments on this site include:

"It WAS a theme tune to a children's TV series, but I don't remember the name. It was a kind of Indiana Jones type serial, supposedly set in Egypt - hence the aptness of the name African Waltz"

"It was briefly used as introduction music for a BBC early evening quiz around 64 -65. It was only on for one season and I cannot remember the name. Richard Baker was the host."

No idea whether either of those is accurate. I certainly wouldn't have remembered it from 64-65 since I wasn't born until 1966.
Up until 1966, aside from his role as a newscaster I can't see any credits for Richard Baker beyond occasionally introducing concerts of classical music and fronting a handful of BBC appeals.

From 1967 he starts providing commentary for some schools programmes and the occasional documentary, and begins to appear 'as himself' on the music quiz Face the Music and by reading stories on Play School. And then in 1969 he narrates Mary, Mungo and Midge. Can't see any quiz, though.
We all have to eat a peck of dirt before we die.

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