WHO'S ON TV - Programme Three
Welcome to the third show from the SFC, full of memorabilia and nostalgia from British TV. Featuring long forgotten and well remembered theme tunes, clips, adverts and releases by the stars that appeared on TV over the last Century. There’s full versions of themes, usually only heard in the first few moments of a programme, rare singles by famous and obscure artists, cover versions and original tracks by famous singers and songwriters, all with a connection to Television.
Our introduction this time begins with the theme that was used for the ITV Harlech Television station that existed between 1967 and 2006. The HTV area basically covered Wales, and therefore featured much Welsh language programming, but many English programmes were also produced including the long-running daytime game show ‘Three Little Words’ which ran from 1967 to 1985. Originally hosted by John Edmunds, then by Don Moss, and Alan Taylor and finally, ventriloquist, Ray Allan.
Ray had appeared on many TV shows in the 60s and 70s, normally with his main character Lord Charles, who first debuted on his initial TV appearance on 60s episode of the popular entertainment show, ‘The Good Old Days’. It was on this show that he also introduced the audience to his very simple ‘doll’, which comprised of a white glove, with just two eyes and a mouth. In his 1974 performance he performed ‘Smile’, a song written by silent comedian Charlie Chaplin.
Chaplin was, of course, played by pre-‘Iron Man’ actor, Robert Downey Jr. in the eponymous film of his life. Downey has appeared in several TV programmes during his career, including a memorable stint in ‘Ally McBeal’
Vonda Shepard was the musical producer for much of the series, as well as performer of the theme tune. One special episode she produced the music for was ‘Ally McBeal The Musical, Almost’ which featured several songs written by singer-songwriter Randy Newman.
Aside from being a prolific songwriter and composer for film (he wrote the scores for many of the best known Disney/Pixar movies), Newman had also written songs for several TV series, including in 2002, the Emmy award winning,‘Monk’ theme tune. Early on in his career he had started out writing music for shows like ‘Peyton Place’, ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’ and ‘Lost In Space’!
The latter was a long-running sci-fi series for children which updated the ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ story to a spaceship (The Jupiter 2) being stranded on a number of different planets. Alongside Jonathan Harris’ memorable performance as Dr Zachery Smith, was child star Billy Mumy who played the ever-more intelligent, Will Robinson.
Mumy is an accomplished musician, having released several solo albums and supprting a number of big stars on tour, but it was his partnership with Robert Haimer as one half of novelty act, Barnes And Barnes in which he found his biggest musical success in the late 70s. Never having given up acting, in the 90s Mumy had a major role in the Sci-Fi hit ‘Babylon 5’, and along with his fellow cast members released a number of tracks under the name The Be Five.
Alongside Mumy and the others, was actress Tracey Scroggins who had also previously appeared in a number of episodes of ‘The A-Team’.
The theme music to that show was by Mike Post, a prolific TV theme composer, whose other titles included ‘Hill Street Blues’, ‘Magnum PI’ and the classic ‘Rockford Files’.
The show starred James Garner as a Private Eye living in a mobile home after a spell in prison. Along with his father, he solves his mysteries sometimes using ‘unusual’ methods. One of Garner’s earliest parts was in a film with Dick Van Dyke called ‘The Art Of Love’. Dick Van Dyke’s career has spanned over 70 years, and during the 60s he had his own eponymous sit-com and of course, is well remembered for his role in ‘Mary Poppins’.
Later in his career he played a similar role to Garner, in ‘Diagnosis Murder’ where a ‘part-time’ detective and full-time Doctor, helps his son solve various mysteries. In 2010, he returned to music by ‘rapping’ on an album for children alongside the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
In ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ his wife was played by the long-suffering Mary Tyler Moore, who was given her own eponymous show in the 70s.
The theme to ‘The Mary Tyler More Show’ was written by one of Buddy Holly’s Crickets, Sonny Curtis, who also wrote the song, originally a Top 30 UK hit for The Clash, ‘I Fought The Law’. The band Ducks Deluxe also covered the song, once appearing as Blooming Youth in an episode of the TV series ‘Play For Today’.
An anthology drama series throughout the 70s and 80s, the series began in 1970 with a story called ‘The Long Distance Piano Player’ which featured Ray Davies who was already famous for being lead singer with The Kinks.
That same year Davies and the Kinks released a song called ‘Top Of The Pops’ a tribute to the music show of the same name. Also in 1970 the chart show began to use the Led Zeppelin song ‘Whole Lotta Love’ performed by the band CCS.
The first and most frequent presenter of the show was Jimmy Savile who early in the 60s was a singer himself, as was fellow presenter Tony Blackburn. Blackburn cemented his long career in the public eye, when he won the very first series of the reality show, ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’.
Coming 3rd in the 18th season of the series was John Barrowman who became known as the character of Captain Jack Harkness introduced during the 2005 series of ‘Dr Who’ with the ninth Doctor, and it’s consequent spin-off series ‘Torchwood’.
Barrowman appeared also with the 10th Doctor in 2006 and it is with this version of the ‘Dr Who Theme’, that we conclude our third trip through the TV related archives.
Please follow the SFC Home Service via the links on this page, and if you really liked the show, make a donation via the PayPal link, or subscribe via Mixcloud, so that even more shows can be provided for your enjoyment.
00 HTV Ident
01 Tony Evans Orchestra - Three Little Words (Tema Records ‘UK Modern Ballroom Championships’ LP TE 1003) 1980
02 Ray Allen - Smile (from 'The Good Old Days') 1974
03 Robert Downey Jr - Smile (Epic CD Single 6587812) 1992
04 Vonda Shepard - Searchin' My Soul ('Ally McBeal' Theme) (Sony CD Single 6666335) 1998
05 Randy Newman - It's A Jungle Out There (V2) (from 'Monk') (Nonesuch ‘Dark Matter’ CD 7559794033) (2017)
06 Neil Norman - Lost In Space Theme (PRT ‘Greatest Sci-Fi Hits Vol.2’ LP NCP 702) 1984
07 Barnes & Barnes - Fish Heads (Lumania 7” Single) 1978
08 The Be Five - It's Just A TV Show (Renaissance ‘Trying To Forget’ CD RMED00201) 1998
09 Mike Post - A Team Theme (RCA 7” Single RCA 443) 1984
10 Henry Mancini - The Rockford Files Theme (RCA ‘Cop Show Themes’ LP RS1086) 1976
11 James Garner - Don't Take Your Guns To Town (Bluwavs ‘Shades Of Black’ CD) 2012
12 The Nelson Riddle Orchestra - The Dick Van Dyke Show Theme (Capitol 7” Single CL 15309) 1963
13 Dick Van Dyke (with Leslie Bixler, Chad Smith) - DVD (Dick Van Dyke s Rap Song) (MRI ‘Rhythm Train’ CD) 2009
14 Sonny Curtis - Love Is All Around (The Mary Tyler Moore Show Theme) (Ovation 7” Single 956C-1006) 1970
15 Ducks Deluxe - I Fought The Law (RCA 7” Single RCA2531) 1975
16 The Kinks - Top Of The Pops (Pye ‘Lola vs Powerman…’ LP NSPL18359) 1970
17 CCS - Whole Lotta Love (Top Of The Pops Theme) (RAK 7” Single RAK104) 1970
18 Jimmy Savile - Bossa Nova (Decca 7”Single F11576) 1963
19 Tony Blackburn - So Much Love (MGM 7”Single MGM1375) 1968
20 Cult X Orchestra - I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Theme (Trashy Pop ‘Geek Songbook’) 2016
21 John Barrowman - Feeling Good (Sony ‘Another Side’ CD 88697188382) 2007
22 It's The End
23 Murray Gold - Doctor Who Theme X (Silva Screen ‘Dr Who’ OST CD SILCD1224) 2006