Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Another CD collection of test card tunes, interlude music and TV themes from yesteryear, sold in aid of the ever-young Winchester Hospital Radio.

What distinguishes WHR's releases from the other TV music compilations is their obvious love of the forgotten. These are not the same old popular theme tunes that get endlessly recycled in more mainstream collections.

Where else can you find the theme for Arthur Lowe's forgotten first series of Potter, the French-language education series Répondez s'il vous Plaît or the intro to Southern TV Weather? Not to mention sneaking in the Humphrey the tortoise music from the groundbreaking sketch show for deaf kids Vision On.

A few tracks do challenge my memory. For example, the lifeless Distant Hills is definitely not the Crown Court theme that I remember, so I guess they must have changed it between series.

One track that did have me rushing to dig out and compare my old 1980s off-air tapes with was Paddy Kingsland's theme music for Leonard Rossiter's final sitcom Tripper's Day. The piece is titled here March Of The Moogs (presumably a reference to the Moog synthesiser), and is definitely not the same arrangement that accompanied the short-lived series. In other words we seem to even have an untransmitted recording in here, which is entirely in-keeping with the obscurity of these collections.

Still, the ambiguity of the sleeve-notes is a surprise for a label that usually demonstrates so much enthusiasm for its material. While Tripper's Day might just be an oversight, about half of the compositions on disc one have no specific context listed, leaving us to wonder just which channels played them, when and for what purpose. Something of a mystery tour then!

As a result numbers like John Carmichael's Morning Call are instead free to conjure up impressions of a 'busy' scene from an MGM Technicolour musical, rather than maybe a plain old news page from Ceefax.

Another listing which stands out is for the conveyor belt sounding Swinging Pizzicato, which these days forms the retro opening to Channel 5's House Doctor.

The second CD feels like a separate release in its own right, constructed entirely of Channel 4 test card transmissions from the 1980s. Although each one of these melodies is distinctive, there's more of an overall uniformity to this disc.

The two tracks that I made a point of recording off-air in my schooldays (I was a very un-hip teenager) are not on here, but the one which stands out the most to me is Winners by Trevor Bastow. At the time this also found its way onto LBC Radio as the sound bed for Pete Murray's Nightline trails.

Proving that it wasn't just music while you watched.

Track listing:


1. Smiley (Phil Chilton) - Projection
2. Four in Hand (Max Harris) - The Otto Keller Orchestra
3. Merry Ocarina (Pierre Arvay) - The Pierre Arvay Group
4. Song of Autumn (Reg Tilsley) - The Reg Tilsley Orchestral
5. Get Up and Go (Ernest Ponticelli) - The Richard Nielson Group
6. Mazurka to Minuet (Johnny Gregory) - The Pandora Orchestra
7. A Girl Like You (Keith Mansfield) - The European Sound Stage Orchestra
8. Boulevard St. Michel (Jack Trombey) - The International Studio Orchestra
9. The Greatest Show on Earth (Peter Reno) - The Reg Tilsley Orchestral
10. Lumineux Cheverny (Raymond Guiot) - Raymond Guiot
11. Danza Gaya (Madeleine Dring) - The Raphaele Woodwind Sextet
12. Summer Convertible (Reg Tilsley) - The Reg Tilsley Orchestral
13. Bouncing Boots (Jack Trombey) - The London Studio Group
14. March of the Moogs (Paddy Kingsland)
15. Open House (Alan Langford) - The William Gardner Group
16. Sweet Unity (Johnny Pearson) - The Otto Keller Orchestra
17. Family Theme (Johnny Hawksworth) - Johnny Hawksworth Group
18. Distant Hills (Haseley, Reno) - The International Studio Orchestra
19. Snowdrops and Raindrops (Steve Gray) - The European Sound Stage Orchestra
20. Morning Call (John Carmichael) - Orchestra Raphaele, cond. Peter Walden
21. Doodle (Syd Dale) - Munich Concert Pop Orchestra
22. Live Free (Simon Haseley) - The International Studio Orchestra
23. Spindoe (Derek Hilton) - The Modern Sound
24. Swinging Pizzicato (Gerhard Narholz) - The Gerhard Narholz Orchestra
25. Sparky (Roger Webb) - The Roger Webb Group
26. Pink Skies (Julius Stefano) - The International Studio Orchestra
27. Kitten (Ted Dicks) - The Pandora Orchestra
28. The Little Hacienda (Arno Steinberg) - Orchestra Raphaele, cond. Peter Walden
29. Perky Flute (Earl Ward) - The International Studio Orchestra
30. The Glass Triangle (Pierre Arvay) - The Pierre Arvay Orchestra
31. Mr Pickwick (Syd Dale) - The Group 10 Players
32. The Muffin Man (Trad. arr Smith, Chilton and Naiff) - Projection


1. Superstar (A) (Keith Mansfield)
2. Butterfly 1 (Johnny Pearson) - The Bruton Light Orchestra
3. Spacefree (Memo Kurt)
4. A Boy and a Girl (Johnny Douglas) - The Anthony Mawer Orchestra
5. Heroes (Acock, Bunker, Edwards, Giltrap) - The Gordon Giltrap Band
6. Laurel Canyon Backstep (i) (Guarino, Sandberg) - Polson Pickers
7. All The Good Times (B) (Keith Mansfield)
8. Dot’s (Martin Kershaw) - The Bruton Players
9. Electronic Toccata (Monica Beale)
10. Taste for Living (John Fiddy) - The European Sound Stage Orchestra
11. Jazz Prelude (Brian Bennett, Cliff Hall) - The Brian Bennett Group
12. Looking Forward (A) (Nick Glennie-Smith)
13. Family Affair (John Scott) - The Bruton Players
14. Pennyweight (Kevin Peek)
15. Colour Supplement (Dave Lawson) - The Bruton Beat
16. Those Sparkling Eyes (David Snell) - The David Snell Quartet
17. Winners (Trevor Bastow) - The Bruton Beat
18. Sunny Day (Trevor Jones)
19. Sherwood Forest (Alan Parker)
20. Sunday in the City (Ray Davies)
21. Motivation (Andy Clark)
22. Flirtation (Peter Morris) - The Bruton Players
23. Prelude (Kathleen Crees)
24. Charisma (Anthony Mawer) - Michelangelo
25. Airedale Curry (Geoff Bastow)
26. Country Squire (Darryl Way) - The International Studio Orchestra
27. Soul Machine (Baker, Morgan) - The Bruton Beat
28. Rose Petals (Kevin Peek)
29. Lots of Fun (Louis Clark) - The Bruton Players
30. Captain Quirk (Memo Kurt)

Available here.
Reviews of other WHR releases:

Girl In A Suitcase
Natural Born Fillers

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