Strangely, the most popular post I ever wrote on here (according to the statistics), is my review of ''The Great Sporting Experience''
. At the time I thought everyone hated them, but apparently not. Therefore, I'm going to repeat it with a Cd I've just picked up from ebay.
Alledgedly, these tracks are "official", as in, the original ones used on the particular programmes featured, but I do know some of them are almost impossible to get hold of. So the question is, is this CD the real deal, or have I just spent £3 on yet another "remake" CD?
Well, firstly, the back cover is a little void of information, giving only the show title, and no information about composers or anything. That's never a good sign. It's time to break the cellophane and take a peek inside...
Well, firstly, it's looking promising... all but two tracks state "From the BBC production" or whichever company produced the show, and the composers are also listed. However, the CD doesn't list the artists anywhere, except for two tracks, so I've taken a guess with the performers...
Right, so, let's get down to it. (01) Casualty / Ken Freeman
Never mind. This does indeed seem to be the Casualty theme. Well, the original and best one. Moody synths. Brings back images of slowly breaking glass, and of course, that terrible Oxide/Neutrino record.(02) Wycliffe / Nigel Hess
I loved this theme when it was on the show. Unfortunately, it's so long since I heard it properly, I'm not sure if this is the proper version or not. If this is the genuine version, it's got a guitar solo which was never used on the show. What I do know, however, is that it's really good. The last 40 seconds are probably what was used on the end credits. Great stuff.(03) Play Your Cards Right / Alyn Ainsworth
This is the mid 90's theme. Utter cheese, and therefore strangely brilliant. Reminds me of Friday nights at about 7PM. Probably that's when the show was on.
The first 26 seconds are the opening titles. The next minute is the dodgy piano bit they always played at the end of the show when someone won the car. At 1:45, it repeats the main theme, and at 2:09, it has a shorter version of the theme used for the commercial breaks. (04) Blind Date / Laurie Holloway
Again, it's the mid 90's remake, with the dodgy saxophone bits. My initial reaction was "This isn't the proper theme!", however, it appears they never actually used the starting bit. The part they used on the show doesn't begin until 1:45 into the track. I couldn't stand this show anyway.(05) Heart of the Matter / Justin Nicholls
Ahhh, the first show I'm not familiar with.(06) GMTV / David Arch
Hard to explain, this one, as for the first two minutes, it's the main GMTV theme, played several times, but with different introductions and endings. After two minutes, there's a long instrumental bit, and the track finishes again with the main GMTV theme, but without the lead sax. It's all very strange, and it proves that, just like "Play Your Cards Right", these TV themes were never meant to be heard in their entirity.(07) Bottom (BB's Blues / Last Night) / The Bum Notes
It's the Bottom theme tunes. Both of them. On the show, it was credited to "The Bum Notes", though there's no mention of it on this CD. The first 70 seconds are the opening credits, with the bit they always faded. The next 14 seconds is the little bit of music they played between scenes which sounded like a drumkit being assaulted, and the next minute is the famous end credits theme, Incidentally, it's the first time I've heard it properly except for on the programme.(08) Dial Midnight / Phil Binding + Simon Moore
Not familiar with this programme. The BFI list it as "Late-night live 'phone-in series. GB. LWT Tx 1992/02/14 - 1993/12/17". Crap theme if I'm honest anyway.(09) Littlejohn (House of Fun) / Phil Binding + Simon Moore
I don't know if I can sit through the almost three minutes of this theme. It's an insult to Madness. It's a remake of their hit "House of Fun", and it is toe-curling. Agan, the show itself is totally missing from my radar, which is just as well. I gave up with 30 seconds of this theme remaining. Absolutely terrible.(10) Gladiators / Muff Murfin
This will bring back memories for anyone who, like me, went through puberty at the same time this show was on the air. It's also the first theme on this disc to have "lyrics", presumably written by Muff Murfin. I just had to get that name in there somewhere, as it's the best name ever. I'm pretty sure this was released as a single at some point. (11) You Bet / Jonathan Sorrell
This is the entire reason I bought this CD. I absolutely adored this theme. It was used for years, during the Matthew Kelly Era. In fact, I loved all of the music from the show... that is, until Darren Day took over, and they "revamped" the music. Jonathan Sorrell composed all of the music for the show, including the music used during the challenges.
This theme is clearly longer than the version used on the show, and it includes a few bits never aired, but it's the original. And I can imagine this being played full-blast through headphones next time I'm drunk.(12) Girl Friday / Simon Brint
Wikipedia lists this as "Girl Friday was a 1994 BBC reality television series starring Joanna Lumley in which she spends nine days on the desert island of Tsarabanjina near Madagascar." Sounds about as dull as this theme. (13)Johnny and the Dead / Stefan Giradet
A Childrens ITV remake of the Terry Pratchett novel. That's all I know. And I only found that out through Wikipedia again. Another dire theme. Very quiet and uninspiring.(14) Dangerfield / Nigel Hess
Hmmm. We seem to have hit a bit of a dry sport for themes I actually know here. Although I've heard of the show, I've never watched it. It's another Nigel Hess composition, just like Wycliffe, listed above. In fact, he features four times on this CD. Actually, that's not a bad theme.(15) ITV Sport (You Are the Number One) / Union
Absolute quality in every way, shape and form, however, this is the version with lyrics, so technically it's NOT the theme. The version they used as the ITV Sport theme was known as the "Sax In Sweden Mix", which basically had saxophones in place of the lyrics. It featured as the B side of this theme, which was also released as a single. The vocals are sung by the late Paul Young, of Mike And The Mechanics. (16) This is Your Life / Laurie Holloway
This doesn't come anywhere near to being the proper theme. Not even close. If you're interested in buying the CD for this theme, please don't. It's not the version from the programme.(17) Schofield's Quest / Toby Jarvis
I think they're stringing the phrase "Best of British Television" out a bit much now. I suppose it passes for a TV theme, but I wouldn't pay money for it. Oh, wait, I just have. Bugger.(18) Just William / Nigel Hess
Nigel Hess is at it again. This show isn't my cup of tea, and neither is this horribly twee theme, though I guess it fits in well with the programme. And, it's finished. Phew.(19) The Bill (Overkill)
As Roy Walker would say... "It's close, but it's not the one". though, I wasn't expecting it to be. It's a remake of the late 80's / 90's theme. Presumably, they can't have had the rights to use the original theme, so it was re-recorded for CD's such as this.(20) Emmerdale
Again, not the proper theme. It's a re-recording based on the original 1970's theme. The incorrect note 52 secs in, gives it away. The beginning also sounds incorrect. I was never a great fan of the theme, so I can live without a proper version of it.(21) Heartbeat / Nick Berry
Phew. Back to the genuine themes, though, considering this was released as a single, it's hardly difficult to get hold of.(22) The New Avengers
I don't think this is the proper theme. I'm not a fan of the show, but it sounds too modern. It's also one of the two tracks with no mention of where it's from.(23) Hetty Wainthrop Investigates / Nigel Hess
Nigel Hess makes his final appearance on this CD. Considering it's the penultimate track, that's not surprising. Er. Not a lot I can say about this track. It's genuine enough from what I can remember.(24) Theme From Coronation Street
Oh boy! I'm looking forward to this one! Not because I like the theme, it because I want to hear just how distant it is from the original. This is the other track which doesn't state where it's from, and is listed as being performed by the "Powerpack Orchestra". Right. There's the formalities out of the way. Now let's hit "Play".
Oh dear, oh dear.
I don't think I can finish it. I can taste the music. It tastes of burning. That's the worst ending to any CD in the whole history of anything ever.
Well, there you have it. 24 mixed tracks. Some excellent, some rather mainstream, some which are truly painful. Definitely worth the £3 I paid.