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Network's CD Soundtracks

Friday, 24 October 2008 01:00

When Network gained access to the entire ITV catalogue (save for a selection of ‘reserved’ top level titles), they certainly were not aware of the scope of buried treasures they were about to uncover.

When searching through the meticulous files and recordings from the ITC catalogue, home of Lew Grade’s finest attempts to crack the American market with high gloss action series in the 1960s, an amazing discovery was made.

A vast library of specially recorded music for the prime shows. The best of ITC live action. Of huge interest to soundtrack collectors and ITC appreciators alike, these releases redefine the term ‘niche’. And now, thanks to Network DVD and Cult TV, you have the chance to win one of three copies of the soundtrack to DEPARTMENT ‘S’ in our prize competition.

Since 2005 we have seen a succession of releases from Network that have plundered the vaults in a style that has been beyond the wildest dreams of television aficionados. Save for a few monochrome shows, and a handful that I believe have had rights issues, everything that was on every vintage TV fan shopping list from the ITV vaults has been set free from archive captivity.

As the soundtrack market is very much a specialist niche, rather than compile ‘best of’ releases, Network has decided to go the extra yard, and release these gems in as full and complete a form as possible – and available exclusively from

This does open up the possibility of seeing any new versions of these franchises being able to call upon the original music to give that extra sheen of authenticity. However, given some of the examples of ‘re-imagining’ recently, then the producers of any new versions will no doubt try and distance themselves from the originals in every shape and form!

These superb sets all benefit from meticulous booklets from archive expert Andrew Pixley (except for THE PRISONER, where original music editor Eric Mival is called into service), who gives every strand of detail about what you’re listening to than you could ever possibly imagine.

This all gives you the opportunity to imagine in your mind’s eye entirely new adventures for characters of the likes of John Drake, Jason King and Marty Hopkirk.

The sound quality, given the archive nature of the recordings, is excellent. The cues are arranged in episodic format, thus helping to create the flow of particular stories. New scores weren’t created for all the episodes made, but instead they became the basis for a specific library for each series. This allowed other episodes to have the ‘feel’ of the series musically, with library music tracks being brought in from commercial suppliers to supplement the mood of these additional episodes.

All in all, these are excellent soundtracks for your everyday life. The musicianship and variety on offer for all of the series goes through the entire gamut of emotions – mystery, intrigue, light-hearted, action.


Handling cases that are too baffling to be solved by normal police routine is all in a day’s work for Department S - a shadowy Interpol department that specialises in the inexplicable and the illogical. Dennis Spooner sold the series with the following premise: “Who would investigate the Marie Celeste if it was found adrift and deserted in the 20th Century?”

Department S - 3-CD Soundtrack Out NowCentral to the operation are: flamboyant novelist Jason King (Peter Wyngarde), who uses his overactive imagination and droll wit to help solve the most difficult of cases; Stewart Sullivan (Joel Fabiani), an American man of action who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, and Annabelle Hurst (Rosemary Nicols), the sassy computer expert with an eye for detail.

This three-CD set comprises Edwin Astley’s music for the series. It contains over 180 pieces which were specially commissioned to give the series its own mood – one of mystery, action and at times fun. In the booklet that accompanies the set, we revisit an interview with the composer from issue 12 of Action TV: “the basis for the DEPARTMENT S theme came from my son Jon who was tinkering with the piano at home in Stanmore one day. He came up with a double note sting and I liked the sound of it and asked if he minded me using it. He didn’t, and it became the starting point for my theme to DEPARTMENT S”.

This set features music from seven episodes and two partial scores from the series – “The Man in the Elegant Room”, “The Pied Piper of Hambledown”, “A Cellar Full of Silence”, “The Treasure of the Costa del Sol” (partial), “Handicap Dead”, “The Man Who Got A New Face”, “Dead Men Die Twice” (partial), “Fish Out of Water”, and “A Small War of Nerves”.

Music not featured on the set usually came from the Chappell Recorded Music library, Edwin Astley’s own library or from scores originally recorded for THE CHAMPIONS and MAN IN A SUITCASE.

The recommended retail price is £29.99 – purchase it from: Network DVD online.


“Every government has its secret service branch: America, its CIA; France, Deuxieme Bureau; England, MI5. NATO also has its own. A messy job? Well that’s when they usually call on me, or someone like me, Oh yes, my name is Drake, John Drake.”

Danger Man - CD SoundtrackThis two-disc set comprises all the existing pieces of Edwin Astley’s music for the half-hour episodes of DANGER MAN, containing over 90 pieces which were specially commissioned for the series. Andrew Pixley’s notes reveal that there are approximately 35 cues missing from what would have been the complete Astley score for this series. He also detailed that what had been originally planned as a James Bond TV series (prior to Sean Connery’s “Doctor No” hitting the big screen), was initially to be called LONE WOLF, before the change to DANGER MAN.

For a quote from the composer on the music, Action TV issue 12 is again consulted: “I decided to use both a jazz-orientated theme and jazz-based background music, which was quite unusual at the time”.

Episode scores present are “The Key”, “Time to Kill” (partial), “View from the Villa” (partial), “The Actor”, “The Journey Ends Halfway” (partial), “Deadline”, “The Contessa”, “The Prisoner”, “Josetta”, “Colonel Rodriguez”, “Hired Assassin” and “The Girl who liked G.I.s”. Also included are a selection of cues that were created to flesh out the library for further episodes, as well as a host of unused alternative main title takes and other cues.

The recommended retail price is £19.99 – purchase it from: Network DVD online.


Compiled from the original master tapes by Eric Mival (music editor on the series) this three CD set comprises the vast majority of music specially composed for this Patrick McGoohan series, including a number of unused cues. They are presented in the order they were recorded.

The Prisoner - The Soundtrack CD setIt comes complete with new notes by Eric which elaborates on his time on THE PRISONER, along with a reproduction of his original music 'bible' giving an alternative and fascinating perspective of the production of the series.

Disc one features the original scores and themes for the pilot episode “Arrival” by Robert Farnon and Wilfred Josephs, together with a selection of Ron Grainer's themes including newly discovered original recordings of his earliest version known as “The Age of Elegance”.

The booklet with the set reveals that Edwin Astley had been the favoured choice for series composer, but he was already committed to THE SAINT. Composer Farnon was next along, given the brief of creating a theme something in the style of “The Big Country” by Jerome Moss. This he achieved, but was definitely not right for this series. Wilfred Josephs hurriedly tried to come up with a replacement theme, before Ron Grainer came onto the scene to solve the problem and come up with the version we now all know so well.

Disc two has completes scores for “One Upon a Time” (originally entitled “Degree Absolute”), “A, B, and C” (aka “Play In Three Acts”), “The General”, and “Free For All”, all composed by Albert Elms. Disc three features “Hammer Into Anvil”, “Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling” (aka “Face Unknown”), “Living In Harmony”, and finishing with a few music cues for “Fall Out”, all again composed by Elms.

Those who have purchased previous soundtracks from THE PRISONER, which featured much of the library music alongside some of the especially recorded music, will find this set a necessity to complete the audio vista of the series.

The recommended retail price is £29.99 – purchase it from: Network DVD online.


Gumshoe Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt) has a slight problem with his partner, Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope). Marty is killed within minutes of the start of the first episode, and comes back to Earth as a ghost, to help Jeff and keep an eye on his widow, Jeannie (Annette Andre).

Randall and Hopkirk - CD Soundtrack alive!This three CD set of Edwin Astley's music for RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED) contains over 200 pieces of music which were especially composed for the series.

Referenced in the RAHDAS Newsletter from Spring 1990, the composer reveals of the theme: “It has to be something distinctive in the orchestration or in the tune, and I suppose that’s why I used the harpsichord, because in those days it was a very distinctive sounds … And the idea of using the minor key was obviously because of the ‘death’ part of it. But then again, I didn’t want it to be too miserable so I wrote a tune you could remember”.

Known initially in North America as MY PARTNER, THE GHOST (so it sounded something like the sit-com featuring another resurrection, MY MOTHER, THE CAR), Edwin Astley’s music for the series consisted of 188 numbered cues. The nine episodes these were prepared for are “My Late Lamented Friend and Partner”, “But What a Sweet Little Room”, “For The Girl Who Has Everything”, “Who Killed Cock Robin?”, “The Smile Behind the Veil”, “All Work and No Pay”, “Money To Burn”, “Just for the Record”, and “Murder Ain’t What it Used to Be”.

As with the other releases in this series from Network, cues that are taken from the Chappell Recorded Music library are not included here – but that still leaves you with a trio of discs packed with ghostly magic!

The recommended retail price is £29.99 – purchase it from: Network DVD online.


A discredited ex-CIA agent reduced to working as a private investigator, McGill (Richard Bradford) travels the world as a ‘gun for hire’. His unorthodox approach and his strong sense of personal integrity often bring him into conflict with both his employers and the authorities, and make him more enemies than friends.

Man In A Suitcase - Massive 5-CD SoundtrackThe most enormous release so far within this Network collection, the five-CD set comprises Ron Grainer, Albert Elms and Freddie Phillips’ music for MAN IN A SUITCASE, containing 332 pieces which were specially commissioned for the series.

Running to 30 one-hour episodes, and to originally be called McGILL, the theme music by Ron Grainer went on to have a new lease of life when Chris Evans chose it for his Channel 4 series TFI FRIDAY.

This set features 13 complete scores – “Man From The Dead”, “All That Glitters”, “Find The Lady”, “Brainwash”, “The Girl Who Never Was”, “Variation on a Million Bucks” (Parts 1 and 2), “The Bridge”, “The Man Who Stood Still”, “Somebody Loses, Somebody … Wins?”, “Who’s Mad Now?”, “Castle in the Clouds” and “Night Flight to Andorra”. In addition, there are musical items for a further three episodes - “The Sitting Pigeon”, “Blind Spot” and “The Whisper”, and a sound effect of chimes for “Day of Execution”. You also get a series of alternate takes for several music cues.

The recommended price is £39.99 – purchase it from: Network DVD online.

This is not the end of these releases, by the way - coming soon is a mammoth 5-CD package featuring the music to the hour-long episodes of DANGER MAN - fantastic!

Thanks to Cult TV and Network, you could have had the opportunity to add one of three copies of the DEPARTMENT S three-CD soundtrack into your collection, in our prize competition. All you had to do was tell us the answer to the following question: WHO DID PETER WYNGARDE PLAY IN DEPARTMENT ‘S’? The answer was, of course, JASON KING, and the winners were Sarah Laycock of Fleet, Lee Adams of Derby and Wendy Davison of Exeter - well done all!

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37