STOCK/LIBRARY MUSIC ON TELEVISION
Since seeing “Bad Lads Army” and its successors on television, I have been more than curious about the use of a new legion of regularly-used library music cues in many documentary programmes on the box. The online source for all this music is a website – www.audionetworkplc.com – which contains all this stock music and much, much more.
Composers like Paul Mottram, Ray Davies, Nik Kershaw (remember him?) and other contemporary writers have made their music available to TV producers and programmes via this site. There is a “Dance Of the Sugar Plum Fairy” piece which appears with monotonous regularity in many television documentaries: its pace, arrangement and melody is almost identical to the Tchaikovsky original, but it almost sounds as though it was being played with the notes in reverse order. I have since found out that the title of this pastiche piece is “Dance of the Woodland Pixies” composed by Ray Davies. Television programmes that feature this music are: “The Hotel Inspector”, “Ladettes To Ladies”, “Shipwrecked: Battle of the Islands” (desert island reality show), “The Home Show” (in the George Clarke make-over programme this music is used in the “reveal” portion at the end of the show) and “The Victorian Farm” (surprisingly, a BBC series – all the others are ITV!) Also by Davies is the pizzicato piece that is used in so many recent programmes: “Stringfellows” , “Tinsel and Tiaras” (a piece used regularly in “Ladettes To Ladies”) and “Whistling Willie” (more than a reminder of “Housewives Choice” here).
There is also another piece, which sounds a little like the “Pink Panther Theme” which has also been used in many recent television shows – starting with “Bad Lads Army”. This is titled “Sideways Like A Crab” and is composed by Paul Mottram, who seems to be responsible for many of the catchy themes around these days. Other Mottram pieces which pop up time and again on our screens are: “Enchanted Forest”, “Spring Is In the Air”, “Fireflies”, “Time Lapse” and “Groundhog Day” (all used frequently in “The Hotel Inspector” and other shows), the Vivaldi-inspired “Ode To Spring” from “Victorian Farm” and also from the latter – “Morning Dew” (described in the catalogue as ”large orchestral strings with soaring, beautiful violin top line”).
The swoony-fifties nostalgic piece “Veiled In Satin” is instantly recognisable as coming from “How Clean Is Your House” and a Harry Potter-type theme has been used often in many documentaries: “Sorcerer’s Dream”. There is also a familiar fugue-like piece that is titled “Bold Prediction”, which will be recognisable as coming from many recent TV documentaries. And other pieces which are used in “The Hotel Inspector” are “Fat Fairy” by Patrick Hawes and a “quirky, pizzicato strings & marimba” tune: “Walter’s Theme” by Helen Jane Long.