|You are in: Entertainment|
Friday, 28 April, 2000, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Five-O is top TV tune
Hawaii Five-O is the TV show with the catchiest theme tune, according to a poll carried out in the UK.
The 1970s police drama beat off a host of other classic programmes to land the title.
The Professionals took the runners-up spot, with Black Beauty making it a hat-trick of '70s favourites by coming in third.
The survey to find the nation's most hummable tune was carried out by the Abbey National bank.
The results showed that people generally have more affection for themes from older programmes.
Hawaii Five-O, which ran from 1968-1979, starred Jack Lord as police chief Steve McGarrett, famous for his trademark quiff and catchphrase "Book em, Danno".
The dramatic theme tune featured drum rolls and trumpets and was accompanied by pictures of Hawaiian men battling against the surf in kayaks.
Australian soap Neighbours was the highest-placed modern-day show in fourth, with EastEnders nudging out Coronation Street in the battle of the UK's top soap.
Abbey National spokesman Matt Young told BBC News Online the survey of 200 people aged 18-50 was part of a home insurance competition.
"We tagged the question about the theme tune on the end of the form and it proved to be more popular than the rest of it," he explained.
"It just goes to show how long classic TV themes stick in people's minds.
"Pop songs tend to be popular for a few weeks before disappearing out of people's minds, but a catchy signature tune lasts forever. "
Sports programmes did particularly well in the survey, with Ski Sunday claiming fifth place and the themes from the Grand Prix, Match of the Day and Grandstand all finishing in the top 20.
There were some surprises in the findings, though, with Stingray edging out Thunderbirds and Heidi being preferred to the likes of Emmerdale and Dad's Army.
But perhaps the biggest shock was the absence of family favourite Only Fools and Horses.
Mr Young said: "That was a major surprise, although the pattern tended to favour tunes you could hum along to, rather than those with words."
He added: "The biggest finding to come out of the survey was that themes written in the 60s and 70s were more popular than tunes from the modern day."
However, the Abbey National could not have predicted the sudden popularity of one theme - the music from 1980s drama The Littlest Hobo has been used in an advertisement for rival bank NatWest.
We asked BBC News Online users to nominate their own favourite themes.
Here's some of the replies we received:
I was surprised and some might say horrified to see the theme tune from Chips wasn't included. Or what about the classic "One man and his dog." Having said that it was absolutely fantastic to be reminded of all the songs. Thanks for the memories.
The X-Files needs a mention, if only because it's ripped off the world over on investigative dramas/takeoffs/journalistic pieces etc...
I always loved the High Chaparral and the theme tune to the afterschool quiz show Blockbusters
The reason so many 70's tunes made the list
is because they were simply good tunes.
Blakes 7, Some Mothers do 'ave 'em,
Space 1999, all un-mentioned, but classics.
Trista McCamley, USA
What happened to Dr. Who, which is easily the best and most memorable theme ever? All together now - ooh-eeh-ooo...oooh-eeh-ooo...
I'm not sure if it's my favourite TV tune, but I often recall the theme to 'The Sweeney' (though I now resist drumming it on desks etc!). Perhaps the tunes created using 'real' musical instruments were more 'punchy' and made a bigger impression than synthesised tunes?
Theme from The Prisoner, with Patrick McGooan, or Magnum PI with Tom Selleck.
What about popular US kids show from the late 70's early 80's, 'The Red Hand Gang'? Once you remember it you'll, you won't be able to stop!!!
Has everyone forgotten the classic theme to Knight Rider? "A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist...". Honestly, the youth of today!
What about Z Cars. I'm surprised that it didn't make the list since it is still played at half time at most football grounds decades after the series ended.
Re memorable themes:
How about Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" and the theme from Mission Impossible
Ditto Hawaii 5-0 and also the theme to Cagney and Lacey
I'm amazed that Mission Impossible isn't on the list!
I've never even SEEN Hawaii Five-0 but
I can still hum the theme tune!
Greg Taylor, UK
North Americans would nominate a few classics you seem to have overlooked: The themes to Route 66, Rawhide, and Cheers.
OK so I agree with The Top Two, but how about:
Fireball XL5,The Avengers, Z Cars, Red Dwarf, Monty Python, Steptoe and Son and even The Muppet Show!!!
PS BBC/ITV please repeat all the above in all their glory ASAP!!
Best theme song, definitely the Brady Bunch.
I've always been fascinated by TV Themes ever since I was a yound child. It's strange that no current affairs programmes are featured in the top 20. News at Ten was quite simply a classic theme. I also remember the beginning theme to Howards Way. Certainly, this stands as Simon May's best so far.
I'm shocked that the memorable theme tune from 'Mixed Blessings' didn't make the charts. And what about 'Sink or Swim', 'Never Mind the Quality Feel the Width' or 'It Takes A Worried Man'? Do people have such short memories?
I also have to vote for Dr.Who...the most distinctive titles & theme music in tv history.
The 'Original' Muppet Show was undoubtedly the most addictive theme I can recall......damn, now it's stuck in my head again!
No mention of "The Flintstones"?, surely a timeless classic.
Susie Hanson, UK
Number one is probably right, but how on earth can anyone name the top 20 TV theme tunes of all time and omit 'The A-Team'?
No no, the theme from the High Chaparral is the best!
Hello? What about THE most memorable TV theme of all time: "Gilligan's Island"? Even people who have only watched the show once or twice still know most of the lyrics!
Jeffrey Nelson, USA
What about "The Flashing Blade" ? School summer holidays just weren't complete without it !
Does no one remember the theme from the ITC series "Ghostsquad" produced way back in 1961.
I think it was composed by Phil Green.
I would have thought the "A-Team" music would have been some where in the top 10 if not the top 5.... And along with the BBC Grand Prix Music I would also rate the BBC Cricket music.
Am I theonly one to
remember the theme from
The Persuaders? Gad, now
I *know* I'm getting old...
Will Slater, England
Hey, Mark Calleja, don't worry. I remember that one! I've never even heard of some of the other ones people here are talking about.
The song still in my brain is the theme to...
"Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding thru the glen......with his band of men...."
It's a shame that Stingray only managed 19th place. What about all the other unforgettable themes from the Gerry Anderson inspired programmes!
The themes from "The Avengers", "Magnum, PI", and "Hunter" didn't make your list?!
Doctor Who, without question, is the most memorable signature tune of all time...
Can't imagine how the music from the old black and white Robinson Crusoe serial didn't make it.
It's got to be Bagpuss or possibly the Flumps. Those kids shows will stay in my mind forever....
I must say that I'm sad to see that the theme from the A-Team isn't here. It was a classic. Well, perhaps not. It was good though. Better, I think, than the likes of Grange Hill
The list has missed off some real kids tv classics that those of us in our 30's must have fond memories of :
John Craven's Newsround
Blue Peter (old style !!)
Trumpton - the music box bit
Play Away - Give me a P !, etc.
Cheggers Plays Pop
I could go on all afternoon !!
It just has to be Dogtanian and
the three muskahounds "one for
all and all for one muskahounds
are always ready..."
It's not surprising that there are no new theme tunes in the top 10. It seems to many of the titles to new programmes don't actually have a theme to remember. And what did happen to Doctor Who?
The Mastermind theme is surely a classic, and on the subject of classics, how about the Sky at Night and of course the Lone Ranger.
The Protectors, with Robert Vaughn and Nyree Dawn-Porter might have been an average seventies series, but it had an unforgettable theme, Tony Christie's "Avenues And Alleyways"
Re: programme signature tunes, and e-mail from Steve in Germany. That is the point of signature tunes
only the catchy ones are remembered. If it's not remembered then it was not as catchy as it should
Simon Cameron, UK
I agree with Carl and Dave, doesn't Dr Who at least deserve a mention ?
What about the theme to the Smurfs? Ah, the classics...
Dr S. Gordon, UK
Even though I live in Japan I am blessed with cable and Hawaii Five O every morning just as I'm eating breakfast. A great way to kick off the day - but they only play the intro so I never get to see those guys in the canoe.
Carl,UK, is quite right about Dr Who. However he has the tune all wrong - it went dah-dah-dah-dah dah-dah-dah-dah dah-dah-dah-dah dee-dee.....
Surely The A Team theme tune must be in 21st place and what about the tune to Fame, also how about Countdown and the old News at Ten!
No mention made of the classic "Return of the Saint"! Or the "Persuaders"! The all-time best though was "Wonderwoman":
"In your satin tights,
Fighting for your rights"!
We have come a long way!
Professionals No 2 ? Should have been number 1. Classic Bass line. Classic Funk guitar. Classic Haircuts. Classic Capri.
For me 2 big hits are Mission Impossible - which was beautifully done over for the movie and Green Acres! But there are so many great ones...The Beverly Hillbillies! Flintstones! Top Cat! And I remember all the words TOO!
Now...how can I get all of these in MP3 format? Smile!
Do you all forget The Monkees?!
Hitchikers guide to the Galaxy,
Red Dwarf, Lost in space, Monty Python,Man in a suitcase (also used on TFI Friday) Bonanza, Rawhide, World in Action, The Onedin Line, Captain Pugwash
Shame on you all - The Rockford Files should be no.1 I will not rest until caravan dwelling Jim Rockford is rightly crowned Top of the TV Pops
I can't belive no-one has mentioned the classic theme to the fondly remembered daytime quiz "That's My Dog". The show featured fading celebrities guessing the identity of a has-been from his or her canine pet. The tune was a beautifully executed haunting zither ballad set to a quasi post-industrial bossa nova backing.
A new theme tune would have to be
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Where's my
air guitar! There are also the classics
of Home and Away, Panorama (yes Panorama)
and Casualty that everyone has so far
Tim Donovan, US
What about the 70s version of The Tomorrow People?! Not only the best theme tune ever, but the best title graphics too! And I say that as a confirmed Dr Who fan! That Dudley Simpson - blimey!
Is anyone out there?? Have you forgotten the theme to Bonanza or was I the only one watching???
I remember, during the school summer holidays, looking forward to White Horses, The Flashing Blade and Robinson Crusoe, purely because of their superb theme tunes. I could not tell you what any of the programmes were about, but could hum the music perfectly!
I always liked the Van der Valk theme, although Hawaii Five-0 was a fixture in our house back in The Day.
Craig Macleay, UK
What about Rentaghost with the outlandish
Timothy Claypole, oooh eeeeh ooooh oeeeeh
laaaa maaa yaaaa heeee heo hooooo ho h
neee miiiisck leeei hhhoooooo,
How about Muffin the Mule? I can still remember that 45 years later! Also not yet mentioned - Please Sir!, Hill St Blues, St Elsewhere, LA Law and Prisoner Cell Block H (the closing titles).
Vicar of Dibley and To the Manor Born stand out as theme songs I often find myself humming. Mary Tyler Moore is another favourite too!
Bod, Roobarb and Custard, Swap Shop,
Rentaghost, Rainbow. All classic kids
shows with great tunes. The list is endless.
Todays TV is just bland blah blah blah.
Whilst some of your choices sparked fond memories of yesteryear. I am disapointed the following were suprisingly missing from your list: Hogan's Heroes, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, MASH, Happy Days, The Fugitive, Green Acres, Sanford and Son and Bonanza. Perhaps some of the observed differences between favorites can be attributed to the different geographic locations sampled in your survey.
What about "Belle & Sebastian", "White Horses" & that other summer holidays in the 70s classic "Robinson Crusoe"???
I am surprised that the theme to Blue Peter did not make the top 20. It must be one of the strongest and most endearing memories of childhood !
The three most memorable themes without a doubt were "Perry Mason", "Human Jungle" and "Juke Box Jury".
As a sci-fi buff, I have to mention Sapphire and Steel. Recent themes worth a mention are ER and Party of 5.
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Crossroads. Heard four times a week for 20 plus years by millions. Remembered if only as a cue to change channels before Mum realised her fave soap was starting...!
Forget about Only Fools and Horses, where's the theme tune to On the Buses?!!
Maybe I'm just a saddo but I always liked the music from Robin of Sherwood. I thoght it was a cool programme as well.
What about "The Banana Splits"? - altogether now..."one banana, two banana, three banana four...."
Didn't any of these people ever hear
the theme music from Perry Mason?
Other great tunes: "Hill Street Blues," "The Third Man," & maybe "Bonanza."
I was sort of surprised no one has yet mentioned what may be the most recognizable nine notes to an individual over 30 -- the opening two measures of the theme to "Dragnet".
Did anyone metion 'Bewitched' ?
What about the most unmemorable tunes...can anyone hum the tune to Vision On?
"Hill Street Blues" should be in the top 10, nevermind 20.
Followed closely by " Maverick" and " Andy Griffith".
They don't write them like that anymore.
How can Only Fools and Horses be left out!
God bless Hooky Street!
What about the theme form 'Starsky and Hutch?'
I don't know if the UK had these programs, but what about the themes from "The Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan's Island"?
Jose Stocker, Wales
The theme from Patrick Mcgoohan's "Danger Man" and the "Test Match Special-Highlights" (by Richie Benaud)are truly memorable.
And what of Van Der Walk? I refuse to believe anyone can listen to that without feeling the urge get a perm and brown PVC jacket.
The category is probably too wide, and that is possibly why certain themes might have done better. In terms of creating a mood, Doctor Who, the BBC Cricket theme, the original Star Trek, and the Avengers, are for me classics, but as for hummable,..well the Monkees has to be up there with Hawaii 5-0 !
Did anyone mention the original 'Grange Hill' theme tune?
Ian Turvill, Chicago, USA
Granted, my suggestion is a cartoon, but what about the Transformers? Perhaps the biggest toy phenomenon of the 1980s!
Ask anyone who grew up during the 1980s can probably sing part of it.
What about the Avengers, The Persuaders, Randall & Hopkirk (the original), The Tomorrow People. OK so I'm getting old but they don't write TV themes like . . . . .
Blue Peter (the original theme of course) must be a contender; Stingray over Thunderbirds? Surely some mistake. And where's Monty Python?
Mark Paris, England
I think these days, lots of programmes use library music instead of commissioning a proper theme to be written.
Also, technology has enabled lots of people to create music - whether they have the ability or not, thus TV companies will pay for the cheapest option which will inevitably not be the best.
TV companies should come and see me if the want a *real* theme tune. :)
The ones I remember most: Red Hand Gang, Dynasty, Golden Girls, Rhubarb and Custard, Babapapa, Butterflies..
Oh now my brain hurts...
I may have gone through the list too quickly, but I didn't see any mentions for the show M*A*S*H! What a classic here in the US! All I have to hear is the first guitar note and I'm humming along! Great stuff. And the funny thing is, I've must've seen this show a million times (wouldn't be surprised if that's a literal statement!) and I NEVER get tired of this song. Same goes for The Monkees, Partridge Family or (another US Classic) the Mary Tyler Moore show. I'm not that old, but almost want to say, "Boy, they don't make 'em like that any more!"
Doesn't anybody out there remember 'Mannix', the TV show and the tune? I agree with Hawaii 5-O being the best. Now, how do I program the tune into my mobile phone as the ringing tone!!!
This is a great tribute to Jack Lord. I do agree with the people of UK.
The best, most memorable TV theme HAS to be the Muppet Show! It is SO catchy and just so darn good.
What about Miami Vice? Classic 1980's!
Excuse me but what about Prisoner Cell Block H - has to be the most heart wrenching theme tune ever! And The Equalizer as well?
How about the original theme from Falcon Crest or Knight Rider
Now I can't stop singing the theme tune to 'That's My Dog'. People walking their dogs keep looking at me doubtfully. And I'd like to have 'The Flashing Blade' played at my funeral - 'You've got to fight for what you want, for all that you believe...'. Ahh, how true.
Steve Burslem, Thailand
Anyone remember "It's About Time" and "F Troop"? Can't recall the plots etc., but I can still remember the words and hum the tunes. And of course Greenacres...is the place for me...
What no Doctor Who!?
If every there was a tune I'd thought everyone would remember it would be this one.
As an ex-pat, who grew up in England in the seventies, I'd have to nominate Dr. Who (of course, as it will always be my favourite tv show and theme tune - please Auntie Beeb, find some more Troughton episodes!), Follyfoot, Mary Mungo and Midge, The Tomorrow People, Sapphire and Steel, the 1979 Quatermass serial, Gerry Anderson's Secret Service (God bless the Mike Sammes Singers) and Joe 90, Rainbow, Bagpuss, Jamie and the Magic Torch, Dad's Army, Hatty Town Tales (can't remember it exactly but Blur did a song on 'The Great Escape' album which came close), Hector's House, Fingerbobs, Multicoloured Swap Shop, Crazy Bus, On the Move, Robert's Robots, Rupert the Bear, Blue Peter (natch), Magpie (same), Tales of the Unxpected,The Liver Birds, The Young Ones, Andy Pandy (unforgettable) ...I'll stop there, nostalgia is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
03 Nov 98 | Entertainment
And it's a good quote from them ...
29 Jun 98 | Entertainment
Put on your dancing football boots
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Top Entertainment stories now:
Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.
Links to more Entertainment stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy