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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 September 2005, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Panorama's theme tune

The Panorama theme tune is one of the most familiar pieces of music played on British television.

It has been part of the furniture of popular current affairs for almost 35 years.

So much so that the Panorama staff frequently receive e-mails enquiring not only about the name of the piece used in the theme tune, but also whether it is available to buy.

To put you out of your misery early on - the piece is called Aujourd'hui C'est Toi and was composed by Francis Lai.

The latest incarnation of the theme was done by David Lowe, a composer/arranger whose previous credits include the BBC News music, Wildlife on One and the current Horizon theme. On being entrusted with the task he says

"It was an honour, and a bit scary to be asked to arrange the Panorama tune - such a brilliant and famous piece of television music. I used the original theme as the base, literally taking the original recording, and laying new orchestral parts and rythm arrangements over the top. The idea was to give it a warmer fresher and more current sound, which felt like a different part of the main theme."

The Panorama theme tune has never been commercially released, although it is available on a couple of compilation CDs.

However, the music that you hear on today's Panorama, is not the music which was used on the original programme 50 years ago.

In fact, there have been several other pieces of music which have also been known as "the Panorama theme tune".

The original theme tune, which was featured in the first ever broadcast on November 11, 1953 was an extract from Jean Sibelius' Pelleas and Melisande.

Themes through the years
1953: Jean Sibelius - Pelleas and Melisande
1950s and 1960s: Robert Farnon - Openings and Endings
1969: Francis Lai - Aujourd'hui C'est Toi

The second incarnation of the Panorama theme surfaced in the mid 1950s. That piece was composed by the popular 'light music' writer Robert Farnon and was called Openings and Endings.

This assured and authoritative piece fitted in nicely with the heavyweight image of the BBC of the time. It lasted for almost 15 years before being replaced with the more familiar opening bars that you hear these days.

It was then superseded by the contemporary piece Aujourd'hui C'est Toi in the late 1960s.

This piece of music has remained more or less unchanged over the past three decades.

One notable exception came in 2001, when the producers used for an 80s remix version of the music for a special programme about the life and times of Jeffrey Archer.

The Dallas-esque theme tune was actually reworked by two music librarians within the BBC, who worked on the special piece in secret after hearing that the programme was hoping for famed 1980s musician Paul Hardcastle to remix the music.

Paul Jackson and Adam Dineen then played their version to the Panorama team who were so impressed they used it in the programme, which was broadcast in July 2001.

The move even led to the pair gaining another commission to create music for a different BBC programme.

Panorama theme tune 2005
Listen to the latest version of the classic theme



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