RTÉ’s Greatest Themes

This LP was released by our national broadcaster in 1987 to celebrate 25 years of television and 60 years of radio. It was marketed by that old reliable, K-Tel, on foot of a vigorous advertising campaign. The premise is pretty straightforward – one side devoted to television, the other to radio. In both instances selections of themes are played with panaché by The RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

The 15 minute suite of television themes serves up a feast of nostalgic thrills for anyone aged over 30 who grew up on a diet of one/two channel television. Most of the memorable ones are present. For the children we have Wanderly Wagon and Bosco while the Wesley Burrowes triptych that is The Riordans/Bracken/Glenroe is present and correct.

Sports fans will be delighted with the theme to that Saturday afternoon staple Sports Stadium (1:40pm – after The Wonderful World Of Disney/Daktari/The Invisible Man – take your pick) and the evergreen stomper that is James Last’s Jägerlatein a.k.a. The Sunday Game.

Current affairs are represented with News and Newstime, Today Tonight and 7 Days. The first two are reasonably groovy. Hats off to the orchestra for their stirring rendition of To Whom It Concerns – theme for the world’s longest-running chat show, The Late Late Show.

Here’s the first part of “Television Themes Down The Years”.

A competent cover of the Dallas theme tune follows. For those of us who grew up in Ireland during the 1980s, Dallas on a Saturday night was a ritual. Usually watched after a bath while drying one’s hair by the open fire.

Side 1 concludes with The American Connection – a medley of three classic cop/private eye shows. Hill Street Blues is reprised towards the climax.

The flipside is a different story and is likely to be of more interest to those of more advanced years. It’s all about the radio. Music On The Move is nicely funky and is taken from the Chappell library. Other melodic choices include Living With Lynch and the Irish Hospitals Trust while Hospital Requests‘ use of a Gershwin melody is oddly sentimental. My favourite remains Tico’s Tune which soundtracked The Gay Byrne Show for all those years.

Two traditional compositions conclude the LP – dramatic and expertly honed versions of An Chuilfhionn and The Raggle Taggle Gypsy (made famous by Planxty).

Full tracklist

Side 1
01 Television Themes Down The Years
(a) 7 Days (b) The Palatine’s Daughter – The Riordans
(c) Here Comes The Wagon – Wanderly Wagon (d) Today Tonight
(e) To Whom It Concerns – The Late Late Show
(f) Eireodh Mé Amárach – Glenroe (g) Strumpet City (h) Bracken
(i) Thrilling Spectacle – Sports Stadium (j) Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M
(k) Tolka Row (l) Bosco (m) Mart And Market
(n) Classical Action – News And Newstime (o) The Shadows
(p) Jägerlatein – The Sunday Game
02 Dallas
03 The American Connection
(a) Hill Street Blues (b) Magnum P.I. (c) The Rockford Files

Side 2
04 Radio Themes Down The Years
(a) O’Donnell Abú (b) O’Donnell Abú
(c) Fish And Sticks – Music On The Move
(d) The Wibbly Wobby Walk – The Town Hall Tonight
(e) A Fair Day – The Kennedys Of Castleross
(f) The Old Turf Fire – Round The Fire
(g) Someone To Watch Over Me – Hospital Requests
(h) Perpetuum Mobile – Question Time (i) Le Jet d’Eau – The Foley Family
(j) The School Around The Corner (k) Three Little Words – Living With Lynch
(l) When You Wish Upon A Star – Irish Hospitals Trust
(m) Tico’s Tune – The Gay Byrne Show
05 An Chúilfhionn – Nordring ’78
06 The Raggle Taggle Gypsy – Nordring ’78

In an ideal world the original versions of all these themes would have been compiled with extensive sleevenotes in some sort of fancy box set. However this highly enjoyable interpretation from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra is probably as much as you’ll ever get.

I’ll leave you with the second part of “Television Themes Down The Years”.

(by nlgbbbblth)

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10 thoughts on “RTÉ’s Greatest Themes

  1. fústar says:

    Is that the Today Tonight theme that kicks in after Wanderly Wagon? It’s got that classic driving beat so beloved of current affairs programmes. This (dum-dum-dum) is (dum-dum-dum) important (dum-dum-dum) stuff. Wonder where that convention started? I’d quite enjoy a news/current affairs show that was accompanied by a theme of pure whimsy.

  2. nlgbbbblth says:

    Composers are listed on the back sleeve. Any particular ones you would like to know?

  3. fústar says:

    Wanderly Wagon. Today Tonight, Bosco, Sports Stadium. Ta.

  4. Thomas says:

    On a slight tangent, didn’t RTE use New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ as the theme for something for a couple of years? Have never been able to remember what the show was though.

  5. nlgbbbblth says:

    Brains wracked. Nothing yet.

  6. Hubert says:

    This is the only reference to “Mart & Market” that I can find on the entire internet!! Any & all further information greatly appreciated!!! 🙂

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