Inspector Morse voted No 1 theme song in poll of TV and music fans. 30th August 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to a new post. I hope you are all well mentally as well as physically.

The British newspaper The Guardian reports that the Inspector Morse theme has been voted people’s most favourite theme by listeners of Classic FM and the TV guide Radio Times. below is the full article. Also good news, The Lewis theme is tenth.


Inspector Morse voted No 1 theme song in poll of TV and music fans.

1980s tune wins after more than 20,000 choose their favourite theme in Classic FM and Radio Times poll.

John Thaw with Kevin Whately and Inspector Morse writer Colin Dexter.

Photograph: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

Inspector Morse has been voted the No 1 TV theme song of all time in a poll by music fans.

More than 20,000 Classic FM listeners and Radio Times readers voted in a poll for their favourite TV themes.

The dark, hypnotic theme tune to the ITV crime drama series, composed by Australian-born Barrington Pheloung, first debuted on screen 34 years ago.

Pheloung, who also composed theme tunes for Inspector Morse’s follow-up series, Lewis, and its prequel, Endeavour, died in 2019 aged 65.
His widow, Heather Pheloung, said: “Thank you to everyone who voted for the Inspector Morse theme and Lewis theme. I am sure Barry would have been overjoyed and honoured that the Inspector Morse theme has been chosen as the UK’s No 1 favourite TV theme of all time.

“It is such incredible news. I know he would have been quite humbled to be receiving this accolade given the many great, iconic TV themes that have been written for UK television.

“For Barry, writing music was a way he could bring joy and love to people. His music came from the heart, and composing music and bringing it to life with his colleagues and friends was his passion.”

Inspector Morse, which starred John Thaw as the detective chief, aired for seven seasons from 1987 to 2000.

The theme tune for spin-off series Lewis was also voted No 20 in Classic FM’s countdown.

Actor Kevin Whately, who starred as Robert Lewis in both Inspector Morse and Lewis, said: “It was a privilege to be involved in the making of these programmes, and it’s an honour to the memory of Barry to know that it has such a place in people’s hearts.

“The theme was carefully produced to reflect Inspector Morse’s character, which was threaded throughout the music with an incredible attention to detail.”

Radio Times co-editor Shem Law said: “It comes as no surprise that Barrington Pheloung’s haunting theme for the landmark ITV series Inspector Morse has won Classic FM’s TV Music Countdown with Radio Times.

“It is a show our readers still love, and watch. The theme music set the bar for Sunday night murder mysteries and is still a classic of the genre.”

The drama series The Onedin Line came in second with its opening theme song titled Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia by Aram Khachaturian.

The theme to period drama Downton Abbey, by John Lunn, claimed the third spot. Ramin Djawadi’s theme for Game of Thrones took fourth place and Wolf Hall by composer Debbie Wiseman came in fifth.

The top 20 TV theme songs
1 Inspector Morse – Barrington Pheloung
2 The Onedin Line (Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia) – Aram Khachaturian
3 Downton Abbey – John Lunn
4 Game of Thrones – Ramin Djawadi
5 Wolf Hall – Debbie Wiseman
6 Band of Brothers – Michael Kamen
7 Van der Valk (Eye Level) – Jan Stoeckart
8 Brideshead Revisited – Geoffrey Burgon
9 Pride and Prejudice – Carl Davis
10 Poldark – Anne Dudley
11 Blue Planet II – Hans Zimmer
12 Harry’s Game – Clannad
13 Doctor Who – Ron Grainer
14 The Lone Ranger (William Tell Overture) – Gioachino Rossini
15 Poirot – Christopher Gunning
16 Peaky Blinders – Nick Cave
17 The Vicar of Dibley – Howard Goodall
18 Miss Marple – Ken Howard
19 Thunderbirds – Barry Gray
20 Lewis – Barrington Pheloung

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Author: Chris Sullivan

Up until a few years ago I was my mum's full time carer. She died in, 2020, of Covid. At the moment I am attempting to write a novel.

3 thoughts

  1. The Morse theme is one I can listen to over and over, in all its various presentations. It’s timeless. One doesn’t even have to be a Morse fan to be touched by its beauty; but for those of us who love the good Inspector, it’s wonderfully evocative of his character and of the city he loved.
    I’m happy to learn of this recognition of its universal appeal.

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