The Not So Perfect 10: Hummable 1980s TV Themes

“If you’re looking for trouble… you’ve found the right place…” – Elvis Presley

Hello again, I’m back with some more fluff. As well as being an unrivalled source on the state of Dukinfield’s bus services, I’ve decided to plonk a more fun post. I have resurrected ‘The Not So Perfect 10’ format with the subject being 1980s TV themes.

The ’80’s was a depressing time for most of us living east of the them projected M60 motorway. Dole queues were longer than traffic jams, inflation ran at double digits, and not a day went by without a factory closure, riot or outpouring of Yuppie machismo.

In spite of this, the 1980s was a good decade for television. It had to be. The internet of its day was a costly Prestel terminal (1200 baud to receive, 75 baud to send!), you read Smash Hits instead of MySpace, and we used to have at least 100 friends offline. Anyone who had more than four channels had a satellite dish in the fag end of the decade or an Amiga 500 (4 stereo sound channels).

Without further ado, here are what I would class as the most hummable/whistleable 1980s TV themes

  1. Boon: ‘Hi ho Silver, You Got Me Lone Ranger’, Jim Diamond (1986);
  2. Inspector Gadget: Shuki Levy and Haim Saban (1983);
  3. Wacaday/Wide Awake Club: composer unknown (1984 – 92);
  4. The Fall Guy: ‘The Unknown Stuntman’ sung by Lee Majors (1983);
  5. Auf Wiedersehen, Pet: ‘That’s Livin’ Alright’, Joe Fagin (1983)
  6. Minder: ‘I Could Be So Good For You’, Gerard Kenny, sung by Dennis Waterman (1979 – 93);
  7. Watching: ‘What Does He See In Him?’, Charles Hart, sung by Emma Wray (1987);
  8. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole: ‘Profoundly In Love With Pandora’, Ian Dury (1985);
  9. Jim’ll Fix It (closing titles): composer unknown (1975 – 94);
  10. Junior Kick Start: ‘Be My Boogie Woogie Baby’, Renate Vaplus (1979 – 88).

For the purpose of this posting, the tunes I have focused on are from programmes which have aired on UK television channels. Most of these entries are programmes I remember from my childhood.

The first entry, in my opinion, also wins prizes for being one of the most cheesy TV tunes, and was lovingly sung on the opening titles of the said programme by Jim Diamond (late of early ’80s group PHD). Entry #2 is a worthy runner up for that category – with special mention for its ‘truck driver’s gear change’ moment.

Not a weekend in the 1980s went by without watching the ‘Wide Awake Club’ before ‘Saturday Superstore’ or ‘Going Live’ (and ‘Wacaday’ during the school holidays), hence its lofty position in the chart. One utterly utterly bonkers tune, I think for the helium tinged vocals.

On Saturday evenings (around the same time as Harry Hill’s ‘You’ve Been Framed’ slot), I used to watch ‘The Fall Guy’ – until the opening titles finished. The titles were cool at the time, as well as Lee Majors’ vocal delivery. ‘The Late Late Breakfast Show’ was a more existing prospect.

The same could have been said of ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’. At a time when ITV was unafraid of peeing off the Thatcherite establishment, it was earthy, funny and highly watchable. Joe Fagin’s tune was a good sing-a-long number, as were the next four entries.

I have fond memories of the theme tune to ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole’. It was a programme I couldn’t stay up to watch at the age of 6, though later appreciated when UK Gold reran the series a good 10 years ago. I have read all of Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole diaries, though the television versions which stayed with me were her first two. Somebody please rerun ‘The Secret Diary of…’ and ‘The Growing Pains of…’ on UK Gold or Dave ASAP.

The final tune takes me back to the Christmas half term holidays and the dulcet tones of Peter Purvis. I never liked watching Kick Start to see them succeed. I liked watching them fall over in the water jump or off the balance beams.

Due to the lack of instrumental tunes within this round-up, I might concoct a second one devoted to instrumental tunes (same bat time, same channel).

S.V., 30 January 2008

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