Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) is probably one of the best British TV series ever made. It is certainly still greatly loved over four decades after it was made. And it is one of my all time favourite programmes.
Everything about it was brilliant, from the concept and wonderful script with drama, action, fantasy and plenty of humour to the great casting and production.
One very important element of the whole show was the brilliant music score. This was written by Edwin Astley. He was specially commissioned to write an original score exclusively for this programme.
The score is excellent. There are great phrases with good original melodies that fall easy on the ear. There is richness in the orchestral arrangements and perfect choices of instruments. It all helps to paint a colourful picture of emotions and atmosphere for the scripts that had so much drama and humour.
There are eerie elements provided by harpsichord, clarinet and trumpets and there is full on orchestra dynamics for extreme action and drama. There are wonderful musical moments of pathos and fun like humour and I love the sweet melodies of melancholy, fondness, friendship happiness and sadness that strongly reflect the emotions between the main characters.
It would have been fantastic if Ted Astley had arranged the main themes into an orchestral suite for concert performance but he did not. And he cannot be faulted for this since his job was to provide music to add texture to the filmed sequences in a TV show.
Here on this CD set is all of the music cues recorded for the soundtrack of the series, This includes the full versions of some of the pieces as well as short cues that were meant for brief scenes. These are often repeated motifs with slight variation.
The set contains three CD discs housed in a DVD type of box. (these are not DVDs they are audio CDs) There is a very good and informaative booklet and there is faithful artwork. The mastering is mono since the origninal recordings were mono for the TV series. However the sound is brilliant. It is well balanced and strong and sounds great.
However Edwin Astley's music is more than the average background music. It has strong originality, This set may have too many cues for some people but it is possible to create your own programme of liked tracks on a CD player or you can skip over the tracks you are not bothered about. I personally have no problem playing the music straight through and it is a great set for any big fan of the series. At least we get the actual original recordings as used on the show. All of them were worked on by Astley himself.
If you think this set is too expensive, or if you think three CDs is too much there is an excellent single CD version available with highlights of all that is on this set. Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Best of - Original Soundtrack Highlights You may find this difficult to get and you may have to go for a second hand copy to get it cheaper but have a look before making a decision. Otherwise this is an excellent set to get.
Edwin Astley also wrote many other British Film and TV series including The Adventures of Robin Hood, Danger Man, Gideon's Way, The Baron, Department S, The Saint and the Return of the Saint.
on 26 February 2011
For fans of the memorable soundtrack of 60's Randall & Hopkirk this is an essential purchase. OK the nature of it means it will not be everybody's cup of tea but all the little hooks that flavour the series are on here. I remember desperately looking for something like this in the 90s (I even wrote to Edwin Astley) so it was a surprise to see it available now and I just had to buy it - the full 3 CD version. Lots of the short pieces of music are quite similar (featuring clean tremolo guitar, harpsichords and eerie flutes) but that is exactly how it was. I think the soundtrack perfectly captures (or creates?) the unique relationship between our have-a-go hero (Randall) and his dead friend (Hopkirk). It's one of those rare moments when the soundtrack hits the spot.
on 21 May 2010
Showing my age, but I'm a great Randall & Hopkirk fan from a kid. I brought this Cd set expecting some great hum along tunes. However, my first disappointment was the Mono sound. OK, the series was in Mono but these days I was expecting a Remastered stereo score! Secondly, it's surprising how less well the score works without the episodes to view and get involved with. So although I commend Network in giving us the original soundtrack, overall it's a bit flaccid and tepid. For the price, maybe a make-over through the digital stereo department wouldn't have gone amiss?