This is very late to write about his, I know, but it was only in this past week that I read of that Neil Richardson passed away in November. You might not know the name, but Neil Richardson wrote ‘Approaching Menace’, the theme of Mastermind. I’m sure that he wrote much else besides, but I wonder if any other piece of music he ever composed put the wind up quite so many people as “Approaching Menace” has in its time ?
When you record a show, you are doing it in a studio complete with audience, and the theme is not something that is dubbed on afterwards in production. You sit there, you get counted down to when recording of the show is going to begin, and then they play the music at full blast. The first time that you take part in a show, that’s the part where it all starts to get a bit weird. There’s no doubt at all that the start of the show is an intimidating experience, and that owes a lot to the music, which was absolutely perfect for the show.
In “I’ve Started So I’ll Finish” if I recall correctly Magnus describes how Bill Wright found the piece, newly composed, within the BBC library. Fortunate occurrence for all concerned.