Born, Queensland, Australia, 1922.
Ron Grainer was a prolific composer of film and television music, most noted for his work on cultish series from the
IMDB lists about 45 theme tunes written by him, including:
The Dr. Who theme is his most popular and well-known tune. It also brought the famous BBC Radiophonic Workshop
(and electronic music) into the public eye for the first time. Grainer was charged with creating something
"familiar but different". His score filled just one page, and knowing something of the techniques that would be
to record it, he annotated the instrumentation simply with terms like "wind bubble" and "cloud". The theme was
produced in its final form by Delia Derbyshire at the workshop, using simple sine wave and square-wave tone
generators, equalizers and oscillators. This was in 1963, before the synthesizer. A flash tribute to this process is provided here: http://www0.bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho/news/radiophonatron.shtml
Grainer's other compositions were rendered using less self-consciously futuristic big-bands and other
"real" instrumentalists. The Prisoner theme was based on an idea whistled by the show's creator Patrick McGoohan,
and, like Man in a Suitcase, was led by the brass section. Steptoe and Son is led by a banjo and
manages to sound as Cockney as the Lambeth Walk.
Perhaps less impressively, Grainer also worked with David Dearlove on the song "Don't Cry Little Doll", which came
fourth in the UK's competition to decide its entry in the 1957 Eurovision Song Contest.
Grainer was inducted into the Cult TV Awards Hall of fame in their 1996/7 season, putting him alongside such
notables as John Barry and Mark Snow.
He died in 1981 in Sussex, England of cancer.