Monday, 4 November 2013

Theme Time : Tony Hatch - Sportsnight

Mention theme tunes for sports programmes and you'll find most blokes will cheerfully extol the virtues of Match Of The Day's anthemic signature, a mainstay of Saturday night TV.

But my favourite was Sportsnight, composed by Tony Hatch. Here's the opening credits from a 1982 edition...

Brilliant wasn't it? I loved that rattling opening that almost seemed to suggest teleprinters running results as they arrived. 

Sportsnight ran for 29 years on BBC1, from 1968 to its cancellation in 1997, but had originally derived from the programme Sportsview which had been running from 1954. Seen as a midweek Grandstand (the umbrella sports show aired on Saturday afternoons) the show would be broadcast on Tuesday and later Wednesday nights around 10:30pm if memory serves (maybe even later?) The Sports Personality Of The Year, an annual event still going strong at the BBC, was originally a spin off from this programme. Its hosts included Peter Dimmock, Frank Bough, David Coleman (who fronted the show under the title Sportsnight With Coleman from 1968 to 1972) Tony Gubba, Harry Carpenter, Steve Rider and finally Des Lynam in its last years. The reason why it was cancelled? Well, sadly by the mid 90s the BBC's sporting output was all but gone to the likes of Sky. They were pretty much ready to broadcast 'indoor tiddlywinks', nowhere near enough to fill a midweek sports show. Likewise its big brother sibling show Grandstand, a fixture since 1958, finally came to a close on the BBC ten years after Sportsnight in 2007.

Here's Hatch's full theme in all its glory.

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