In 2003, the BBC commissioned David Lowe to recompose the BBC News theme tune. What he composed turned into one of the most iconic pieces of music on TV today. It is recognised around the world and stands out amongst other news theme tunes such as ITV News and Channel Four.
The theme is perhaps best described as something you’re more likely to hear on a dancefloor than a news programme and this is why it works so well. Themes such as ITV news and Channel Four’s rely on tried and tested trumpet to instill a sense of authority. A sense that you should take notice of what they have to say. BBC News chooses to remploy its iconic second-beep that it had when it started broadcasting, only this time, it’s accompanied by a modern dance beat. The two work incredibly well together to produce a progressive dance beat that has stood the test of time for the last five years.
The uniqueness of the theme has been mocked in the past for sounding too much like a dance beat, in particular by comedian Bill Bailey. In one of his sketches, he compares the theme to a “apocalyptic rave”.
The theme works so well because it progressively sounds more optimistic and people like to feel that even though the news will undoubtedly have so much bad news on it, there is still hope. The music communicates hope.