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    Courage is Beautiful Recognised for Top Honours

    Campaign highlights the bravery of healthcare workers during pandemic

    I am staggered at the response to this campaign, not only from the public but how this purpose-driven material has been selected for many of the highest awards in this business,  including the D&AD Yellow Pencil, the One Show Gold, the Clio Silver and perhaps the industry’s highest accolade the Cannes Golden Lion Grand Prix. ...
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    Courage is Beautiful Recognised for Top Honours

    Campaign highlights the bravery of healthcare workers during pandemic

    I am staggered at the response to this campaign, not only from the public but how this purpose-driven material has been selected for many of the highest awards in this business,  including the D&AD Yellow Pencil, the One Show Gold, the Clio Silver and perhaps the industry’s highest accolade the Cannes Golden Lion Grand Prix.

    In support of frontline healthcare workers battling the pandemic, Dove and its parent company have donated over $100 million worth of soap, sanitising and care products since the outbreak. Honouring these key workers’ sacrifice and bravery, Ogilvy created the simple campaign Courage is Beautiful, featuring raw, powerful portraiture of these heroic individuals, their faces ravaged by the scars of PPE after shifts of untold stress.

    I was approached to provide music for for the editors to cut the film version on a Friday afternoon in early April 2020. By the Sunday night, the first film was on air in Canada. It went on to many other countries where the donations were being made.

    The track is available to stream or download wherever you get your music and is my first independent release, inspired by over two-thousand Shazam hits it received from the broadcast. Thanks to my dear friends Ben Dray for the cover photograph and Tom Climpson for the graphics. Click on the image below for the link.

     


    The Birth of Valerie Venus

    Score for BFI short film now available

    My original score for writer/director Sarah Clift‘s mischievous and beautifully made short, The Birth of Valerie Venus is now available on to download or stream on all major platforms, as the film itself starts to gain awards around the world. As Sarah puts it: “Trapped in a world of domesticity and servitude, long suffering vicar’s ...
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    The Birth of Valerie Venus

    Score for BFI short film now available

    My original score for writer/director Sarah Clift‘s mischievous and beautifully made short, The Birth of Valerie Venus is now available on to download or stream on all major platforms, as the film itself starts to gain awards around the world.

    As Sarah puts it: “Trapped in a world of domesticity and servitude, long suffering vicar’s wife Valerie (55), has spent a lifetime serving others. At her wits’ ends, she makes a quiet plea to the Virgin Mary, who answers her prayers in the form of a strange force. Convinced she is possessed, Valerie fights her path to enlightenment every step of the way, until she realises there actually might be some benefits to being kind to yourself.”

    The score draws on Baroque minimalism and Tango elements, and was performed by founder member of the London Tango Quintet, David Juritz (violin) and Nicholas Holland (cello).

    Continuing the Legend

    Scoring My Mum Tracy Beaker and some thoughts about my own family history

    My Mum Tracy Beaker has been CBBC’s biggest ever launch, racking up over 2.1 million streams on iPlayer in the first weekend alone and setting social media reaction on fire in early 2021. I have to confess the world of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson’s feisty ‘problem child’ –  had escaped me.  I was born ...
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    Continuing the Legend

    Scoring My Mum Tracy Beaker and some thoughts about my own family history

    My Mum Tracy Beaker has been CBBC’s biggest ever launch, racking up over 2.1 million streams on iPlayer in the first weekend alone and setting social media reaction on fire in early 2021.

    I have to confess the world of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson’s feisty ‘problem child’ –  had escaped me.  I was born too early for it to hit my childhood viewing or reading.  All the same, I knew Tracy was an essential part of the cultural landscape for my children.  Blimey, hadn’t Stormzy even quoted the theme tune?

    So when long-time collaborator, producer/director John McKay (Compact Pictures) invited me to come aboard this new chapter for CBBC –  My Mum Tracy Beaker – it was a great thrill and opportunity to be part of the canon, but I needed to bone up quickly – I immediately devoured the previous series over several days.

    John saw the new series as a love story between mother and daughter, seen through the eyes of Tracy’s daughter Jess.  Along the way, it examines ideas of home and stability, and more sombre questions of mental health, parenting and childhood trauma – something which resonated, of which more later.

    It was clear the bond between Tracy and Jess needed an emotional thread, a simple, tender and honest musical idea to return to. After a few false starts, I presented a slightly hymnal, almost folk piano sketch which I performed to John on the on a Zoom call and it seemed to hit the spot – aspects of sanctuary and tenderness. With his encouragement I found it blooming into an expansive second section under my fingers, before returning to the spare, opening mood and a gentle resolution; John could hear this forming a Heart and Home theme and it became a central element of the score.

    The script was shouting for other musical reactions, so even before they were shooting – under Covid restrictions, of course – I started to present other character sketches to John and CBBC exec Spencer Campbell in Zoom meetings.  John and I often work like this – it’s very much a dialogue in the early stages, trying things out, writing away from the picture, trying to capture the spirit of the story in character sketches and subtextual layers.  On occasion, a musical approach might trigger a bold editing idea or even a new sequence – always exciting.

    First was a potential title theme for Tracy in her groove, on top of her world: confident, cheeky, with a hard-won toughness but not without emotional depths. I heard rhythms of reggae and ska, the dubby sounds of a diverse, contemporary Britain, with eclectic instruments for the melody: banjo, melodica and the Arabic oud.  A toy piano – and elsewhere mandolin – consciously evoked Tracy Beaker Returns in a nostalgic nod to Joby Talbot’s delightful earlier work. The fresh, swaggering theme found a perfect home in the opening sequence, here.

    To reflect Tracy’s hair-trigger rage when threatened or challenged, and perhaps work as a main title theme, I created a kind of 80s-pop stomp-and-clap with a playground-type chant.  I went through several versions improving it or so I thought, making it punchier, busier, ever more aggressive, but John kept returning to the demo for its simplicity and sense of fun. I think they even dubbed the demo into the final film, despite our slicker later mixes

    For me, the character of our narrator Jess – precocious, bookish, perhaps as wilful as her mother – called for something naïve yet spirited which we found useful for bridging passages, to suggest time passing and things changing.  Here it melts into luxurious loungecore as they arrive at Sean’s swanky pile.

    Much as I made every play to bag the theme tune, it was perhaps inevitable that nothing could displace the original Keisha White song Someday, so long and affectionately associated with the Beaker universe.  EP Spencer approached the original producer/co-writer Brian Harris who soon brought us several new versions with a fresh vocal from Keisha: a cool, dark R&B mix edit became our end-title music, and the fabulous disco-tastic arrangement got a star appearance in the wedding scene.

    The score was mixed by my long-serving engineer Steve Parr. Given the geographical and Covid constraints, we were forced to mix remotely. In a successful first experiment, we had Steve operate my computer workstation here in Newcastle from his facility in London, while I simultaneously streamed the full-resolution audio back to him. We kept in contact via a continuous WhatsApp call on our phones – it worked a dream and saved loads in time and travel costs.

    The Heart and Home theme runs through the story whenever Tracy chases a dream of stability for her and Jess, something Tracy wasn’t lucky enough to experience consistently in her own upbringing.  There’s something bittersweet about it that seems to make it work on both happy and more melancholy scenes.

    It wasn’t until I was in sight of the finishing line, polishing the closing cue with more mandolin and starting to relax, that I had a small epiphany: so much of the story in fact had deep echoes in my own family history, echoes now triggering a wave of unexpectedly powerful emotion in me.  At once I recognised again the many parallels between Tracy’s story and that of my own, dear late mother, whose upbringing had brought its own challenges and struggles throughout her life.  While their personalities could not have been more different, I realised what I had been writing for Tracy B, I had also been writing for her.

    So Mum, this one’s for you.

    Barbara Jean Sargent (née Jones) 1930 – 2003

    SHORT FILM DRAMA DEBUT FOR STUART DOUGLAS

    The Douglas Brothers gave me my first break into writing for commercials. Stuart Douglas (Ronnie Wood: Hell of a Racket) has made his drama debut with this tender, moving short film Cúl an Tí: The Back of the House, from a script by Emma Pyne, and taking inspiration from Séan Ó Ríordáin’s much-loved poem. Here’s the trailer for the film which is already appearing at festivals internationally.

    The score features David Juritz on violin and Barnaby Robson on Bb and bass clarinet.

    Katy Wins Two BAFTA Childrens Awards

    Also scores Golden Rose of Montreux and International Emmy Nominations

    I am so thrilled that KATY, adapted for CBBC from Jacqueline Wilson’s retelling of WHAT KATY DID has won two BAFTA Children’s Awards: Chloe Lea for Best Young Performer and Tom Bidwell for Best Writer. It was also nominated for Best Drama. Well done to Spencer, John and all the team on a lovely series. ...
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    Katy Wins Two BAFTA Childrens Awards

    Also scores Golden Rose of Montreux and International Emmy Nominations

    I am so thrilled that KATY, adapted for CBBC from Jacqueline Wilson’s retelling of WHAT KATY DID has won two BAFTA Children’s Awards: Chloe Lea for Best Young Performer and Tom Bidwell for Best Writer. It was also nominated for Best Drama. Well done to Spencer, John and all the team on a lovely series. For the score I was lucky enough to have Barnaby Robson of the Royal Opera play clarinet, Michael Cox of the London Sinfonietta on flute and Nicholas Holland on cello. Arthur Dick performed the heavy metal guitars and banjo, mandolin, omnichord, piano, accordion, acoustic guitar, glockenspiel and Juno 6 were me. Much of the score derived from a single acoustic demo I wrote in response to the script.

    Other nominations for the series include the Montreux Rose D’Or and a International Emmy.

    Sky scores high with Ratburger

    Sky One enjoyed its highest ratings ever among 5-14 year olds, and the highest overall for five years with the Christmas Eve treat Ratburger, adapted by Kevin Cecil and David Walliams from the latter’s book. Starring Sheridan Smith, Walliams himself and newcomer Talia Barnett, it tells the story of young Zoe who, bullied at school, befriends ...
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    Sky scores high with Ratburger

    Sky One enjoyed its highest ratings ever among 5-14 year olds, and the highest overall for five years with the Christmas Eve treat Ratburger, adapted by Kevin Cecil and David Walliams from the latter’s book. Starring Sheridan Smith, Walliams himself and newcomer Talia Barnett, it tells the story of young Zoe who, bullied at school, befriends a dancing rat she names Armitage. However, the evil Burt (Walliams) has plans to turn Armitage into one of his revolting burgers and a series of disappearances adds to the mystery. Plans are in place for a digital release of the soundtrack soon.

    BASF

    Brings Power to the Dispossessed

    The problem with traditional utility poles for power and communication cables is that weight and rigidity makes them vulnerable to extreme winds and weather. German company BASF have developed an ultra-light pole of glass-fibre and polyurethane composite called Elastolit® which can withstand freak storms due to an ability to ‘bend with the wind’. Stuart Douglas’ stirring ad for Leagas Delaney London showcases the life-saving qualities of this innovative product and features music by Kevin.

    See commercials

    Kevin Scores World Cup Winning Goal in Tina and Bobby

    Tina and Bobby
    England’s original footballing jetset-couple Tina and Bobby Moore airs on Friday nights in January 2017 in ITV’s 3×60 primetime three-parter. It stars Michelle Keegan as Tina, Lorne McFadyen as Bobby. Directed by John McKay and produced by Spencer Campbell from a script by Lauren Klee.
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    Kevin Scores World Cup Winning Goal in Tina and Bobby

    Tina and Bobby

    England’s original footballing jetset-couple Tina and Bobby Moore airs on Friday nights in January 2017 in ITV’s 3×60 primetime three-parter. It stars Michelle Keegan as Tina, Lorne McFadyen as Bobby. Directed by John McKay and produced by Spencer Campbell from a script by Lauren Klee.

    Tina and Bobby