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Ron Grainer (11 August 1922 — 21 February 1981) was an Australian-born composer who worked for most of his professional career in the United Kingdommarker. He is mostly remembered for his film and television music.


Grainer was born in Atherton, Queenslandmarker, Australia. He studied music under Sir Eugene Goosens at the Sydney Conservatorium of Musicmarker, but this was interrupted by World War II. He was enlisted to the Australian Army and was injured, almost losing a leg.

In Britain from the 1950s, Grainer collaborated with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop on a number of television series themes, including Giants of Steam (a documentary about railways) and, most famously, in 1963 on the science fiction series Doctor Who. Grainer was so impressed with Delia Derbyshire's electronic realisation of his score (which remained the standard version of the Doctor Who theme for 18 years) that he is reputed to have said on hearing it, "Did I really write that?". He also offered to split his royalty with her, but this was prevented by BBC bureaucracy.

Grainer composed the music for a number of ITC series, including Man in a Suitcase and The Prisoner, the latter based upon an earlier piece of music he had written entitled The Age of Elegance.

Perhaps one of his most eclectic film works was the music to The Omega Man, based upon the book I Am Legend by Richard Matheson and starring Charlton Heston. The soundtrack was not released on CD until 2002 in a limited run of 3000 copies through FilmScoreMonthly. Copies appear on eBay from time to time, but it is now considered a rarity. It was remastered and given a general release in 2008. The music contains a mix of symphonic, jazz, avant garde and electronic music. However, it has been noted that the theme music and incidental music seemed remarkably similar to that of "The Prisoner", but with alternate notes removed.A compilation LP album, The Exciting Television Music of Ron Grainer, appeared in 1980. In 1994, a CD comprising of 30 TV and film themes composed by Grainer, The A To Z Of British TV Themes - The Ron Grainer Years, was released by Play It Again.

One of Grainer's later themes, Tales of the Unexpected, was also to become famous. The light, slightly mocking theme became a hallmark of the series.

Grainer was married twice, first to Margot (one stepdaughter) and later to Jennifer (one son), who he divorced in 1976. Grainer died from spinal cancer in Cuckfield, Sussexmarker, Englandmarker aged 58. His second wife was at his side.

Notable television credits

Notable film credits

Stage credits


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