Who Wants to be a Millionaire? theme tune composer dies aged 50

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Matthew Strachan  (wikimediaCommons)
Matthew Strachan (wikimediaCommons)

The composer who co-wrote the theme music for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has died.

Matthew Strachan was aged just 50.

The composer wrote the popular quiz show’s theme tune, all the incidental sounds and jingles with his father Keith.

They wrote all 95 pieces of music for the show in just over a week just before the show was aired two decades ago.

The show has been broadcast in tens of countries around the world following the debut of the British version of the show on 4 September 1998.

Its theme tune has become one of the most recognisable jingles in the world.

Consequently, the pair won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ award for the most-broadcast piece of music on US TV for 10 years in a row.

Strachan also composed for The National Lottery and EastEnders.

Keith Strachan told the BBC: “Matthew was loved by his family and he will be sadly missed.

“He was a warm, funny and talented human being.”

Tributes were on Thursday paid to the composer.

Among the sea of comments, one twitter user wrote: “Very sad news today. I learnt that Matthew Strachan has died. He will forever be known as the composer (along with his dad!) of the groundbreaking WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE.”

Another wrote: “Rest in peace Matthew Strachan a truly great composer and a Master of his craft.”

Speaking to BBC Radio London in 2014, Strachan revealed how the theme tune was created.

He said: “A non-broadcast pilot had been made of the show and it was very unsuccessful, it just didn’t work.

“The executive producer of the show pulled into a lay-by one morning and called the entire creative team and said ‘we’re going to have to throw the entire thing out and start again from scratch because if we don’t ITV are just going to turn their back on this’”.

It was “eventually decided that there needed to be 95 pieces of music” to cover every eventuality, he explained.

He said: “We came up with the bright idea - which made a rod for our own backs - of putting up the music a semi-tone every time there was a new question, to sort of raise the stakes a bit - but that increased our workload... We were working 24 hours a day to get this thing done.”

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