Every so often, the BBC put on some excellent TV drama series. Recent examples that will be familiar to UK readers include, ‘Happy Valley’, and ‘The Line of Duty.’ Soon to come, is another outing for the excellent ‘Peaky Blinders’ too. In 2010, we got another show, about yet another world-weary police detective, with a problematic life. It could have been more of the same tired old formula, but it wasn’t. It was simply wonderful.
‘Luther’ starred Idris Elba in the title role of John Luther. Set in London, filmed on location, and with a different feel, adding a darkness and sinister atmosphere that pervaded every episode. The excellent cast managed to bring off some unlikely story-lines, and the short length of each episode left you wanting more. But this is not a review of the TV show, it is about the theme tune. Yes, a TV show theme tune, something that might hardly warrant a blog post, but read on.
Massive Attack has featured before on this blog, for their anthem song, ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, released in 1991. Three men from Bristol, utilising DJ skills and street music, brought all of that to a new level, with haunting songs featuring guest vocalists. They went on to win numerous awards, and sell millions of records. In 2010, they released the album ‘Heliogland’, containing this track, and the BBC snapped it up, as perfect for use as the theme song for their new dark drama. Californian singer Hope Sandoval features on the jazzy, husky vocal, which added to the repetitive beats and minimal production, seems to get right inside my head, and almost put me in a trance.
Rarely has a theme song suited a TV show (or film) so well. See what you think; but play it loud, and stick it out to the end.
This is how it comes over on TV.