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Howard Goodall

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Howard Goodall (born 1958 in Bromley, South London) is a British composer, most notably of television themes, but also musical theatre, and has more recently turned television presenter. He has written popular themes for, among many others, the television comedy series Red Dwarf, Blackadder, Mr Bean, The Thin Blue Line, The Vicar of Dibley and QI. He was a Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford where he read Music in the 1970s. While there he met Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, and also participated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1977. In 1984 he collaborated with Melvin Bragg on the award-winning musical The Hired Man.

Although mostly known for TV themes, Goodall is undoubtedly a “proper” classical composer with a considerable body of new choral music to his name (the process of composing one of these works is noted in the book of his Big Bangs series). He also composed a piece for the commissioning recital of the rebuilt organ at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He undertook to collaborate in a musical because he famously “doesn’t like musicals” and saw an opportunity to create one that might be more to his liking.

To date he has presented six series of television programmes on musical history, filmed by Tiger Aspect and broadcast on Channel 4:

* Howard Goodall’s Organworks (1996) — history of organ music
* Howard Goodall’s Choirworks (1998) — history of choral music
* Howard Goodall’s Big Bangs (2000) — pivotal events in the history of music (also a book, published by Vintage in 2001, ISBN 0-09-928354-9)

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