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Marissa Cetin
14 May 2024, 15:45

Watch BBC News theme composer demonstrate how he made it, 25 years on

David Lowe talks through his approach to producing the beloved, enduring theme tune that's gone viral decades after its debut

Watch BBC News theme composer demonstrate how he made it, 25 years on
Credit: BBC News

Composer David Lowe describes his approach producing the beloved BBC News theme tune 25 years after its debut in a new video. Watch it below.

The English musician – also part of '90s group Touch and Go, best known for their tune 'Would You...?' – shared a clip on Instagram talking through the progression of the introductory theme spliced onto a screen recording of his DAW.

He describes building up the theme from the classic news "pip", or beep, adding a bassline with a "sense of strength and solidarity and depth" and a heavy drum to be a "big sound for the headlines". When the synth chords kick in, he says he starts them in a minor key, "going into major", to bring "a sense of anxiety going into calmness". 

The BBC News theme has inspired viral videos in recent years. One popular clip from the early UK pandemic lockdown in March 2020 by kitchen raver Rachel Leary, spurred a BBC News interview with the creator and Lowe. "The idea was that the pips on the radio, when you hear the beeps, you instantly know you're listening to the radio and it's time for the news", Lowe said in that interview. "I was thinking to myself I could do the pips with the dance beat because it's all about time and accuracy." 

See David Lowe's video breaking down the BBC News theme in full below.