News : 24th November 2001

The long rumoured Edwin Astley documentary finally gets a broadcast date. Trevor Ellis writes in to say that Astley’s Way is due for broadcast here in the UK next month. Trevor also adds details of what the programme will feature:

Jools Holland embarks on a voyage of discovery as he explores the life and work of composer Edwin Astley, who died in 1998 at the age of 76.

The programme features Pete Townshend, who was Astley’s son-in-law and for whom the composer wrote a number of pieces, Astley’s son Jon and Kate Moss, who appears throughout in a series of vignettes designed to show how music affects the way people react to a scene. Jools also plays some of the music that made Astley, at one time, Britain’s most-performed composer.

Although his is not a well-known name, Astley was the man behind the themes of the classic TV series Robin Hood, The Saint, Danger Man, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Department S, Civilisation and many, many more. He also worked on over 30 films, among them, The Mouse That Roared, The Phantom Of The Opera and Digby, The Biggest Dog In The World.

Born in 1922, Astley served as a young man in the Royal Army Service Corps and, while posted in Italy and Germany during the Second World War, he performed for the troops. He played saxophone and clarinet with Percy Pease Band and, during this time, wrote the hit song I Never Could Tell for Dame Vera Lynn and Richard Tauber.

The musician later formed his own band, The Ted Astley Orchestra, performing mainly in the north of England, before moving to London, where he began writing songs for the likes of Dame Vera Lynn and Ann Shelton.

Astley’s Way will be broadcast on BBC2 on Friday 7th December at 11.35pm. Thanks to Trevor for the details.