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Alan Hawkshaw: Composer who created theme tunes to some of UK’s best-known shows dies aged 84

Alan Hawkshaw: Composer who created theme tunes to some of UK’s best-known shows dies aged 84

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The man behind the theme songs for TV shows Grange Hill and Countdown has died at the age of 84.

Alan Hawkshaw was admitted to hospital with pneumonia last week and died in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He also had a fourth stroke in July.

DNA Music Ltd called Hawkshaw “one of the most sampled musicians in the world”.

In a statement, the talent agency added: “Alan was behind such incredible theme tunes as Grange Hill, Channel 4 News, Countdown, Dave Allen at Large, and Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World to name but a few.

“He played on a staggering 7,000 prominent recording artist music sessions… including Olivia Newton-John, Serge Gainsbourg, Tom Jones, Barbra Streisand (and) David Bowie.

“We can guarantee for those who do not know Alan’s name, you will know his incomparable music.”

Hawkshaw’s wife of 53 years, Christiane, said they were “always close but gave each other space”.

She added: “We spent the last few hours gazing at each other with love, holding hands, no need for words.

“I told him he and I were forever, and even though he and I had been unable to speak for the past two months, he managed a few ‘forevers’ and I knew he was at peace.

“When you love someone that much, you have to let them go.”

Leeds-born Hawkshaw joined the band Emile Ford & The Checkmates in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he worked as Newton-John’s musical director and arranger/pianist.

His arrangement of the song I Honestly Love You received an Academy Award.

In 2004, he set up The Alan Hawkshaw Foundation, offering financial support to students at Leeds Conservatoire, and the National Film & Television School.

Hawkshaw received a British Empire Medal for service to the music industry earlier this year.

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