TV Cream has been lucky to come into possession of an exceedingly rare sound archive: nothing less than composer Simon May’s demo tapes.
It’s a heady brew. An early version of the EastEnders theme with Eddy Grant performing a rap and no sign of the usual tune; a techno remix of Eldorado; and a version of Castaway 2000 featuring jungle drums and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
But of particular note is Simon’s demo for Howard’s Way. It seems his original intention was to create a more chirpy, swingbeat-meets-hornpipe concoction, with dialogue from each episode reprised within the music.
Most surprising of all, though, is the presence of lyrics. Yup, it turns out Simes originally envisaged a singalong chorus to take pride of place at the climax of the theme. Why this never made the final version is a mystery – equally so its later substitution with Marti Webb’s dirge to love’s permanence, Always There.
Anyway, it’s a privilege to be able to bring you this rare glimpse behind closed studio doors.