“Then of course, both of us realised neither of us had any experience of making drum 'n' bass tunes”: How Ros Atkins gave the BBC News theme a junglist re-rub at Glastonbury

Ros Atkins
(Image credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

That theme that you hear at the start of every news broadcast on BBC TV? It’s had a drum 'n’ bass remix, as premiered by BBC journalist Ros Atkins at Glastonbury over the weekend.

The tune was played during Atkins’ slot on the decks at the Stonebridge Bar on Saturday afternoon. The theme normally runs at a sedate 120bpm, but as remixed by Crissy Criss, the DJ and former presenter on Radio 1XTra, its tempo has been upped considerably, and as you can see went down a storm amongst the punters.

Atkins, who presents Outside Source on the BBC News Channel, has a murky past as a drum 'n' bass DJ back in his 20s. He was persuaded to rewind and play a one-off set on 6 Music a while back, and when that proved popular was booked by the Social in Soho, which led onto his set at the Stonebridge Bar, alongside slightly more illustrious names such as Erol Alkan, DJ Paulette and MJ Cole.

In preparation for the Social gig he also revealed on Twitter/X that one of his '90s heroes, drum n’ bass don Ray Keith had given him some refresher lessons: “For two hours, Ray ran me through everything from the kit, to mixing techniques, to tune selection. I soaked it all up, taking notes as we went along.”

BBC News Drum & Bass Remix - YouTube BBC News Drum & Bass Remix - YouTube
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He explained that, after working out what equipment he needed to practise at home, he and Keith had decided to play at The Social together. He added, “I think I just about hung it together - with Ray watching on! And everyone seemed to have a good time … I was up and running.”

Once his Glastonbury slot was confirmed, Atkins received a message on social media suggesting he remix the BBC theme, which led him to its original composer, David Lowe. Atkins told BBC 6 Music: “I messaged him a couple of days later, and I said ‘you can say no to this of course but would you be open to us looking at a remix of your theme’ and he just said straight away ‘yeah, that’s great.’”

But then of course, both of us realised neither of us had any experience of making drum 'n' bass tunes.” Atkins messaged Crissy Criss and before long the three were in a WhatsApp group plotting this radical interpretation.

The theme, which combines the classic news pips with drums and synth chords, is instantly recognisable, but has only been in existence for 25 years.

Lowe, incidentally, has a murky dance music past of his own, having been a member of Touch And Go, who older readers may remember for their cheeky 1998 Top Ten hit Would You.

Will Simpson
News and features writer

Will Simpson is a freelance music expert whose work has appeared in Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Guitarist and Total Guitar magazine. He is the author of 'Freedom Through Football: Inside Britain's Most Intrepid Sports Club' and his second book 'An American Cricket Odyssey' is due out in 2025

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