This just in: The BBC News theme is a certified electronic banger, and to celebrate its 25th anniversary, composer David Lowe is showing you how he created it

The BBC has a reputation for being staid, stuffy and just a little bit buttoned-up, which makes it all the more remarkable that its news theme is a piece of thunderous electronica that sounds better suited to a sweaty Berlin club than the House Of Commons press gallery.

With the UK heading to the polls on 5 July for a General Election, many of us are going to be hearing it a lot over the next few weeks, and in a snappy track breakdown video, composer David Lowe has celebrated the theme’s 25th anniversary by explaining exactly how he made it.

The track started with the ‘pips’, which are often heard on the hour on BBC Radio, to emphasise “accuracy and reliability” as they tick away every second. Next, the dark chugging bassline, which “gives a sense of strength and solidity and depth”.

This is followed by a heavy kick and light, offbeat hi-hat, before a cavernous drum hit arrives to denote every headline that the newsreader announces. 

The chords, says Lowe, were “tricky” - they needed to be neutral - but the shift from minor to major does a good job of dialling up the tension and then providing some kind of reassurance. A few bits of ear candy on the top and a final flourish of drum hits and it’s job done.

Of course, it’s not exactly ‘news’ that this theme is a banger - back in 2016, BBC News invited Corville Cuffy into its studio after footage of him dancing to it in Leicester Square had gone viral.

And there was also this extended ‘Drumathon’ version from 2021.

All of which is arguably more entertaining than the month-and-a-half of political campaigning we’ve got to look forward to - unless one of the two main party leaders decides to make a pitch to younger voters by producing their own remix, of course.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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