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During the 1940s and 1950s, he was voted best drummer in the Melody Maker poll for seven years in succession. He composed many television themes, including The Golden Shot, Family Fortunes and Love Story (for which he won the Harriet Cohen Award). He was also the musical director for The Benny Hill Show.
He was appointed musical director for ATV in 1956, a post he held until 1981, and served as the 'real' conductor for The Muppet Show orchestra for the entire series and even composed the bombastic brass score theme to ITC Entertainment.
He was jailed for three months for a drink-driving accident in 1979, hitting a motorcyclist who lost a leg. After this he moved from Surrey in disgrace and shortly after his wife divorced him.
- "Jack Parnell – master of many trades" article by Louis Barfe at Sounds On.
- The Jack Parnell Orchestra big band line-ups from 1951 to 1958 at jazzprofessional.com.