|Birth name||Ronald Erle Grainer|
11 August 1922|
Atherton, Queensland, Australia
|Died||21 February 1981
Cuckfield, Sussex, England
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Ronald Erle “Ron” Grainer (11 August 1922 – 21 February 1981) was an Australian composer who worked for most of his professional career in the United Kingdom. He is mostly remembered for his film and television music.
Grainer was born in Atherton, Queensland, Australia. He attended high school at St. Joseph's Nudgee College on Brisbane's Northside and then went on to study music under Sir Eugene Goosens at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, but this was interrupted by World War II. He was enlisted to the Australian Army and was injured, almost losing a leg.
Moving to Britain in the 1950s, Grainer collaborated with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop on a number of television series themes, including Giants of Steam (a documentary about railways) and in 1963 the science fiction series Doctor Who. Grainer was so impressed with Delia Derbyshire's electronic realisation of his score (which remained the standard version of the Doctor Who theme for 18 years) that he is reported to have said on hearing it, "Did I really write that?" - to which Derbyshire responded "well, mostly!" He also offered co-composer credit to her, but this was prevented by BBC bureaucracy. Grainer composed music for several ITC productions, such as The Prisoner.
Among his most eclectic film works was the music to The Omega Man, based upon the book I Am Legend by Richard Matheson and starring Charlton Heston. The soundtrack was not released on CD until 2002 in a limited run of 3,000 copies. It was remastered and given a general release in 2008, the original occasionally changing hands as a rarity. The music contains a mix of symphonic, jazz, avant garde and electronic music. Grainer's work on The Prisoner may have led to his being hired to score the film. It has been noted that the theme music and incidental music seemed remarkably similar to those of The Prisoner, with alternative notes removed, and the film itself contains visual elements that could be references to, or homage to, The Prisoner. One of Grainer's later themes was for Tales of the Unexpected.
Grainer was married twice, first to Margot (one stepdaughter: Rel) and later to Jennifer (1966–76; one son: Damian), whom he divorced in 1976. Grainer died from spinal cancer in Cuckfield, Sussex, England, aged 58. His second ex-wife was at his side.
A compilation LP album, The Exciting Television Music of Ron Grainer, appeared in 1980. In 1994, a CD comprising 30 TV and film themes composed by Grainer, The A To Z Of British TV Themes - The Ron Grainer Years, was released by the Play It Again label.
Notable television credits 
- Danger Man
- Doctor Who
- Steptoe and Son
- Tales of the Unexpected
- The Prisoner
- That Was The Week That Was
- Paul Temple
- Man in a Suitcase (also used on TFI Friday)
Notable film credits 
- A Kind of Loving (1962)
- The Mouse on the Moon (1963)
- The Home Made Car (1963)
- Night Must Fall (1964)
- To Sir, with Love (1967)
- Only When I Larf (1968)
- The Assassination Bureau (1969)
- Hoffman (1970)
- The Omega Man (1971)
- Mutiny on the Buses (1972)
- I Don't Want to Be Born (1975)
- One Away (1976)
Stage credits