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David Arnold

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David Arnold
Arnold at the BMI Awards in May 2011
Arnold at the BMI Awards in May 2011
Background information
Born (1962-01-23) 23 January 1962 (age 62)
Luton, England
GenresFilm score
Instrument(s)Clarinet, guitar, piano
Years active1993–present

David Arnold (born 23 January 1962) is an English film composer whose credits include scoring five James Bond films, as well as Stargate (1994), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998) and the television series Little Britain and Sherlock. For Independence Day, he received a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television, and for Sherlock, he and co-composer Michael Price won a Creative Arts Emmy[1] for the score of "His Last Vow", the final episode in the third series. Arnold scored the BBC / Amazon Prime series Good Omens (2019) adapted by Neil Gaiman from his book Good Omens, written with Terry Pratchett.[2] Arnold is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.


While attending a Sixth Form College in Luton, Arnold became friends with director Danny Cannon.[3] Cannon initially created short films for which Arnold was asked to write the music. The two made their respective major film debuts with The Young Americans. "Play Dead", a song from the film with singer Björk, charted No. 12 in the UK. The following year he scored Stargate and Last of the Dogmen, with excerpts from the former ranking third in the most commonly used soundtrack cues for film trailers.[4]

Arnold then composed music for Stargate director Roland Emmerich's next two movies, Independence Day and Godzilla, as well as four movies for director John Singleton. In addition, he has scored various comedies, dramas, and nineteenth-century period pieces, as well as providing music for several British television shows including the 2000 remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Little Britain. During film production, his compositions are conducted by Nicholas Dodd. In 2010, he composed the music for Come Fly With Me, a British television series from the producers of Little Britain.

He is a member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA).[5] On Thursday 29 November 2012, Arnold received an honorary degree from University of West London.[6] Now a university honorary, he will work closely with the University in particular London College of Music, a faculty within the institute. In 2014, he appeared as himself in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern.

Film music concerts[edit]

Arnold performed his debut orchestral concert, showcasing his film and television music, on Sunday 6 July 2014 at London's Royal Festival Hall.[7] The line-up featured Nicholas Dodd conducting, David McAlmont as surprise guest vocalist ("My secret weapon!" said Arnold) and the Urban Voices Collective choir, plus Mark Gatiss and Amanda Abbington introducing the suite of Sherlock music, for which Arnold's collaborator on the project, Michael Price, replaced Dodd.[8]

He performed his music in a series of orchestral concerts in 2015: Dublin[9]) in January (with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra); Manchester[10] (with the Manchester Camerata) in April; and London[11] (with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), Birmingham[12] and Nottingham[13] (with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO)) in June 2015. He was also the special guest at 'The music of David Arnold[14]', a concert in Lucerne in October 2015, with Ludwig Wicki conducting the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. On 5 June 2016 Film Music Prague performed a concert of his work, with Arnold in attendance (and performing) as special guest.[15] In February 2016 the Royal Albert Hall announced[16] the premiere of Independence Day Live on 22 September 2016. This celebrated the 20th anniversary of the film's release with a live orchestral performance. David Arnold gave a pre-show talk about his work and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and Maida Vale Singers (conducted by Gavin Greenaway) performed the original music while the film screened. The Upcoming magazine gave the event a five star review noting that "with unrivalled acoustics and a ceiling filled with floating UFO-shaped objects, the Hall set the ideal scene for the audience and the musicians alike" and that the production "kept the audience on the edge of their seats as if the film had just been released for the first time."[17]

Arnold hosted another two concerts of his music in Dublin, at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on 19 and 20 May 2017, with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. The first concert showcased his career in writing music for film and television,[18] the second was Independence Day Live with the film screened as the orchestra played the score alongside.[19] The first James Bond film ever to be screened with a live orchestra was Casino Royale in Concert which took place at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 30 September 2017; David Arnold held a pre-concert question and answer session.[20]

James Bond[edit]

Arnold at the Royal Albert Hall in London in October 2022 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He curated The Sound of 007 in Concert, marking 60 years of the Bond film series.

Arnold was a Bond fan from an early age and also a fan of Bond composer John Barry. In 1997, Arnold produced Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, an album featuring new versions of the themes from various James Bond films. The album featured a variety of contemporary artists including Jarvis Cocker, Chrissie Hynde, David McAlmont, Propellerheads and Iggy Pop; a version of You Only Live Twice by Björk was recorded but not included on the album. John Barry, the composer of many of the themes on the album, was complimentary about Arnold's interpretation of his work; "He was very faithful to the melodic and harmonic content, but he's added a whole other rhythmic freshness and some interesting casting in terms of the artists chosen to do the songs. I think it's a terrific album. I'm very flattered."[21] Barry contacted Barbara Broccoli, producer of the then-upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies, to recommend Arnold as the film's composer.[22] Arnold was hired to score the instalment and, returning the compliment to the man he refers to as "The guvnor",[23] included musical references to Barry's score for From Russia with Love, as well as, of course, the James Bond Theme composed by Monty Norman with Barry's arrangement.

Arnold scored the four subsequent Bond films: The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day (in which he included references to John Barry's score for On Her Majesty's Secret Service), Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.[24] Arnold did not score the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, with Thomas Newman taking his place.[25] Arnold commented that Newman had been selected by the film's director, Sam Mendes, because of their history of working together, rather than because of Arnold's commitment to working with director Danny Boyle as composer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. However, a part of Arnold's composition work on Casino Royale was reused, with a credit, in Skyfall and again in SPECTRE.

Arnold also co-wrote the main theme songs for The World Is Not Enough ("The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage) and Casino Royale ("You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell), as well as "Surrender" by k.d. lang which appears during the end credits of Tomorrow Never Dies having been originally proposed as the opening theme. Arnold also contributed the main themes to Kevin Kiner's score for Activision's GoldenEye 007, the remake of the 1997 game of the same name.

In 2017, a part of a track entitled "Vesper" from Arnold's composition work on the Casino Royale soundtrack was reused in a Sherlock episode entitled "The Final Problem", the third episode of the fourth series, in a track entitled "Pick Up" composed by Arnold himself[26][non-primary source needed] and Michael Price.

Other work[edit]

Arnold has collaborated with such musical acts as Cast, Kaiser Chiefs, Massive Attack, and Pulp, and solo artists Natasha Bedingfield, Melanie C, Björk, Chris Cornell, Shirley Manson, Mark Morriss, Nina Persson and in 2009 produced Shirley Bassey's album The Performance.

In 2001, he provided a new arrangement of Ron Grainer's Doctor Who theme music for the Eighth Doctor audio dramas from Big Finish Productions. His version was used as the Eighth Doctor theme starting with 2001's Storm Warning until 2008, when it was replaced with a new version arranged by Nicholas Briggs starting with Dead London. Arnold's theme returned to the Eighth Doctor releases with the 2012 box set, Dark Eyes.

Arnold is the second cousin of Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, and is an ambassador for aid agency CARE International in the UK. He has made minor appearances in two different episodes of Little Britain as separate characters.

In February 2011, it was announced that he had been appointed Musical Director for the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.[27]

In May 2011, he was part of the United Kingdom's jury for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011.[28]

Arnold took part in a tribute to John Barry on 20 June 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, singing a song that was composed by Barry and playing the guitar part of the James Bond theme.[29]

In 2014, Arnold teamed up with Richard Thomas, to write the music and lyrics for the new West End musical Made in Dagenham.[30]

In October 2015 he collaborated with Lethal Bizzle and Sinead Harnett to create a song combining orchestral, grime and soul elements. The song, 'Come This Far', was performed live[31] at a special event at One Mayfair, as part of Bulmers Cider's LiveColourful LIVE promotion, and made available as a free download from Bulmers' website. He and Sherlock co-composer Michael Price also composed the music for ITV's Jekyll and Hyde television series which premiered in October 2015.[32]

In September 2016 the Royal Albert Hall hosted an orchestral performance of Independence Day with the score performed live to picture, David Arnold gave a pre-show talk.[33]

In 2019, David Arnold provided additional production for Sophie Ellis-Bextor's orchestral album, The Song Diaries. Later in 2020, he co-produced an orchestral cover of 'My Favourite Things' (from The Sound of Music) along with Richard Jones (of The Feeling) for Sophie's 2020 compilation album Songs From The Kitchen Disco.

In July 2023, it was announced that Arnold and Ellis-Bextor would collaborate with lyricist Don Black for the track to Channel 4 and Universal Pictures film, "Mog's Christmas", based upon the children's book series by Judith Kerr. The track, titled "As Long As I Belong", is about "the importance of belonging". The film is slated for a Q4 2023 release.[34]

Acting filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Young Americans Wedding Band Also composed the score
2000 The League of Gentlemen Victorian Gentleman with Fox TV series (1 episode: "The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special")
2003 Little Britain Minicab Controller / Politician TV series (2 episodes)



Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
1993 The Young Americans Danny Cannon PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Working Title Films
1994 Stargate Roland Emmerich Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Centropolis Film Productions
Carolco Pictures
1995 Last of the Dogmen Tab Murphy Savoy Pictures
(North America)
Carolco Pictures
1996 Independence Day Roland Emmerich 20th Century Fox
Centropolis Entertainment
1997 A Life Less Ordinary Danny Boyle 20th Century Fox
(United States)
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Channel Four Films
Tomorrow Never Dies Roger Spottiswoode Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Eon Productions
1998 Godzilla Roland Emmerich TriStar Pictures
Centropolis Entertainment
1999 Wing Commander Chris Roberts 20th Century Fox
Digital Anvil
Main theme only
Composed with Kevin Kiner
The World Is Not Enough Michael Apted Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Eon Productions
2000 Shaft John Singleton Paramount Pictures
Scott Rudin Productions
2001 Baby Boy John Singleton Columbia Pictures
The Musketeer Peter Hyams Universal Pictures
Miramax Films
MDP Worldwide
Crystal Sky Worldwide
Zoolander Ben Stiller Paramount Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures

VH1 Films
NPV Entertainment
Scott Rudin Productions
2002 Changing Lanes Roger Michell Paramount Pictures
Hollywood Ending Woody Allen DreamWorks Pictures
Enough Michael Apted Columbia Pictures
Die Another Day Lee Tamahori Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Eon Productions
2003 2 Fast 2 Furious John Singleton Universal Pictures
Original Film
2004 The Stepford Wives Frank Oz Paramount Pictures
(United States)
DreamWorks Pictures
2005 Four Brothers John Singleton Paramount Pictures
Di Bonaventura Pictures
Stoned Stephen Woolley Screen Media Films
2006 Amazing Grace Michael Apted Momentum Pictures
(United Kingdom)
Samuel Goldwyn Films
(United States)
Casino Royale Martin Campbell Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Columbia Pictures
Eon Productions
2007 Hot Fuzz Edgar Wright Rogue Pictures
(United States)
Universal Pictures
Working Title Films
Big Talk Productions
Don't Edgar Wright Dimension Films
Vivendi Entertainment
Troublemaker Studios
The Weinstein Company
Fake trailer segment from Grindhouse
2008 Agent Crush Sean Robinson Fantastic Films International
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People Robert B. Weide Paramount Pictures
(United Kingdom)
(United States)
Quantum of Solace Marc Forster Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Columbia Pictures
Eon Productions
2010 Made in Dagenham Nigel Cole Paramount Pictures
BBC Films
HanWay Films
Morning Glory Roger Michell Paramount Pictures
Bad Robot
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Michael Apted 20th Century Fox
Walden Media
Contains themes composed by Harry Gregson-Williams
2011 Paul Greg Mottola Universal Pictures
Relativity Media
Working Title Films
Big Talk Pictures
Unwatchable Marc Hawker Short film
2012 The Book of Fire Mike Christie As part of the 2012 Summer Paralympics closing ceremony
Short film
Mr Stink Declan Lowney Television film
2022 Confess, Fletch Greg Mottola Miramax


Year Title Studio(s) Notes
1997 The Visitor Centropolis Television
20th Century Fox Television
Main theme on pilot episode only
Rest of score composed by Kevin Kiner
2000–2001 Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) Working Title Films Main theme only (composed with Tim Simenon).
Single release by David Arnold and Nina Persson reached No. 48 (UK).
2001–2002 UC: Undercover 20th Century Fox Television Main theme only
Composed with Kevin Kiner
2003 Bloodlines: The Dracula Family Tree Documentary
2003–2006 Little Britain BBC
2008 Little Britain USA 19 Entertainment
Reveille Productions
HBO Original Programming
3 episodes
Crooked House Tiger Aspect Productions TV miniseries
2009 Free Agents Big Talk Productions
Bwark Productions
2010–2017 Sherlock Hartswood Films
BBC Wales
Composed with Michael Price
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score) (2014)
British Academy Television Award for Best Original Television Music
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score) (2010, 2011)
2010–2011 Come Fly with Me BBC
Little Britain Productions
2012 The Matt Lucas Awards John Stanley Productions
2019 Good Omens Amazon Studios
BBC Studios
TV miniseries
The Tiger Who Came To Tea Channel 4 Animation narrated by David Walliams, score by David Arnold, song 'Hey Tiger' co-written with Don Black and sung by Robbie Williams
2020 Dracula
2023 Mog's Christmas Channel 4 Animation starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy, score by David Arnold and the theme song “As Long as I Belong” is composed by David Arnold with lyrics by Don Black and performed by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Video games[edit]

Year Title Developer Publisher Notes
2010 GoldenEye 007 Eurocom
(Wii/PS3/Xbox 360)
Re-arranged the main title song only
The soundtrack is composed by Kevin Kiner
2012 007 Legends Eurocom Wrote and composed the main title theme tune only
The soundtrack is composed by Kevin Kiner

Web series[edit]

Year Title Studio(s) Notes
2010–2011 Stiller & Meara Red Hour Digital

Singles in charts[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album / Film

1993 "Play Dead" (with Björk) 12 18 11 33 41 7 10 The Young Americans
1997 "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (with Propellerheads) 7 Shaken & Stirred
"Diamonds Are Forever" (with David McAlmont) 39
1999 "One Brief Moment" (with Natacha Atlas) 125 Gedida
2000 "Theme From Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)" (with Nina Persson) 49 Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)
2012 "Wish You Were Here" (with Ed Sheeran, Richard Jones, Nick Mason & Mike Rutherford) 34 59 A Symphony of British Music
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.



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  4. ^ "Top 100 Frequently Used Cues". soundtrack.net. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  5. ^ Founder of UBR (18 May 2009). "British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors". The Unsigned band review. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  6. ^ "The University of West London honours high-profile figures at 2012 Graduation Ceremony | University of West London". www.uwl.ac.uk. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  7. ^ "David Arnold: Live in Concert – Southbank Centre". Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
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  9. ^ "RTÉ Concert Orchestra Signature Series: David Arnold". National Concert Hall, Dublin. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
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  11. ^ "David Arnold: Live in Concert (Barbican)". Barbican Centre. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  12. ^ "David Arnold Live in Concert". Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  13. ^ "David Arnold Live in Concert – TRCH". Theatre Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  14. ^ "The Music of David Arnold". Art Productions. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  15. ^ "David Arnold – Live in Concert: Prague, 5 June 2016". 25 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  16. ^ Burin, Rick (8 February 2016). "David Arnold, aliens and a full orchestra invade the Royal Albert Hall". Royal Albert Hall. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  17. ^ Keepence, Michelle (23 September 2016). "Independence Day Live at the Royal Albert Hall". The Upcoming. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  18. ^ "RTÉ Concert Orchestra Signature Series: David Arnold". Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  19. ^ "RTÉ Concert Orchestra Presents Independence Day". Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Royal Albert Hall presents Casino Royale in Concert World Premiere". Royal Albert Hall. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  21. ^ Burlingame, Jon (18 December 1997). "Bonding with the Score: David Arnold blends the traditional with the modern in music for 'Tomorrow Never Dies'". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ Macnee, Patrick (Narrator). The Bond Sound: The Music of 007 (DVD (Documentary)).
  23. ^ Hocknell, Tom (11 May 2011). "Posthumous award for John Barry". Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  24. ^ "David Arnold Back For 'Bond 22'". commanderbond.net. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  25. ^ MI6-HQ Copyright 2011 (20 October 1955). "James Bond News :: MI6 :: Exclusive: Thomas Newman to compose 'Skyfall' score". Mi6-hq.com. Retrieved 22 April 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ "MsQuarmby on Twitter". Retrieved 11 May 2017 – via Twitter.
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  28. ^ "UK Reveals Names Of Its Jury". Retrieved 16 August 2012.
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  30. ^ "Gemma Arterton strikes out for Made in Dagenham musical in the West End". The Guardian. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  31. ^ Carter, Brea (14 October 2015). "Bulmers combines grime, soul and orchestal music for #Live Colourful Live". Event Magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  32. ^ "Michael Price Co-Scoring ITV's 'Jekyll & Hyde'". Film Music Reporter. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  33. ^ "Independence Day live at the Royal Albert Hall!". Sci-Fi Bulletin. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  34. ^ "Sophie Ellis-Bextor teams up with 007 theme writing team for Christmas ballad about 'importance of belonging'". Floyd County Chronicle. 24 July 2023. Retrieved 24 October 2023.
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External links[edit]