Keith Strachan

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Keith Strachan
Born (1944-01-21) 21 January 1944 (age 75)[1]
OriginConsett, County Durham[1]

Keith Strachan (born 21 January 1944 in Consett, County Durham) is an English composer and theatre director. He co-wrote the song "Mistletoe and Wine", which got Cliff Richard the 1988 Christmas number one. His TV work includes the theme music for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Strachan attended Blaydon Grammar School and after reading maths and science at Queen Elizabeth College, London University he became a maths teacher.[1] He left teaching and became a musical director of theatre productions in London. In 1976 he co-wrote his first musical, Shoot Up at Elbow Creek. He also wrote The Little Match Girl, based on Hans Christian Andersen's short story, for the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, which contained the song "Mistletoe and Wine."[1] HTV produced the play for television in 1986.[2] Two years later, he received an Ivor Novello award for the song, which Cliff Richard released it as a single.[1]

Throughout the eighties and nineties he directed a series of pop and rock compilation musicals for Bill Kenwright.[1]

In 1998, television production company Celador, for whom he had written the themes for The Detectives and Talking Telephone Numbers, called upon him to supply some music at short notice for a quiz show called Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. They needed someone to rearrange the pop song that Pete Waterman had written for it.[3] Celador's brief required "something dramatic and full of tension", so Strachan set upon composing a new piece altogether. Working with his son Matthew, he took inspiration from a dissonant chord in Holst’s The Planets suite.[1] The show's huge domestic and international success means that the composition has made them millionaires.[1] In 2002, Keith and Matthew Strachan were given an award by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) for the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? theme.[1]

He also created the West End hit Dancing in the Streets.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nick Smurthwaite (21 March 2005). "Million pound notes - Keith Strachan". The Stage. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  2. ^ "The LITTLE MATCHGIRL". BFI. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b "INTERVIEW: West End director Keith Strachan takes Dancing In The Streets on tour". This is London. 20 October 2009. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2010.

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