Martin Phipps

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Martin Phipps
Born (1968-08-01) 1 August 1968 (age 52)
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
  • Composer
  • Conductor
Parent(s)Jack Phipps

Martin Phipps (born 1 August 1968) is a British composer, who has worked on numerous film and television projects.

Life and career[edit]

Phipps is the son of Sue Pears and Jack Phipps, an arts administrator who had previously founded a management agency, which acted for many leading musical figures (including Benjamin Britten, Phipps's godfather).

Having read drama at Manchester University, Phipps enjoyed early critical success with Eureka Street, and went on to score the BBC period dramas North & South and The Virgin Queen, for which he was recognised with the Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score.

Phipps scored Low Winter Sun for Channel 4, starring Mark Strong and Brian McCardie and Persuasion, the most recent ITV adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, as well as Grow Your Own, a feature for Warp Films. He also scored the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, adapted by Andrew Davies. Phipps was then commissioned to score the BBC's Oliver Twist adaptation, for which he was recognised with the Ivor Novello Award 2008 for Best Television Soundtrack.

Phipps went on to score the Rowan Joffé-helmed drama, Hurndall for Talkback Thames followed by Wallander for Yellow Bird/Left Bank Pictures, starring Kenneth Branagh, for which he was recognised with the BAFTA Craft Award 2009 for Best Original TV Score. He then went on to write the music for the feature film, Endgame, starring William Hurt, Derek Jacobi, Mark Strong, Jonny Lee Miller and Chiwetel Ejiofor, chronicling the breakdown of S. African apartheid, directed by Pete Travis. It was entered into competition at the Sundance Film Festival. He also scored Small Island for Ruby Films/BBC, winning the BAFTA Craft Award 2010 for Best Original Television Music. More recently, he completed the score for his first feature film, Brighton Rock and composed the music for the newest BBC adaptation of Great Expectations.

In 2005, Phipps wrote the score to the film Pierrepoint. Other credits include The Wife of Bath from the BBC's contemporary adaptation of the Canterbury Tales, and the contemporary drama Dirty Filthy Love. He also scored the British feature film, The Flying Scotsman, and The Line of Beauty.

Phipps scored the UK thriller feature Harry Brown for Cutting Edge/Marv Films, starring Michael Caine, as well as Rowan Joffé's feature adaptation of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. Mike Diver described Phipps' score as "rich and sumptuous of tone and depth".[1] He co-wrote the score with Emily Barker for the BBC drama The Shadow Line. Autered by Hugo Blick for the BBC, it was described by one critic as "a maddening, stylish experiment in doing something completely, admirably different with television".[2] More recent credits include the first series of Peaky Blinders on BBC2 for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Craft Award and The Honourable Woman. His documentary work includes scoring the documentary Britain in a Day. More recently he composed the score of the film Woman in Gold in collaboration with Hans Zimmer.

Phipps composed the soundtrack for the 2016 miniseries War & Peace. Phipps said he "ended up coming onto the project early on", and that he was given room to "run with it... from the very beginning."[3] The soundtrack was released on 13 May 2016.[4] He also composed the theme to the same year's Victoria, as well as incidental music of the early episodes. The theme was sung by the Mediæval Bæbes.[5]



Year Title Director Notes
2005 Pierrepoint Adrian Shergold
2006 The Flying Scotsman Douglas Mackinnon
2007 Grow Your Own Richard Laxton
2009 Endgame Pete Travis
Harry Brown Daniel Barber Co-composed with Ruth Barrett, Pete Tong, Theo Green & Paul Rogers
2010 Brighton Rock Rowan Joffé
2014 X+Y Morgan Matthews
The Keeping Room Daniel Barber
2015 Woman in Gold Simon Curtis Co-composed with Hans Zimmer
2019 The Aftermath James Kent


Year Title Studio Notes
1996 The Adam and Joe Show Channel 4 Title music composer
1999 Eureka Street BBC Two TV Mini-series
2000 Shades ITV
2001 Bob & Rose
Nice Guy Eddie BBC One
2003 The Canterbury Tales
2004 New Tricks Composed for 6 episodes
North & South
2006 The Virgin Queen PBS
The Line of Beauty BBC HD
2007 Masterpiece PBS Episode: "The Ruby in the Smoke"
Oliver Twist BBC One TV Mini-series
2008 Sense and Sensibility
2008—2012 Wallander Co-composed with Vince Pope
2009 Whitechapel ITV
2011 The Shadow Line BBC Title music composed by Ruth Barrett
Great Expectations BBC One Co-composed with Natalie Holt
2011—2016 Black Mirror Channel 4
"The National Anthem"
"Hated in the Nation"
2013 Peaky Blinders BBC Two Composed Series 1
2014 The Honourable Woman
2016 War & Peace BBC One
Victoria ITV Title music composer
Main score by Ruth Barrett
2019 The Crown Netflix Title music composed by Hans Zimmer
Succeeded Rupert Gregson-Williams & Lorne Balfe


  1. ^ "Music – Review of Martin Phipps – Brighton Rock – Original Soundtrack Recording". BBC. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  2. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (9 June 2011). "Have you been watching … The Shadow Line?". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  3. ^ Niles, Jon (2 August 2016). "Martin Phipps, 'War & Peace' BBC Miniseries Score Composer, on Music for TV, Film & More [Q&A]". Music Times. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  4. ^ MARTIN PHIPPS – COMPOSER PROFILE, retrieved 18 May 2016
  5. ^ Dowell, Ben (25 September 2016). "What is the Victoria title music? Who wrote the theme? Who sings it? Was it played at her wedding to Albert?". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 September 2016.

External links[edit]