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Robert Sharples (2 July 1913 – 8 September 1987) was a British musical conductor, composer and bandleader, whose work encompassed films and well-known British television programmes in the 1960s and 1970s.
Born in Bury, Lancashire, England, Sharples started his musical career in 1934, when he joined the Freddy Platt band at the Carlton Ballroom, Rochdale along with Geoff Love. Sharples played piano, and Love played trombone. In 1963, Sharples conducted the London Festival Orchestra, augmented with military band, in a London Records' Phase 4 Stereo recording of Tschaikovsky's 1812 Overture, backed with the same composer's Nutcracker Suite, showing his skill as a "light classics" conductor.
Among his compositions were the theme music for the long-running series Public Eye, Special Branch (both written under the pseudonym Robert Earley), The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, incidental music to Follyfoot, and the themes for the early 1970s Thames series, Man At The Top, and the 1975 BBC documentary series The Explorers. Under the pseudonym 'E. Ward' he also composed the theme music for the 1969 television series Fraud Squad. He is perhaps best known as the musical director on the UK talent show Opportunity Knocks, with host Hughie Green, who routinely referred to him as "Uncle Bob" Sharples.
- Where There's a Will (1955)
- Soho Incident (1956)
- The Strange World of Planet X (1958)
- Battle of the V-1 (1958)
- A Prize of Arms (1962)
- A Matter of Choice (1963)
- Futtocks End (1970)
- Find the Lady (1976)
- Obituary, The Guardian 9 September 1987 p 34
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