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Soundtrack Review

Cover Image

Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Richard Harvey
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
SILCD1729 (CD), SILED1729 (download)
Release Date: 01 December 2023

Terrahawks marked a return to action for Gerry Anderson after a protracted period of inactivity. From the end of Space: 1999 in December 1976 to the start of 1983 he produced next to nothing – his career seemed over. Fortunately for his fans it was just an extended hiatus, which ended with a puppet production that echoed his earliest work.

Terrahawks blended humour with drama to mixed effect. For a man who’d pioneered big action on the small screen it all seemed a little tame; a welcome comeback but without many of the classic hallmarks. One of the biggest questions to answer, and certainly some of the biggest shoes to fill, was who’d write the music… and how would it be recorded?

The show’s budget was tight so a return to the full orchestration of past shows was out of the questions. The answer came in the form of Richard Harvey, a graduate of the Royal College of Music, and a bank of synthesizers. The result was mixed, partly due to the inclusion of some pretty dire songs, which were designed to launch a side-project featuring one of the puppet characters, Kate Kestrel. Her singing career didn’t take off for some fairly obvious reasons.

The first hurdle to overcome is a range of synth sounds that suggest a cut price Thomas Dolby was at the controls. Time has not been kind to the DX7 string pads and those drums that sound like seagulls with trapped wind… ouch! However, the actual compositions themselves are often pretty reasonable – songs aside – and once your ear gets attuned to the parping tones ‘80s synthesizers it’s actually quite a lot of fun. However, ‘Close Encounters of the Stew Kind’ is, frankly, unlistenable even with all the caveats in place.

The orchestral versions of some of Harvey’s material included on this disc, taken from the Stand By For Action concert and an arrangement played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, show us how good the opening titles could have sounded given the old Barry Gray treatment. They also reveal the Star Wars ‘borrows’ in explicit detail, which is a bit of fun.

Truth be told, I wasn’t fond of Terrahawks so this soundtrack – great though it doubtless is for fans of the series – does little for me, which makes scoring it difficult. I suspect people will either love it or leave it sitting on the shelf, largely ignored. I fall firmly into the latter camp but the show’s aficionados will doubtless be well pleased by a very carefully collated release.


Anthony Clark

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