Save the Radio 4 Theme

NEW on the CD-Release

Pre-order your copy at HMV now

The theme was re-recorded by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under the direction of Gavin Sutherland on Friday 17th February.

A feature on the recording was on Newsnight on Monday 20th February.

Accompanying the UK Theme will be the ever-popular "Sailing By". Proceeds from the CD single release will go to the Light Music Society.

If you would like more information about this, please send a blank email by clicking here - we'll send you updates on release dates etc. You will receive an email reply back inviting you to confirm, simply follow the instructions in the email.

Details of the Light Music Society

More about the Ernest Tomlinson and the Light Music Society

Details of Ernest Tomlinson on Brian Kay's "Light Programme" on Radio 3 last year

Radio Times article on the re-recording of the UK Theme

Media Guardian on the single release

Read an article in The Times on the announcement

"But we leave you with the sad news ... the BBC UK theme played on Radio 4 is to be scrapped. It's been good enough for the past 33 years, but if you tune in, as they say in radioland, at half past five in the morning you will hear instead what's been described as a 'pacy news briefing' so enjoy it while you can. We've no idea what the head of Radio 4's playing at - we're thinking of using it every night. Goodnight."

- Jeremy Paxman, Newsnight 23rd January 2006

The Radio 4 "UK Theme" at 5.30am is a collection of UK folk songs, carefully interwoven to produce a great piece of music with which to start the day.
It has been around for 33 years, and was created by Fritz Spiegl, an Austrian who came to the UK in 1939.

The controller of Radio 4 wishes to get rid of the UK Theme so Radio 4 can broadcast some extra news in this slot.
We believe that the UK theme is something that makes Radio 4 the one of the greatest radio stations in the world, and for that reason it should be saved.

Please sign the petition - more stuff will appear as and when I find it...


The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are going to be including the "UK Theme" as part of their summer season of Fireworks Proms concerts. For details of concert dates and venues please visit the BSO website.

Asda are "... going to be playing the UK theme at 10am every morning on ASDA FM, our in-store radio, so that our customers will be treated to this rousing musical medley as they do their weekly shop."

Feedback, Radio 4: Mark Damazer was on Feedback on Radio 4 Friday 27th- click here for details and how to contact them)

News & Comment links:

31st Jan

Express and Star piece about the Theme and this website

28/29th Jan

Independent on Sunday story - and an interview with Mark Damazer where, according to the Independent, "Seasoned listeners to the statements of BBC top executives have recognised in Mr Damazer's words the beginnings of, if not the actual tones of, a retreat."

Greg Dyke in the Independent on Sunday

27th Jan

Times story - release the UK Theme as a single? (I've had a few people suggest this now...)

26th Jan

Link to Early Day Motion by Austin Mitchell

Link to Early Day Motion by John Spellar

Link to Early Day Motion by Philip Davies

Guardian story on MP questions

Telegraph story on PMQs

Independent piece on the stories behind the tunes

Today - piece on Gordon Brown and David Blunkett's support (Real Audio file)

Daily Mail article (in which I'm described as a "furious listener"...)

25th Jan

Austin Mitchell MP - details of his plans to table an Early Day Motion in the House today -

The Times response from Mark Thompson DG of BBC - "People ... will be able to download the Spiegl medley from our website and programme their digital radios to play it whenever they like."

Daily Mirror quick snippet

Daily Telegraph

BBC website story with link to this site

Wikipedia entry on the theme now linking here

The Times article on this site

Today Programme interview with me umming and erring my way through

24th Jan

Guardian Media write about the campaign (requires registration)

Media Network weblog

Guardian blog

The Archers BBC messageboard

Other Links:

Sign The Petition

The Theme Tune - from BBC website

About Fritz Spiegl - Thanks to those who pointed out that this Friday would have been Fritz Spiegl's 80th birthday!

Radio 4 Today Programme news item link (Real Audio file)

BBC Discussion board on the issue

BBC Press Release making the announcement

Guardian article on the announcement

Times article on the announcement

Obituary of Fritz Spiegl - Telegraph, 25/3/03