TINY MUSIC MAKERS: Pt 5: The Channel 4 Jingle

Lord David Dundas isn't on this list because his 'Dum dee da da' jingle for the British TV network Channel 4 was particularly clever. He's here because - unlike anyone else on this list - he kept hold of the copyright and got very, very rich from those four notes. (Apologies in advance if you never watched TV in Britain in the late '80s or early '90s. This won't mean much to you…)
>> You can see Channel 4's four-note jingle (and the original 'flying blocks' logo) here. (Pause a moment to get over that wave of weird nostalgia…) Every time that sequence was played, David Dundas was paid £3.50. Every week, for ten years, Dundas received a cheque for £1,000 from Channel Four.
>> Lord Dundas' parents, the third Marquess and Marchioness of Zetland, had wanted David to become an MP. Instead, he started writing ad jingles. In 1976 he turned a jingle for Brutus Jeans into a hit record 'Jeans On' which was number one across Europe.
>> The four notes were snipped out of a much longer composition called Fourscore, which was the first piece of music played on the channel at it's launch in 1982.
>> In the late '90s, Dundas invested in GW Pharmaceuticals, a company which won a license to grow cannabis in Britain, producing 15 tonnes a year for medical research. His 40,000 shares went up 500% when the company floated.
>> Eventually, sometime around 1994, Channel 4 got fed up of paying every time they played their logo, and quietly commissioned a new piece of music. They kept the flying blocks for another 3-4 years.
>> Lord Dundas went on to compose the 'Wash and Go' jingle. His current activities are unknown.


I once read that Lord David Dundas was the model for 'Withnail' in the film Withnail & I.

Then again, I once read that The Sage synthesizer was coming soon.

While I'm here, I'd like to add that the 'tiny music' strand is vee cool.
Yep, seconded, well done on doing some quality research on these tiny music making guys. And Dundas is a jammy sod.
I'd like to learn about the blurb of music that played on CBS network TV whenever a "SPECIAL" came on. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, 30-somethings from the US could simply flash back to 1980 when either Charlie Brown Christmas or The Grinch came one. The spiraling, multi-hued SPECIAL whooshes toward you amid a very peculiar little diddy, notifying you that it was time to make popcorn and settle in for the holiday toons (usually brought to you by Dolly Madison Snack Cakes). OK, I need to go to bed.
Awesome articles. Completely trivial knowledge but I must drink it for lifeblood. Thanks.
my first time here and i must say i really liked the Tiny Music Makers serie and your blog in general.
C4's visual identity was created by Martin Lambie-Nairn's agency. According to his book about television branding when Lambie-Nairn heard Dundas' jingle he didn't think it sounded very interesting and so suggested that Dundas at least change vary the timing of one of the notes, which Dundas did.
how about merv griffin with his "dum dee dum dee dee dum dee dum/dum dee dum dee dee dee ditty dah dah" theme for "jeopardy"? 10's of millions and counting
I don't think game show themes really qualify as "tiny". Especially when they run upwards of a minute. The "Daily Double" sound might work, but I doubt it has a very interesting history.
Great reading! thanks
Dundas _is_ a jammy sod - yet also that track "Jeans On" was a great pop tune. Talented jammy sod.

The Withnail connection is that he was musical director and also owned the house that Bruce Robinson lived in with... heh just read it here..


So even before anything happened he was loaded anyway. Well, that's some jam for you.
Hello, I'm writing from Belgium. I'm searching for the single "it ain't so easy" - Can anybody help me ?
"I'm writing from Belgium"

One person who has moved from France to Belgium, or two different people, with the same bizarre taste, drawn together by fate?
Martin Lambie-Nairn is now Creative Director at London brand consultancy - Heavenly (http://www.heavenly.co.uk)
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