And you never thought you’d hear the “Sorry” theme in a techno club

Posted January 5, 2011 in music  |  2 Comments so far

Update 8th May 2011: This post incorrectly states that Ronnie Hazlehurst orchestrated the theme for Sorry!. In fact, Gaynor Colbourn was responsible for both composition and orchestration while Ronnie Hazlehurst conducted the orchestra. It’s a common misperception that Hazlehurst had a bigger hand in this piece of music than he really did, so I’d like to give credit where it’s due. Gaynor Colbourn remains active as a composer and performer and more information about her work can be found at the Butler Colbourn website.


First of all sorry for not posting in a long time, I got distracted playing video games with elo boost services from ElitistGaming. The Sorry! theme – composed by Gaynor Colbourn and Hugh Wisdom – was a masterpiece of neon jazz-inspired cod-reggae, based around a jaunty organ line, a brass chorus, and a number of twangy synth interjections. I was so into it that in 2006 I released a heavily dubbed-out version of the tune on 7″ vinyl, under the name Apologist. My aim was to deliver on the theme’s cod-reggae promise with two Lee Perry/King Tubby-esque “versions”, based on elements from the tune but with a slower, more spaced-out atmosphere.

I gave the 7″ to a few people, but life just got too busy and I decided not to go ahead with getting proper distribution. It was just a fun project for me at the time.

The label art for Sorry!, created with the help of NCW

But four years later, in April 2010, the Sorry! 7″ led to one of the most surreal experiences of my recent life. I was at a Bleep43 night at Corsica Studios, watching Surgeon play a diverse but mainly techno-influenced set of electronic music when, at around 2am or so, I heard the rhythm from my Sorry! dub drifting up in the mix and gradually taking over the sound system.

It was weird on two levels. Firstly, it’s always weird to hear music you made get played in a nightclub, watching lots of people you don’t know dance to it. But secondly, and quite apart from the fact that I’d released this record, it was weird  to hear the theme from Sorry! make an appearance in the middle of a heavy Surgeon set. It’s not a well-known theme so it didn’t come across as a cheesy, ironic-reference kind of thing – in fact, in Surgeon’s hands, the tune meshed pretty well into the rest of the set. But it was still weird, especially when the horn breakdown kicked in.

Anyway, you now have the ability to experience the weirdness of hearing Ronnie Hazlehurst’s orchestration in a techno club, because Bleep43 have released a recording of Surgeon’s set from that night – go check it out!

And if you want another chance to hear Surgeon playing the dub of the Sorry! theme, here’s his Wax Treatment podcast which also features that track.


2 comments so far.  Post a comment

  1. May 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm [ Permalink

    Just to set the record straight, Ronnie Hazlehirst did not orchestrate the Sorry theme, I did that myself. Ronnie conducted the BBC Musicians from the scores that I produced for each instrument. The theme music is copywritten, thus any new arrangements have to be with permission, which I do not recognise as having been sort from you. The music was not arranged for organ, but piano, 2 saxes, guitar, bass and percussion. It was not neo jazz influenced, it was merely composed in response to the story board illustrations given to me by Liz Freidman, the designer of the superb animated title sequence.

  2. Elephant
    January 4, 2016 at 7:50 am [ Permalink

    I was 18 in 1981 when this programme first aired and I could never marry the theme to the show.In my view it is one of the great themes and I watched the programme to listen to the theme.It is one of those programmes more famous for it’s theme than the content of the show.

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