Da-da-da-Dire: The Ten Most Annoying TV Themetunes

When I went, aged 7 or 8, to audition for Music College, I was asked to sing “the first song that came into my head”. That song was the A Team theme music, by Mike Post. My older brother, in his audition, apparently sung the same thing. My mother chastised us afterwards, but clearly our renditions of this truly inspiring piece of music were acceptable, as we were both accepted.

There are some themetunes that beckon us to the television, signalling our favourite show is about to start. There are some that we find ourselves humming merrily as we go about our day. And then there are those we shudder through, mute, or fast forward. Here are ten of the most annoying – I’m sure you have your own particular list of those which grate your nerves and become unwanted earworms.

10. Walker Texas Ranger “Eyes of the Ranger”

I know it’s internet lore that Chuck Norris can do no wrong, but he should have known better than to sing this themetune, by Tirk Wilder. “When you’re in Texas look behind you” is good advice though, a lot of oddities have come from there.

9. Grange Hill and Give Us a Clue (same theme tune)

Basically, these two made the list because they’re the same tune. That’s just lazy. Also, the song in question is called “Chicken Man”, by Alan Hackshaw, and was allegedly written just an hour before it was composed. It is an injustice that such a slapdash approach should become the themetune for two long running shows, so Give Us a Grange Hill takes ninth.

8. Blind Date

Two things are immediately apparent about this tune by Devin Powers. One is that it is the least romantic thing you are likely to hear today, and the other is that it seems to last longer than the worst date you’ve ever been on.

7. Three’s Companyg

I’ll give Three’s Company credit for their impeccable apostrophe use, but this song by Joe Raposo is one of the most enduringly painful audio memories of my childhood. It somehow manages to sound intentionally almost out of tune, and is not even cheesy enough to be excused for its other flaws.

6. The L Word

Fans complained about this song by Betty for several seasons – and for several seasons they were ignored. It’s an annoying song, with annoying lyrics, and doesn’t do the show justice.

5. Firefly “Ballad of Serenity”

There are several things that Joss Whedon has got right, television-wise. This themetune is definitely not one of them.

4. QI

It pains me greatly to feature my favourite TV show on this list, but this song by Howard Goodall – composer of such pleasing themetunes as Mr Bean, Red Dwarf, Vicar of Dibley – is stilted and maddening. I skip it whenever humanly possible.

3. Spongebob Squarepants

What’s that? “I can’t HEAR you!” Apparently when Hank Smith Music wrote this they were supposed to make the most annoying song on TV, so that kids watching it on Saturday mornings would aggravate their parents, so the fact that it’s only 3rd may constitute a failure.

2. Star Trek: Enterprise – “Faith of the Heart” or “Where the Heart is”

It seems a natural idea: why not take a song by Diane Warren, sung by Rod Stewart for the Patch Adams soundtrack and use it for one of the most successful SciFi franchises of all time? What could possibly be wrong with that?

1. Barney closing music

I suppose this is a cheat, as it’s the closing song and not the opening one, but this piece of music by Lee Bernstein must be one of the most hated songs on the globe. This was one (of many) reasons I banned Barney from my household.


By Karen Jeynes

Karen Jeynes is a writer: of plays, tweets, television, poetry, fiction, radio, and pretty much anything people will pay her for. She has an unnatural obsession with reality television and film soundtracks. Recently she has developed a worrying fondness for piglets and ukuleles. She lives in Cape Town, which is bloody distracting when you’re trying to hit a deadline but the city is basking in the sunshine. She has two boys who are far more entertaining than she is, and frequently teach her new shortcut keys on the computer. She’s optimistically attempting to adapt Jane Austen for her Master’s Degree. Follow her @karenjeynes or read her occasional blog at karenjeynes.wordpress.com

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