Let’s get this straight from the outset… the él record label is absolutely nuts!!! And I love its quirkiness and bottle for putting out albums of music that otherwise would be unlikely to see the light of day. Regular readers will have read other reviews I’ve done of the label’s output and it is nothing if not varied and eclectic. And this album is a continuation on that devil may care, plucky stance, for here on Escape In Time we have a collection of 24 popular British television themes of the 1960s and some incidental music from The Prisoner tacked on the end. ESCAPE IN TIME

There was a lot of experimentation with formats and program aesthetics in the 60s, a time before boundaries had been set and where a degree of experimentation was encouraged(Do you think The Prisoner would get an airing in 2015?) and this is reflected in the wide variety of tunes herein.

I was born in ’67 but a lot of the theme tunes on here are familiar to me and will be to you too, I’m sure. The ones that I knew immediately were The Avengers theme, The Saint, Steptoe and Son, Z Cars, Coronation Street, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Animal Magic, ITN News, Grandstand… but there’s a whole lot more on their too.

Most of the tunes are orchestral, BIG numbers with the exceptions being Fireball XL5 sung by Don Spencer that is straight up 60s pop music (as are Comedy Playhouse (Happy Joe) and Tuesday Rendevous (China Doll)), The Strange World Of Gurney Slade (Gurney Slade)  which is a jazzy number and confusingly The Strange World Of Gurney Slade (Hat and Cane) which is a honky tonk style. There are others that stray from the theme like Maigret Theme which has a distinctly Parisian (surprise surprise) theme to it … and who could forget Steptoe and Son?

Alright, this is a bit of a trip down memory lane for the most part and with the tunes you know but it’s an enjoyable romp that has merit not only as a fond reminiscence, but also for the musical content in itself and for the fact you don’t just get a snippet of the tune but the whole performance… case in point here is the Coronation Street them which everyone in the UK will know, but have you heard the whole thing – it’s fab!!!

Good on él for releasing this and all the other utterly bonkers stuff they do!

Stuart Smith

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