/ Technology

I love music in TV shows – do you?

Music equaliser

It’s a bit like Marmite really, you either love it or you hate it. What are we talking about? Music in TV shows. Here’s Which? super-supporter Lee Beaumont on why music has an important place in the shows you watch.

I myself love music in TV shows. I can’t think of anything better than watching a really powerful moment and then to match it, a very powerful song plays alongside.

As an example, a few weeks ago I was watching an episode of Heartbeat’s The Royal where staff nurse Meryl Taylor sadly passes away. I was already on the edge of my seat, but when Gerry and the Pacemakers’ Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying started playing, that was it, I was gone – tears all over the place.

Another example is when Heartbeat has The Animals playing in an episode, I can’t stop singing ‘Oh lord please don’t let me be misunderstood’ for the rest of the day then.

We must really love music in our TV shows as ITV Yorkshire has even released more than 20 Heartbeat albums over the course of the 90s. If we hated the music, why would ITV have made so many albums? A lot of us must have been buying them.

Music of the past and present

I don’t just enjoy the music in TV shows that are set in the past. The first episode of the BBC’s Waterloo Road has Kaiser Chiefs’ I Predict A Riot playing right from the start. Plus, One Direction started trending on Twitter the first time one of their songs played in Coronation Street’s Rovers Return.

The BBC even has an app, BBC Playlister, where you can the save songs that play during BBC shows to a playlist so you can listen to them later. I could go on. To me it feels like everyone enjoys music in TV shows. And, let’s face it the shows would seem very flat and unemotional without it.

Do you enjoy a bit of One Direction in the Rovers while watching Steve McDonald eating his hotpot? What about Gerry and the Pacemakers playing when Claude Jeremiah Greengrass is up to no good over in Aidensfield?

This is a guest post from Which? super-supporter Lee Beaumont.


One major part of TV lacking music is in sports programmes – football, cricket, bowls, Olympics, tennis…… Surely with the gaps between significant moments there is scope for the musical fanatics to insert their wares? I wonder why not. Long may it continue. So if not here, why do we have to tolerate it in other programmes? Is it a contract with the musicians’ union?


I have just stopped watching another potentially interesting programme – How We Got to Now – because it was completely ruined by the maddening background so-called music. If programme makers insist on adding this noise to virtually every programme these days, why can’t we have a choice about listening to it in the same way that we can choose to use sub-titles? In many cases it is virtually impossible to hear what is being said, because speech is drowned by the added noise. My only choice these days is to switch off completely, which I do very often with the result that I hardly watch television at all.


We can turn subtitles on and off for TV programmes. It would be very welcome if we could do this with music too. Obviously this is not a solution for films, but being able to turn off music wherever possible would be a great help, especially to those with hearing difficulties.

I can live without music on the News, thank you.

Vivienne says:
13 August 2015

I’m not averse to music on TV shows, but when it is so loud you can’t hear the dialogue, then it is very annoying. I have a hearing problem, and as I live in a flat, I wear headphones in order to listen without disturbing my neighbours. I am missing a lot of the dialogue because the accompanying music is too loud. Are the powers that be doing anything about this problem, as I imagine many viewers must be experiencing the same? If the programme makers are taking any notice, please tone it down to acceptable levels. Thank you, in anticipation!

Craig says:
6 September 2016

What gets to me is when shows like The Walking Dead feel the need to fill the first/last 3 minutes with a musical track every episode. It feels repetitive, predictable and lazy. When used sparingly or to serve a particular purpose I am not against music being used in shows, but it does sometimes feel like the writers or directors just use it as a form of padding. This is particularly bad if the song doesn’t happen to be your cup of tea and serves to grate on your nerves until the track ends (I don’t like country/bluegrass at all so TWD and a few other series can have this effect on me at times).