The Informer (1966-1967) – Theme Tune ‘Superformance’ By David Lindup + An Original Episode Script By Michael J. Bird!
Video above: Prepare to have your socks blown off! Theme tune to The Informer (1966-1967) composed by David Lindup. Theme title ‘Superformance’.
This post includes some some real gems. A theme tune is re-discovered, an original script for The Informer by Michael J. Bird is shared; as well as anecdotes from a cameraman who helped film the series!
Thanks to Simon for initiating this post and helping to find the theme tune.
This brilliant theme by David Lindup was first used back in the 60’s for the series The Informer starring Ian Hendry. It was later used by The Monty Python team in the sketch ‘The Bishop’!
Picture: Ian Hendry as the debarred lawyer Alex Lambert in The Informer (1966)
The Informer (1966-1967)
The Informer ran for two series – 8 episodes in Season 1 and 13 episodes in Season 2. It was produced by Rediffusion London at their studios in Wembley.
Alas, just 2 episodes are known to have survived and can be found and watched in the BFI archive in London. Several notable and up-and-coming directors worked on the production including Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Don Leaver, (Sir) Ridley Scott and Peter Collinson.
Michael J. Bird Script – Keep Off The Grass
For those who are fans of the writer Michael J. Bird – of which I know there are many – I have a copy of a script written by him for an original episode of The Informer called ‘Keep Off The Grass’. It’s the only script that I am aware of from this series. I do have a collection of some of the episode outlines with cast and crew lists which I will try and locate and share at some point.
This script came to me from David Rice who runs the excellent Michael J. Bird Tribute Website. He was generously given a copy by Olive Bird – wife of the late Michael J. Bird.
Ian of course worked closely with Michel J. Bird several years later on The Lotus Eaters (1972).
The script editor on The Informer was Alfred Shaugnessy. Shaugnessy would use Bird two years later on Hadleigh, and was the man behind Upstairs Downstairs. Bird contributed a storyline to Upstairs Downstairs, which I believe was the only story-line…
And as a point of interest, Ian had a Yorkshire Terrier in the early 70’s that he named ‘Hadleigh’ – after the series!
Script: Read + Download
You can open and read or download it using the button below. If you click the button it will open the PDF file on the website. You would then need to right click and ‘save link as’ to your computer or follow the tool prompts in your browser’s window. Or you can just right click the button and use ‘save link as’ to directly download the document to your computer.
Memories of a Junior Cameraman – Adrian Fearnley
One of the great pleasures of running this website is having contact with people who grew up watching these programmes and some who even worked on these early productions. The following anecdote by Adrian Fearnley is a case in point and gives some great insight into the methods and the times:
I became a Supervisory Cameraman with Thames Television, but before that as I worked as an up and coming junior cameraman at Associated Rediffusion.
If my memory serves me right, it would have been around 1966 when we shot “The Informer” starring Ian Hendry. The Director was Michael Lindsay-Hogg for the series and it was particularly memorable to me as we shooting very weird angles, up through glass tables and even through brandy glasses to achieve, what were then, unseen angles. The constraints on the actors were considerable as they had to maintain extremely precise positions while still delivering a performance. It was great fun and I learnt a lot which served me well in years to come when shooting single camera on prgrammes such as “The Bill’. As I recall, Ian had a house on an island in Shepperton which was very charming and a local haunt for the ‘pub across the River Thames’.
Thanks Adrian for getting in touch and sharing these memories.
A former barrister Alex Lambert (played by Ian Hendry) who had been disgraced and debarred has to rebuild his life. He uses his former contacts on both sides of the law to become a paid informer for the Police. Living well from the rewards paid by insurance companies, Lambert still has to hide his activities from both his wife and others behind a new persona in the guise as a business consultant.
It also starred Neil Hallet, Jean Hallet and Heather Sears (who had been in the same year as Ian at the Central School of Speech + Drama)
For a full listing of the 21 episodes click below:
Extract of a Sir Ridley Scott interview by Steve Wright (BBC Radio 2- 22nd December 2014) in which he discusses his early career and mentions working with Ian Hendry on the series The Informer. He actually says The Insider in the interview, but heck it was back in the 60’s!
As was common practice at the time, composers used to write for music libraries which were then used by various end-users including TV companies searching for that special theme for their productions. David wrote frequently for KMP and as a result he often went uncredited.
David Lindup (10 May 1928, East Preston, Sussex – 7 January 1992, Southampton) was an English composer, arranger and orchestrator best known for his collaborations with Johnny Dankworth and his library music (often for KPM).
Although credited as the composer of TV theme tunes such as The Informer and Rising Damp, and occasional film scores such as Games That Lovers Play (1970), Shatter (1974) and The Spiral Staircase (1975), as a composer of library music, his pieces usually appear uncredited in films and TV programmes, for example The Full Monty, The Persuaders!, The Box. He is similarly uncredited for his orchestration in musical films such as Scrooge and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
He was married to Nadia Cattouse and his son Mike Lindup is the keyboardist for Level 42.
Theme Tune To The Informer – ‘Superformance’ By David Lindup
The images below are from an original 33rpm TV Tunes complilation LP and 45rpm singles from the time. For those not old enough to remember – we used to play music by sticking steel needles into the grooves of a plastic/ vinyl disc!
Until next time,
Editor, Official Website of Ian Hendry
A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:
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