‘I might’ve cherished to be in a progressive rock band’ says George Fenton | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV | EUROtoday

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George Fenton

George Fenton says he’s a ‘visible composer’ (Image: )

He is a five-times Oscar-nominated composer who has penned the music for a number of the biggest movie and TV themes of our instances.

So I’m barely stunned when George Fenton CBE tells me: “It would have been the biggest kick of my life to be in a progressive rock band. In fact, I nearly was.”

Growing up within the Sixties, Fenton’s first brush with fame got here at 18, enjoying guitar in a prog rock group referred to as Whistler.

Their 1969 album prompted few ripples they usually had already break up after they had a posthumous primary hit in Sweden with a canopy of The Beatles’ Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.

Rock’n’roll had been George’s past love since seeing Johnnie Ray cry on TV: “The idea of the darkened room, a captive audience, and then the per-formance. That’s where the excitement is – and I feel that when I’m writing for a movie.”

You can hear it in Fenton’s most well-known film scores. From the epic soundtracks for 2 of essentially the most celebrated movies of the Nineteen Eighties – Gandhi and Cry Freedom – to the magical enjoyable of Groundhog Day and the joyously playful You’ve Got Mail.

He describes himself as a visible composer: “I began writing music in the theatre – I’ve always been very conscious of the role that music plays in relation to other elements.” And he admits he struggles for inspiration “without a visual image in my head”. It’s the identical for the handfuls of hit TV reveals he’s composed for – from Bergerac to Omnibus, Telly Addicts to Newsnight.

However, he reveals his hardest job was writing the jingle for Radio 4’s each day PM programme.

“I’d written things that had no visual, but the PM jingle, I was sat at home thinking, what am I supposed to have in my head? I don’t think every composer has it. I tend to want to invest in the thing.”

Investing time in fascinating and artistic endeavours was how he was introduced up, he says.

Born George Hawes in Bromley, Kent, in 1949, he modified his identify to Fenton – his mom’s maiden identify – in 1968 to get his fairness card, as there was already a G. Hawes.

One of 5 youngsters, his father was a mechanical engineer. His dancer mom had turn out to be a nurse through the battle. At house, she would play the piano whereas his father – an enormous band jazz fan – accompanied her on drums.

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“My father’s ambition was that I’d represent England at rugby and my mum’s was that I’d become a great actor. I remember my dad saying to me, ‘I wish you’d do something at some point in your life that I could help you with’.”

His paternal great-grandfather had been a conductor who had sung as a chorister on the funeral of the primary Duke of Wellington.

He says: “I also sang in church and played the organ, so I had a great mix of music and some wonderful people who taught me.”

George acquired his first electrical guitar when he was seven. That was “when music became more important than football – The Beatles had a huge influence on me”.

Privately educated at St Edward’s in Oxford, alma mater to actors Laurence Olivier and Emilia Clarke, he upset his dad and mom by refusing college. “There was a feeling in the late

1960s that you could mess around. Life was cheap – you could rent a flat for hardly any money and live in central London.”

After a collection of dead-end jobs, he “almost accidentally” discovered himself working for director Carl Davis in 1968, within the Alan Bennett play Forty Years On, which he additionally had a small half in.

He had a recurring function within the mid-Seventies as soldier Martin Gimbel in Emmerdale Farm. “I did appear in a few things,” he chuckles. “But to say that I acted is a bit of a stretch.”

George additionally labored as a session musician, a driver and musical chart author, the latter job leading to him writing the music for a manufacturing of Twelfth Night for the RSC in 1974, directed by Peter Gill.

“Peter gave me my first television job and opened Riverside Studios as a theatre.”

He met younger director Michael Attenborough on Gill’s 1978 Riverside manufacturing of The Cherry Orchard: “He said, ‘I need to make a recording of your music and play it to my dad’.”

Dad being Sir Richard Attenborough, who subsequently provided Fenton the job of co-creating the soundtrack for his subsequent film, the a number of Oscar-winning 1982 basic, Gandhi.

“I have just gone through the open doors,” Fenton insists cheerfully.

“All I really wanted was to not be part of normality – I didn’t want a regular job.”

A flood of movie and TV scores ensured his fame, together with Dangerous Liaisons, The Fisher King and Shadowlands, collaborating with administrators equivalent to Nora Ephron, Stephen Frears, Nicholas Hytner and on 18 Ken Loach movies. Along too got here the accolades. Five Oscar nominations, three Baftas, two Emmys, three Golden Globe nominations, two Grammy nominations, 5 Ivor Novellos and 5 BMI awards.

“I’ve never taken a project because I think it’s a stepping stone for me.

“I’ve only ever done the things I felt I wanted to do for whatever reason. That’s why I came back from America when I did.”

In the Nineteen Nineties, the worldwide success of TV reveals he had scored like An Englishman Abroad and The Jewel In The Crown made him sizzling property in Hollywood: “I was being offered work for the rest of my life. I thought, I’m not sure I want to be writing a score for Father Of The Bride Part 12.”

But a name from nature documentarian Alastair Fothergill provided a approach out. “He said, ‘I’m doing this thing I’d love you to write the music for’.”

It was The Blue Planet.

“I put the phone down and thought, ‘That sounds good’.

“So I ditched the movie I was about to do and came home to London – much to the annoyance of my American agent.”

Now 74, does he ever take into consideration composing merely for himself?

“Yeah, I sometimes flirt with that thought and there are a couple of things I’m supposed to be considering doing in that way.

“If somebody brought me my dinner every evening and I got up in the morning and after a walk around the garden, sat and wrote for the day, I could imagine those ambitions descending on me.

“But living in London, charging around all the time, I don’t feel I’m in the right space to do that.”