On Air Now
Calm Classics with Ritula Shah 10pm - 1am
27 February 2023, 11:52 | Updated: 27 February 2023, 12:04
Watch the trailer for Series 12 of Call The Midwife
All you need to know about the music scoring ‘Call the Midwife’, the TV drama centred around a band of midwives working in East London.
Sweeping orchestral lines, and a jaunty, pizzicato-led main theme: the music for Call the Midwife is every bit as central to the popular TV drama as its engaging storytelling and lovable characters.
The narrative follows a band of midwives working in East London from the 1950s to 1960s, and it has become one of Britain’s most popular TV shows, with excitement building for the Series 12 Finale which landed on Sunday 26 February.
But what about the music?
Here’s all you need to know about composer Peter Salem’s addictive main theme, and the orchestral scoring of Maurizio Malagnini, whose music has weaved through the final four seasons of the show.
Read more: The 25 greatest TV themes of all time
The much-loved theme tune for Call the Midwife was written by composer Peter Salem, who also composed music for the first, second and third seasons of the programme. In 2021, Salem’s theme was voted among the nation’s favourite melodies for the small screen in Classic FM’s TV Music Countdown.
Salem has previously said he was keen his orchestrations reflect the tone of the original 1950s songs – from Elvis Presley to Perry Como – which weave through each episode.
“Working on Call the Midwife I was keen, as we all were, not to produce a purely period ‘museum’ piece,” Salem said. “I wanted to reference the music of the time, particularly its lightness and optimism, but also to create something fresh, direct and contemporary.
“One was a certain pizzicato string sound, which you get in songs by singers such as Tommy Steele, and is very characteristic of the period. Another was a twangy, tremolo fifties’ guitar sound.”
Read more: The 50 best film scores of all time
Call the Midwife Theme Tune
Italian composer Maurizio Malagnini has composed the music for Call the Midwife since its fourth season. Malagnini is an Emmy-nominated Italian composer, whose music has scored The Paradise and Peter and Wendy, among many other film and TV shows. His sound is primarily orchestral, with stunning string melodies and sweeping cinematic lines taking a central role in the TV shows he works on.
After studying composition in Italy, Malagnini continued his studies in London at the Royal College of Music, where he now delivers occasional masterclasses.
Speaking exclusively to Classic FM, Malagnini said what has inspired him most in his writing, is “the empathy that Heidi Thomas [the writer] creates between the characters, and the values of family and love for life that are at the heart of the show”.
Malagnini’s choral track ‘Ad Aeternum’, composed for Trixie Franklin’s (played by Helen George) wedding scene at the end of Season 12, has been hugely popular with 18,000 views on a clip of the music on Twitter.
Forever Love for Trixie! My present for all the fans of @Callthemidwife1— Maurizio Malagnini (@Malagnini_Music) February 26, 2023
The score for this amazing entrance of @helen_george This scene is the demonstration that happiness is waiting for you, and you can reach it from the darkest place.
An incredible performance of the @BBCCO pic.twitter.com/nNr3dNc38u