Who is Keith Strachan?
Keith Strachan is a British composer and theatre director. He co-wrote the song "Mistletoe and Wine", which got Cliff Richard the 1988 Christmas number one. His TV work includes the theme music for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
Strachan attended Blaydon Grammar School and after reading maths and science at Queen Elizabeth College, London University he became a maths teacher. He left teaching and became a musical director of theatre productions in London. In 1976 he co-wrote his first musical, Shoot Up at Elbow Creek. He also wrote The Little Match Girl, based on Hans Christian Andersen's short story, for the Orange Tree, which contained the song "Mistletoe and Wine." HTV produced the play for television in 1986. Two years later, he received an Ivor Novello award for the song, which Cliff Richard released it as a single.
In 1998, television production company Celador, for whom he had written the themes for The Detectives and Talking Telephone Numbers, called upon him to supply some music at short notice for a quiz show called Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. They needed someone to rearrange the pop song that Pete Waterman had written for it. Celador's brief required "something dramatic and full of tension", so Strachan set upon composing a new piece altogether. Working with his son Matthew, he based the piece on "Mars" from Holst’s The Planets suite. The show's huge domestic and international success means that the composition has made them millionaires. In 2002, Keith and Matthew Strachan were given an award by ASCAP for the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? theme.
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