House Of Cards and Midsomer Murders composer Jim Parker dies aged 88

Parker collaborated with talent including comedian Victoria Wood and rock band Procol Harum.

Bafta-winning composer Jim Parker has died aged 88, his family has announced.

He was known for writing the scores for television programmes such as Midsomer Murders, House Of Cards, Foyle’s War, Soldier Soldier, Mapp and Lucia and The House Of Elliott.

During his career, which spanned 60 years, Parker released four music albums with English poet and writer Sir John Betjeman and collaborated with comedian Victoria Wood and rock band Procol Harum.

Claire Parker said her father “wore his talent lightly” and “had a quiet passion and great sense of humour”.

She said: “His ambition was first and foremost for audiences to enjoy his music.

“He was both well-respected and well-liked within the music and television industry, writing so many memorable theme tunes, and always giving 100% commitment, which led to collaborations often lasting many years.

“He will be missed by friends, family and colleagues.”

Parker was born in Hartlepool, County Durham, in 1934 and his music career began as an oboist in a British Army band based in post-war west Germany.

In 1959 he was awarded an honorary degree after winning a silver medal at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

He later joined the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before becoming a member of the Barrow Poets, a poetry and music group which recorded six albums and worked with poets including Stevie Smith, known for penning the poem Not Waving But Drowning.

Parker wrote three musicals, the most successful of which was Follow The Star, a retelling of how Christmas began.

Several of his concert pieces have become part of the repertoire for wind and brass, including the brass suite A Londoner In New York for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

He wrote commissioned works for the Nash Ensemble, Hilliard Ensemble, Albion Ensemble, Wallace Collection and Poems on the Underground.

His most recent works include a collection of new music, Travelling Light (2016) and Sonatina (2022).

He was married to Pauline Parker for 54 years and they shared two daughters, Claire and Amy.

Parker also leaves a daughter, Louise, from an earlier marriage.

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