Home > News > Christopher Gunning, 1944-2023

Christopher Gunning, 1944-2023

Composer Christopher Gunning died on March 25, 2023, at his home in Hertfordshire, England, after a short illness. He was 78.

Christopher Gunning was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in August 1944, and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where his tutors included Edmund Rubbra and Richard Rodney Bennett.

Gunning beganm writing for film in the early 1970s, and his important early works included Goodbye Gemini (1970), the Hammer horror film Hands of the Ripper (1971), the film version of the smash hit sitcom Man About the House (1974), and Porterhouse Blue (1987), which which he received his first BAFTA Television Award.

Gunning’s most enduring contribution to film music came in 1989, when he composed the iconic theme tune for the TV series Poirot, starring David Suchet, for which he received his second BAFTA Television Award. Gunning would go on to score nearly all of the subsequent 70 Poirot TV films between 1989 and 2013.

Gunning’s more recent film and television included When the Whales Came in 1989, Under Suspicion in 1991, The Big Batallions in 1992, Middlemarch in 1994, Cold Lazarus and Karaoke in 1996, Rebecca and Firelight in 1997, and the BBC nature documentary series Wild Africa in 2001. His last major score was 2007’s La Môme, also known as La Vie En Rose the biopic of legendary French singer Edith Piaf, for which he won the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music.

In addition to his film music work, Gunning was prolific as a concert composer, pop music arranger, and for his work in advertising. In the 1970s and 1980s, Gunning collaborated with rock musician Colin Blunstone and was responsible for the distinctive string arrangement on Blunstone’s 1972 hit “Say You Don’t Mind”. He also provided the string arrangements on “Won’t Somebody Dance With Me”, the Ivor Novello award-winning song written and performed by Lynsey De Paul. British audiences will likely be very familiar with his iconic music for the ad campaigns for Black Magic chocolates and Martini, the latter of which won three Clio Awards.

Gunning leaves behind his wife, Sveta, and daughters Chloe, Olivia, Polyanna, and Verity,

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  1. Dennis McCarthy
    March 29, 2023 at 12:41 am

    Christopher was truly an incredible composer; his scores for Poirot were amazing – rest in peace. my friend –
    Dennis McCarthy

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