Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Wiseman’

TO OLIVIA – Debbie Wiseman

February 23, 2021 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s something of a forgotten fact these days, but for thirty years between 1953 and 1983 the great British children’s author Roald Dahl was married to the Oscar-winning American actress Patricia Neal. While they were together Dahl wrote many of his most acclaimed novels (including James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, and The BFG), as well as film screenplays such as You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Meanwhile Neal simultaneously enjoyed the peak of her acting career, appearing in movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Harm’s Way, and The Subject Was Roses, and winning an Academy Award for Hud in 1963. However, their private life was marred with tragedy, the most significant event of which was the death of their eldest daughter Olivia from measles in 1962 when aged just 7. This new film To Olivia, directed by John Hay, explores the life of the couple around that time, how the tragedy of Olivia’s death inspired them both to their greatest professional work, and how Dahl went on to become a staunch pro-immunization campaigner for the rest of his life. The film stars Hugh Bonneville as Dahl and Keeley Hawes as Neal, features Sam Heughan and Geoffrey Palmer in supporting roles, and has a sublime score by composer Debbie Wiseman. Read more…


March 21, 2017 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite me having been one of her strongest and most vocal supporters for the past 20 years, the music of Debbie Wiseman is still grossly underappreciated. For those who don’t know her, Wiseman was born in London in May 1963. She studied at the Trinity College of Music, and took lessons in piano and composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with the noted Hammer horror composer Buxton Orr. She began her career writing for British television, including popular shows such as The Upper Hand, and made her first foray into film in 1994, with her score for the Oscar-nominated drama Tom & Viv. Since then, Wiseman’s career has encompassed such successful and acclaimed films as Haunted, Wilde, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Arsène Lupin, and Lesbian Vampire Killers. She also remains prolific on television, having written music for numerous popular and critically lauded series and TV movies, notably the acclaimed dramas The Death of Yugoslavia and Warriors (both of which were nominated for Royal Television Society Awards for their music), Othello, Judge John Deed, Jekyll, Land Girls, Father Brown, and Wolf Hall. Read more…

DICKENSIAN – Debbie Wiseman

April 8, 2016 Leave a comment

dickensianOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Dickensian is a fascinating British drama series from the BBC, which re-imagines many of the numerous characters from Charles Dickens’s most famous works – A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend – and places them into a shared single setting in Victorian London. The plot of the series concerns Scotland Yard police inspector Bucket (Stephen Rea), and his investigation into the apparent murder of a prominent businessman, Jacob Marley, on Christmas Eve, an event which gradually draws many local figures into the plot. The series, which has an ensemble cast that includes Peter Firth, Tuppence Middleton, Pauline Collins, Caroline Quentin, and many others, was a critical success when it aired during the early months of 2016, and looks likely to be renewed for a second season in 2017. Read more…

WOLF HALL – Debbie Wiseman

May 12, 2015 Leave a comment

wolfhallOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The name Cromwell is a notorious one in British history. Oliver Cromwell briefly turned the monarchy into a republic when he overthrew King Charles I in 1649, and he and his son Richard Cromwell ruled the country for six years during the so-called ‘Interregnum’ period, before Charles II was restored to the throne. Less well-known, but no less important, was Oliver’s ancestor Thomas Cromwell, who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII for eight years in the 1530s. Cromwell played a pivotal role in the formation of the Church of England, which was initiated by Henry’s desire to divorce his first wife Catherine of Aragon, due to her failure to provide him with a male heir, and instead marry the apparently more fertile Anne Boleyn; Pope Clement VII would not allow the divorce, forcing Henry to break away and form his own church. Unfortunately, Cromwell proved to be a controversial and divisive figure who made many powerful enemies, and he was eventually arrested and executed on a litany of trumped-up charges in 1540. The BBC TV costume drama Wolf Hall, based on the historical novel by Hilary Mantel, chronicles the rise and fall of Cromwell through the corridors of power. Read more…


March 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As a red-blooded heterosexual man, there’s nothing I like seeing on my cinema screen more than vampire lesbians. OK, that’s not quite true, but they are still pretty high up on the list, and if you are going to watch people being brutally murdered by members of the undead, at least you should be able to enjoy a little bit of eye candy beforehand. Lesbian Vampire Killers is a new British comedy-horror, very much in the vein of recent hits such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, which takes a well-established genre – in this case the vampire movie – and gives it a fresh, comic spin. Directed by Phil Claydon, the film stars James Corden and Matthew Horne from the hit BBC comedy series ‘Gavin & Stacey’ as two lovable losers who, while on a hiking holiday in rural Wales, encounter a den of blood-sucking nymphomaniacs who are threatening to take over the world. The film also stars Paul McGann, MyAnna Buring, and Silvia Colloca as vampire queen Carmilla, and has an original score by Debbie Wiseman. Read more…

FLOOD – Debbie Wiseman

August 24, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

“Flood” is a British thriller that might hit a little too close to home for many American audiences. Memories of Hurricane Katrina are probably still too fresh for many audiences (particularly in the southeast part of the states) for the film to really be very exciting. It sounds a bit like your standard disaster movie… a huge tidal wave is coming, millions of lives are at stake, it’s up to one man to save everybody, etc. and so on. I don’t know whether the film is aiming at being a tragic drama or an adrenaline-pumping action flick, but from the sound of Debbie Wiseman’s score it seems to be both. Read more…

ARSÈNE LUPIN – Debbie Wiseman

October 13, 2004 Leave a comment

arsenelupinOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Regular readers of Movie Music UK will know that I am a big fan of the British composer Debbie Wiseman. Not only is she blazing a trail for female composers in film music at a time when they are still vastly outnumbered in the battle of the sexes, but she has written a number of staggeringly good scores since she burst on the international scene in the mid-1990s: Tom & Viv, Haunted and especially her 1997 masterpiece Wilde are amongst my personal favorite scores. Taking that into account, you will understand what massive praise I am bestowing when I say that, unequivocally, Arsène Lupin is her finest score to date. Read more…


October 13, 2000 Leave a comment

tomsmidnightgardenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I first heard Debbie Wiseman’s score to Tom’s Midnight Garden way back in the fall of 1998, at a special concert she gave at London’s Royal Festival Hall. It has taken well over two years for the film to be released, and for her lavish, sumptuous music to finally become available for all to enjoy. Scores of the quality of Tom’s Midnight Garden are rare indeed, and are worth waiting for. The film is based on the classic children’s novel by Philippa Pearce, and stars Anthony Way (the child star of the popular series The Choir) as Tom, one of many young boys who were sent away into the English countryside to escape the horrors of war raining down on the cities where they lived. Tom is sent to stay with his prissy Aunt and Uncle (Greta Scacchi and James Wilby) in a rambling old house away from London, and at first Tom is unhappy at being separated from his parents and his friends. But soon Tom discovers that unusual things happen in the old house: when the antique grandfather clock in the hall strikes thirteen instead of twelve, a magical gateway appears in the house’s walled garden, which takes him back in time – and into the company of a beautiful young girl named Hatty. Read more…

LIGHTHOUSE – Debbie Wiseman

February 4, 2000 Leave a comment

lighthouseOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Good evening, ladies and gentleman, and here is the news. Bernard Herrmann has returned to film scoring, but this time he’s wearing a dress and calling himself Debbie. Okay, so I’m having a little joke at the expense of Debbie Wiseman, but please understand that in saying that I am attempting to pay her a compliment. Lighthouse, the latest score by the talented British composer, is a menacing work which could have easily come from the pen of the master of suspense himself. It is a landmark score for two reasons. Firstly, it marks the first time since Shirley Walker tackled Turbulence that one of the top female composers has written for an action movie; and secondly, it’s the first time that Wiseman herself has had a high-profile assignment that isn’t a period romance. Read more…