The story behind the Victoria theme tune

What is it about that mesmerising singing? And how did it come about? We have all the answers...

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It’s the tune that is in everybody’s head – the haunting and uplifting title theme to ITV’s hit Jenna Coleman drama Victoria that is used again during her wedding to Albert in episode five. But what is it? And how did it come about?

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The theme tune, Alleluia, and incidental music for the first episodes of the series were composed by Martin Phipps, the musician who also recently worked on BBC1 shows War and Peace and Peaky Blinders.

Phipps was shown an early version of episode one of Victoria and instantly fell in love with the drama, changing his holiday plans to get to work on the composition, executive producer Dan McCulloch tells RadioTimes.com

“Martin loved the character. Particularly her tenacity, her humanity and youth. He wanted to score something that literally came from the heart,” says McCulloch.

In fact, adds, in some of the scenes “you can hear a beat that’s a lot like Victoria’s heart thumping away.”

The singing was performed by the classical choral ensemble The Medieval Baebes, who recorded the theme tune (which re-occurs in various motifs as incidental music) following a creative collaboration with Phipps in his East London studio.

But Victoria-watchers may detect a slight difference to the sound in later episodes. That’s because Phipps later handed the conductor’s baton to Ruth Barrett. And as McCulloch notes, the incidental music will have a different feel…

“You’ll see – as Victoria’s life moves on so does the score. Albert has his own theme…”

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Last updated on 20 September 2017