The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song

The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song


As a rule, TV retrospectives don’t add to the Carpenters’ mystique, they dim it. Seeing a clip of Karen Carpenter with a perm on Nationwide is never going to burnish a legend. And watching her perform on cheesy 70s TV specials isn’t how you want to visualise songs described here as “musical Fabergé eggs”.

But it’s still enjoyable to see a countdown of what (according to one eccentric poll) are their best-loved hits. Several contributors recall Richard Carpenter’s magpie gift for spotting tracks he could adapt, and when you hear the awkward originals of Close to You (sung by actor Richard Chamberlain), Sing (from Sesame Street) and We’ve Only Just Begun (from a bank advert), you see what they mean.

Richard, as always in these docs, sits at his piano surrounded by gold discs and recalls the carpentry that went into the classics. But it’s Karen whose voice runs through this like a trail of smoke.


Richard Carpenter takes a seat at the piano to celebrate some of the musical hits he achieved alongside his sister Karen between 1969 and 1983. Over the course of 13 years, the California-born pair recorded 11 albums, 31 singles, and a selection of TV specials, and hit the top of the US charts with three number-one releases. However, their career was cut short by Karen's death in 1983, as the result of heart failure brought on her eating disorder. This programme charts the highs and devastating lows of the brother-sister duo's remarkable time in the limelight, and makes use of a new ITV poll revealing which Carpenters' song has been voted the UK's favourite. Features contributions by the Carpenters' friends and collaborators, including Burt Bacharach and Petula Clark, and famous fans such as Nicole Scherzinger, the Corrs, and Myleene Klass.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Richard Carpenter
Director Kerry Allison
Executive Producer Mark Robinson
Producer Kerry Allison