ITV’s revival of classic crime series Van Der Valk proved divisive when it premiered last Sunday (26th April), with perhaps the most contentious aspect of the Marc Warren-starring reboot being the absence of the original show’s theme tune.
The original series, which aired between 1972 and 1992, starred Barry Foster as Simon “Piet” Van der Valk and featured the jaunty ‘Eye Level’ as its theme – composed by Jack Trombey (a pseudonym of Dutch composer Jan Stoeckart) and performed by the Simon Park Orchestra.
Van Der Valk’s signature tune proved hugely popular, even reaching number one in the UK singles charts(!) in 1973.
But while a tweaked version of the melody did feature briefly in the new version of the Amsterdam-set drama, ‘Eye Level’ in its original form was nowhere to be heard and fans were quick to decry its non-appearance.
Quite enjoying this Van der Valk remake but it needs more Eye Level
— The actor Kevin Eldon (@GrumpyGreyhead) April 26, 2020
“Quite enjoying this Van Der Valk remake but it needs more Eye Level,” wrote one fan, while another simply stated: “Van Der Valk without the Eye Level theme? No.”
Van Der Valk without the Eye Level theme? No
— McGuinn ???? (@Mcguinness2A) April 26, 2020
One aficionado even suggested they’d settle for “a dubstep version” in the new modern Van Der Valk if it meant they got a serving of ‘Eye Level’.
I don’t understand why you’d do a remake of #VanDerValk and not use the Eye Level theme, even a dubstep version
— The Autist Formally Known as Ferret (@TheFerretLives) April 26, 2020
So what’s the thinking behind removing the fan favourite? Well, according to the reboot’s executive producer Michael Buck, though it was considered whether or not to include the original ‘Eye Level’ in the new series, ultimately it was felt that the tune “just didn’t work on such a contemporary series”.
So there you have it – the real facts, totally on the (eye) level.
The theme tune change-up is just one of several changes made to bring Van Der Valk up to date, with the 2020 version also bringing in a new supporting cast of characters to work alongside Warren’s lead, including a new partner in Maimie McCoy’s Lucienne Hassell.
The three-part series continues tonight at 8pm on ITV with ‘Only in Amsterdam’, in which an investigation into the murder of a young woman with an interest in medieval erotica becomes entangled with a nunnery, mystical academics, and a controversial drug clinic.
The series concludes next Sunday (10th May) with final 90-minute film ‘Death in Amsterdam’.
Check out what else is on with our TV Guide