TME > Audio > Source Music

The Invasion: Episode Two (tx: 09/11/68)

Isobel is showing off an old-fashioned gramophone and a record of "The Teddy Bears' Picnic":

ISOBEL: Great, isn't it. I got it off a barrow in the Portobello Road.
ZOE: (preoccupied) Oh, yes.
ISOBEL: What's the matter? Don't... don't you like it?
ZOE: Oh yes, it's fine. ISOBEL: You're still worried about your two friends aren't you?

In Fiction: keen to impress her new friend, appear cool and up-to-date, and clear her mind of the worries and stress of losing touch with her companions, the lovely Isobel presents Zoe with a choice: cheer up, or listen to the entire A-side of Teddy Bears' Picnic.

In Fact: this charming children's song originated with an instrumental written in 1907 by the American composer John Walter Bratton (1867 - 1947). Bratton wrote over 250 songs in his 50 year career, mainly for Broadway musicals around the turn of the century. The tune regained prominence in 1932 when the Irish lyricist Jimmy Kennedy (1902 - 1984) added words and it was recorded by the popular Henry Hall and his BBC Dance Orchestra, with the soft tones of Val Rosing (aka Gilbert Russell) as lead vocalist.

Recorded on 11th December 1932, this track went on to sell over a million copies, and was used extensively by the BBC; not only as the theme song for the Big Jon and Sparkie radio programme, a children's radio show presented on weekdays and Saturday mornings, but also for broadcast engineers, who allegedly broadcast the track whilst calibrating & adjusting equipment throughout the 1930s - due to the recording's large dynamic range!

The Teddy Bears' Picnic - Henry Hall and Chorus and Orchestra

Cuts: 0'07" were cleared for use in the opening 5 minutes of the episode.

Releases (select releases): according to the surviving PasB paperwork, the Invasion's production team sourced the track from its original vinyl release (Columbia FB 2816) - now extremely difficult to come across, and 35 years old even then.

Availability (select releases): the original recording is still readily available on nostalgic compilations, such as the triple-CD Hello Children Everywhere (EMI VTDCD763), released in November 2005.