EastEnders theme tune composer outbids soap fans at auction to get his original music back!

(Image credit: BBC)

It went for over £400!

EastEnders theme tune composer Simon May has bought back his own handwritten manuscript more than 20 years after donating it to charity.

The 75-year-old, who also composed the theme for glossy 1980s drama Howards’ Way, thought he’d never see his work again.

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However, a Derbyshire auction house contacted him and said the music was being put up for sale.

But, Simon then got in a bidding war with EastEnders fans hoping to lay their hands on the sheet music for E8 - as it was then called - and a letter saying the work was authentic, penned by Simon.

The lot was expected to go for between £70 and £100, but Simon ended up splashing out £460!

Simon told The BBC: “It was really exciting to bid at auction. I’d never done it before. I booked a phone line to ensure I didn’t miss out. I’m surprised the price went so high but I suppose there are a lot of EastEnders fans out there.

“I’m really pleased to get it back. It was an important extra from the E8 musical manuscript. Now it can be returned to my family archives. I’d realised it was missing but I thought I’d lost it. It’s part of my family history.”

EastEnders, accompanied by the famous theme, started in 1985 and the following year Anita Dobson, who played Angie Watts, released a vocal version of the theme. Called Anyone Can Fall In Love, it peaked in the UK charts at number four.

Peggy Mitchell (played by Barbara Windsor) got her own version of the famous theme when she left the soap

Peggy Mitchell (played by Barbara Windsor) got her own version of the famous theme when she left the soap (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

There have been different versions of Simon’s famous tune, such as Peggy’s theme which was played for Peggy Mitchell’s final episode in 2010.

Meanwhile, a 2008 poll revealed that the famous theme was more recognisable to people than God Save the Queen!

EastEnders continues on BBC1.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!