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Sounds like genius: Stars hail David Murricane, the studio guru behind Still Game and Karen Dunbar theme tunes

© SYSTEMGreg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan in the opening credits of Still Game. Dave Murricane wrote the theme tune for the series along with many others.
Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan in the opening credits of Still Game. Dave Murricane wrote the theme tune for the series along with many others.

TV stars have hailed “the Jimi Hendrix of sound engineering” after the death of sound editor Dave Murricane, the man who wrote some of TV’s most famous theme tunes.

Murricane, who died on Thursday aged 71, worked on countless TV and radio programmes in Scotland in an acclaimed but behind-the-scenes career spanning six decades.

His early work saw him record with the likes of Peggy Lee, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Barbra Streisand as a trainee audio engineer at ATV in London in the 1970s. He later moved to Radio Clyde, before establishing his own company Murricane and Murricane, later Murricanes, and joining leading Scottish production company IWC.

Among his prolific output, he recorded sound on more than 20 series of Channel 4 property show Location, Location, Location as well as iconic Scots comedy series like Still Game, Chewin The Fat, Only An Excuse, Burnistoun, Rab C Nesbitt, and Scot Squad.

A talented musician, the Dumbarton-raised audio expert also wrote and recorded theme tunes for a host of shows, including The Karen Dunbar Show and Still Game, and would regularly fill-in when productions required additional music.

Comedy writer and producer Philip Differ dubbed Murricane “the Jimmy Hendrix of sound engineering”, while Still Game creator and star Greg Hemphill remembered him as “a true creative”.

Differ said: “A class of sound engineer students came to watch our radio series Watson’s Wind Up being recorded one day and Jonathan Watson and I sat down for the Q&A afterwards. They couldn’t care less about us, they were there for Dave, he was like the Jimi Hendrix of sound recording to them. He thought in sound. I loved him to bits.”

© SYSTEM
Dave Murricane.

Actor Watson added: “He was the best there was. If you had Dave doing the sound for your programme, you were in safe hands. It was always a real privilege to work with him. I’ll miss him a lot.”

Still Game director Michael Hines said he had “magic in his fingers that made every project he worked on better”, while Hemphill added Murricane “typified the collaboration process that goes on in TV”.

Sanjeev Kohli, whose Radio 4 comedy Fags, Mags and Bags was recorded by Murricane, called him “the fifth Beatle for nearly every production in Scotland”.

He added: “No matter what challenge you chucked at him, he would always more than rise to it with trademark charm and energy.”

Fags, Mags and Bags producer Gus Beattie added: “He had a boundless energy and enthusiasm for getting sound right and had a real comedy instinct – he had funny bones. He had a great range of talents and people respected him hugely.”

Colin Gilbert, former boss of the production company Comedy Unit, said: “If you asked him to do something it was always going to be better than expected, he was a perfectionist. He put the polish and gloss on everything. His footprint covers a vast amount of output that was made in Scotland.”

Murricane, lived in Newlands, Glasgow. He leaves wife Barbara and stepdaughter Dawn. His death was announced on Twitter by nephew Sean Murricane, who wrote: “When I was little I thought he was Paul McCartney cos he could play piano so well. I asked my dad ‘who’s your friend’ which was a running joke for years, because they’re twins. You might not have heard of him, but you’ve heard his work.”