BBC Mystery Series – Campion – Turning Music Into Words


Margery Louise Allingham (20 May 1904 – 30 June 1966) was an English crime writer,  best remembered for her detective stories featuring gentleman sleuth Albert Campion. Two series were made from her work by the BBC in 1989 and 1990, starring Peter Davison as Campion, Brian Glover as his manservant Lugg and Andrew Burt as his policeman friend Stanislaus Oates. The series is a visual delight as Albert Campion investigates foul play in the stately homes of 1930s England. It is the theme music for the series, a total of eight mysteries, that has captured my imagination.

2f522108-6341-43f3-8f21-408d976518b5Nigel Hess (b. 1953)

Nigel Hess, who read music at Cambridge University where he was Music Director of the famous Footlights Revue Company, has since worked as a composer and conductor in television, theatre and film. His music for Campion is iconic for these period pieces. (Unfortunately, I can’t find any details about the theme music to pass along.) With charm, Peter Davison sings the title music for the first series himself; in the second series, it is replaced with an instrumental version. IF ONLY I could add music to my novel writing that sets the scene like Hess’s music does. You can close your eyes and SEE  an age I was born just late of, yet seems a part of my D/A.  Nigel Hess’s music, like Downton Abbey’s exquisite interiors, costumes and cars serve a purpose. I am determined to learn from the Campion series how to translate Hess’s theme music into words that can leave a reader as captivated.     

42ae4946702b18cb08ecb002edc38935A beautiful Lagonda 16/80 is featured in the series 


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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2 Responses to BBC Mystery Series – Campion – Turning Music Into Words

  1. Frances Jackson says:

    Looking back through the older posts, I discovered this entry about the theme music for “Campion.” I’m so happy to find another person as caught up with this exquisitely appropriate music! Campion has long been a favorite of mine. I’ve read some of the books; and I have most of the episodes on dvd and occasionally will treat myself to a Campion marathon. I think Peter Davison was well chosen for this part. And it seems to me that not only does the music beautifully create the atmosphere of the time, but Davison’s singing helps define the character. It’s not a brilliant solo; it’s a gentle, rather whimsical blending in with the instruments. He’s almost not there; but he is definitely there.

    • Hi Frances-Delighted to hear from you and that you found my Campion post. I have a Campion board on Pinterest too. That beautiful car he drives is one of the pins. Have you discovered Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries set in Australia. The costume, cars, settings are wonderful. And….the music is perfect. These period dramas are timeless. Now, what I would like is the two of having a cup of tea, sharing are mutual interests. Come back and see me when ou can. I’ll look forward to it.

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