Midsomer Murders and House of Cards composer Jim Parker dies aged 88

Bafta-winner Jim Parker has died at the age of 88. Credit: PA

A Bafta-winning composer known for television favourites including Midsomer Murders, House of Cards and Foyle's War has died at the age of 88.

Jim Parker, who was known for writing the scores for numerous television programmes, had also collaborated with the likes of comedian Victoria Wood, poet Sir John Betjeman and rock band Procol Harum.

Mr Parker, who was born in Hartlepool in 1934, had a career spanning 60 years.

Other programmes he worked on included Soldier Soldier, Mapp And Lucia, and The House Of Elliott.

Claire Parker said her father “wore his talent lightly” and “had a quiet passion and great sense of humour”.

“His ambition was first and foremost for audiences to enjoy his music," she said. "He was both well-respected and well-liked within the music and television industry, writing so many memorable theme tunes, and always giving 100% commitment, which led to collaborations often lasting many years.

"He will be missed by friends, family and colleagues.”

Mr Parker began his music career as an oboist in a British Army band based in post-war West Germany.

Victoria Wood was among the people who collaborated with Bafta-winner Jim Parker. Credit: PA

In 1959 he was awarded an honorary degree after winning a silver medal at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He later joined the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before becoming a member of the Barrow Poets, a poetry and music group which recorded six albums and worked with poets including Stevie Smith, known for writing Not Waving But Drowning.

Parker wrote three musicals, the most successful of which was Follow The Star, a retelling of how Christmas began.

Several of his concert pieces have become part of the repertoire for wind and brass, including the brass suite A Londoner In New York for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

He wrote commissioned works for the Nash Ensemble, Hilliard Ensemble, Albion Ensemble, Wallace Collection, and Poems On The Underground.

His most recent works include a collection of new music, Travelling Light (2016) and Sonatina (2022).

He was married to Pauline Parker for 54 years and they had two daughters, Claire and Amy.

Parker also leaves a daughter, Louise, from an earlier marriage.

A statement from Bafta said: “We are saddened to learn that Bafta-winning composer Jim Parker has died aged 88.

“Over the course of his 60-year career in music, Parker became one of Britain’s best-loved TV composers, writing scores for a string of hit programmes including House Of Cards and Midsomer Murders.”

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