TV theme composer Jack Parnell dies at 87

BANDLEADER and drummer Jack Parnell - whose career as a TV composer saw him lead the music on The Muppet Show for many years - has died at the age of 87, his family said yesterday.

Parnell also provided the music for shows including Sunday Night At The London Palladium and wrote the theme tunes to programmes including The Golden Shot during his long spell as musical director at ATV.

He died at home in Suffolk, on Sunday following a year-long battle with cancer.

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Parnell had a musical career stretching almost seven decades, which saw him declared best drummer in the annual Melody Maker awards for many years and a distinguished stint as drummer in the renowned Ted Heath Band, during which he formed his own ensemble.

He continued to perform until three years ago, playing jazz in venues near his home. His wife, Veronica, said: "He just used to love to tap away."

Parnell died just two days after his birthday, at which he drank champagne with his family. His son Will - also a composer - said: "He was determined to make it to see his birthday."

London-born Parnell had performance in his blood - his father was a music hall artist, while his uncle Val ran a string of theatres including the London Palladium.

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