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Composer who wrote Who Wants to be a Millionaire? theme tune dies

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 22/09/2021 Lauren Lewis For Mailonline
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An award winning composer who wrote the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? theme tune has died 'suddenly' at home aged 50. 

He wrote the theme tune for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? alongside father Keith in 1998 and went on to win 12 awards for his music, including 10 for the show's soundtrack. 

Strachan's body was found by paramedics who were called to a residential address at Chudleigh Road, Twickenham, around 11:03am.  

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: 'We sent an ambulance crew, two medics in cars, and a hazardous area response team. Sadly, a person died at the scene.'  

Matthew Strachan looking at the camera: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Scotland Yard said Strachan was declared dead at the scene and that the sudden passing was not being treated as suspicious.  

The West London Coroner said they had opened an investigation into the composer's death.  

'A post mortem has taken place and we are awaiting toxicology and histology results. Once we have the results the pathologist will be able to finalise their report and hopefully ascertain the cause of death,' they said in a statement. 

Strachan's father Keith told the BBC his son was 'loved by his family and he will be sadly missed. He was a warn, funny and talented human being'. 

Matthew Strachan wearing a suit and tie: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Tributes flooded in for the British composer most famous for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? but has also created music for other programmes including Question Time.  

Fellow composer Daniel Pemberton wrote on Twitter: 'Very sad news today. I learnt that Matthew Strachan has died. He will forever be known as the composer (along with his dad!) of the groundbreaking WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE. 

'But for me he was always more than that. He was someone who chased a magical dream..'

Another composer and friend of Strachan, Dirk Marks, said: 'Goodbye dear friend and massive talent Matthew Strachan. A gentle, kind, talented and wickedly funny Prince.'

Meanwhile a friend told The Sun: 'Matthew was a troubled soul but an incredibly gifted man.

'He was gentle and kind but endured an ongoing struggle with his inner demons. It is tragic he couldn't be at peace.'

Strachan's iconic theme also appeared in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle.

And features in the current edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which was relaunched with new host Jeremy Clarkson in 2018 and hit headlines last year when contestant Donald Fear, from Telford, won the coveted £1 million prize.

The father-son duo wrote the soundtrack, and 94 other scores, in eight days in 1998 in what Strachan described to the BBC in 2014 as 'unusual circumstances'. 

The pair were called in to a creative team meeting in a last ditch effort to make something of the quiz show after an initial non-broadcast pilot tanked. 

He said after the meeting it was 'decided that there needed to be 95 pieces of music... to cover every eventuality of what happens in the show'.  

'There's a piece of music for every event, there's a piece of music for when the lights go down, then there's an underscore for the questions', he said, describing the music as 'quite subliminal'.

The pair also included 'bright idea' of 'putting up the music a semi-tone every time there was a new question, to sort of raise the stakes a bit', adding to the drama of the show. 

The decision saw the duo working '24 hours a day' to get the scores written ahead of ITV's deadline.   

Strachan in 2014 said the programme was 'particularly good' because of the simple, intimate format and the 'inherent tension' as a result of the lighting and music.  

( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Strachan's sudden death comes a month after he was handed a suspended sentence for setting fire to his own home in March last year. 

He was charged with one count of arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered. 

The case, described as a 'serious offence' by prosecutors in October, was referred to Kingston crown court. 

Colleagues in the music industry reportedly described Strachan in character references as an 'incredible talent'. 

He received a 10 month sentence suspended for two years with alcohol and mental health requirements.   

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