Barrington Pheloung

Barrington Somers Pheloung (10 May 1954 – 1 August 2019)[1] was an Australian composer based in the United Kingdom.[3] He composed several television theme tunes and music, particularly for Inspector Morse and its follow-up series, Lewis, and prequel Endeavour.

Barrington Pheloung
Birth nameBarrington Somers Pheloung
Born(1954-05-10)10 May 1954
Manly, New South Wales, Australia
Died1 August 2019(2019-08-01) (aged 65)[1][2]
Occupation(s)composer, conductor
Years activeff. 1973–2019

Early life and studies

Pheloung was born 10 May 1954 in Manly, New South Wales, and grew up in Sydney's northern beaches suburbs.[3][4] He began playing R&B guitar in clubs, but his discovery of Bach in his late teens drew him to the classical repertoire.[5]

In 1972 at aged 18, Pheloung moved to London where he studied guitar, double bass and composition at the Chiswick Music Centre (which was part of the then Chiswick Polytechnic) before proceeding to the Royal College of Music to study composition with John Lambert and guitar under John Williams and Julian Bream.[4] There he also took instruction in conducting. In his second year, he received his first commission for a ballet score.[4]


Pheloung is best known for the theme and incidental music to the Inspector Morse television series, for which he was nominated for Best Original Television Music at the British Academy Television Awards in 1991;[6] the sequel Lewis, and the prequel Endeavour. He also composed for dance companies such as the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and for events including the opening night of the Millennium Dome.[7] Pheloung also wrote the theme music for the BBC television series Dalziel and Pascoe.

His film work included Hilary and Jackie, based on the life of the cellist Jacqueline du Pré, for which he was nominated for the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music at the 52nd British Academy Film Awards.[8] Other works include A Previous Engagement, Little Fugitive, Shopgirl, Touching Wild Horses, Twin Dragons, Shopping and The Mangler. He also composed the scores to Revolution Software's adventure games In Cold Blood and the first two Broken Sword.

Pheloung's other work included music for the Sydney Opera House's Twentieth Birthday Celebrations and he contributed to the music for the film Truly, Madly, Deeply, in which he also appeared.[9] He composed the incidental music for the first series of Boon.

In 2009 he composed the music for 1983, the concluding episode of the Channel 4 drama series Red Riding.[10]


  • Red Riding, 2009
  • Lewis, Music from Series 1 & 2, 2008
  • And When Did You Last See Your Father? 2007
  • Shopgirl, 2006
  • The Magic of Inspector Morse, 2000
  • Inspirations, 2001
  • Hilary and Jackie, 1998
  • The Passion of Morse, 1997
  • The Essential Inspector Morse Collection, 1995
  • Shopping, 1994
  • Nostradamus, 1994
  • Days of Majesty, 1993
  • Inspector Morse Vol. 3, 1992
  • Inspector Morse Vol. 2, 1992
  • Inspector Morse Vol. 1, 1991


Video games


  1. Loewenthal, Paul (11 August 2019). "Barrington Pheloung obituary". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 August 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  2. Barrington Somers Pheloung
  3. Shand, John (7 April 2001). "Morse Coda". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 10.
  4. Strachan, Laurie (6 February 1999). "Composer in exile". The Australian.
  5. Lambert, Catherine (4 February 2001). "Composer sings the blues". Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia). p. 24.
  6. "Television Nominations 1991". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  7. Savage, Mark (1 August 2019). "Inspector Morse composer Barrington Pheloung dies". Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  8. "Film Nominations 1998". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  9. "Truly Madly Deeply". 1 January 1991.
  10. "Red Riding". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 28 January 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
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