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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Ron Grainer, 1965 (printed 2002)

Lewis Morley

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 40.4 cm x 30.2 cm, image: 36.1 cm x 25.5 cm)

Ron Grainer (1922–1981) was a composer of music for television and film. Born in Atherton, Queensland, Grainer is said to have been as young as four when he started learning the violin and six when he gave his first public performance. Having briefly studied piano at the University of Queensland, he enlisted in the RAAF in 1940, serving as a wireless operator in Townsville and performing in concerts as a member of the service’s entertainment unit. Discharged from the Air Force on medical grounds in 1945, Grainer studied under Eugene Goossens at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music before moving to London in the early sixties and becoming a rehearsal pianist for the BBC. He gained attention for his theme for the Maigret series, and in 1962 wrote the music from which the theme to Steptoe and Son was taken. The following year he was asked to provide the opening music for a new children’s science fiction series entitled Doctor Who. Grainer’s theme, considered a pioneering piece of electronic music and later reinterpreted by bands including Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy and The Pogues, is still in use 50 years later as the BBC embarks on production of the 2014 incarnation of the series. Amongst connoisseurs of television themes Grainer is equally renowned for the atmospheric music for the opening and closing credits of The Prisoner series, starring Patrick McGoohan. His film credits include the scores for To Sir With Love (1967) and the Charlton Heston cult classic The Omega Man (1971).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2002
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Lewis Morley Archive LLC

Accession number: 2002.11

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Lewis Morley (age 40 in 1965)

Ron Grainer (age 43 in 1965)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Lewis Morley (49 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage
Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage
Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage
Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage

Myself and Eye

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Magda Keaney speaks with Lewis Morley about his photographic career and the major retrospective of his work on display at the NPG.

Ron Grainer, 1965 (printed 2002) Lewis Morley
Ron Grainer, 1965 (printed 2002) Lewis Morley
Ron Grainer, 1965 (printed 2002) Lewis Morley
Ron Grainer, 1965 (printed 2002) Lewis Morley

Dr Who?

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

It is not well known that the person who composed the famous theme music for the BBC's Doctor Who series was Australian Ron Grainer.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection

Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our photographers.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.