World In Action (Main Theme) (1977) | Shawn Phillips' Fans Web Site

World In Action (Main Theme) (1977)

Main theme of the “World In ActionTV serie of the late 70s presented by Granada UK TV.

Shawn Phillips wrote it on the spot, for John Shepphard, one of the producers for “World In Action”, at the time. The organ player was Mick Weaver, AKA Wynder K. Frog, and they were improvising.

Thanks to Fivestring for providing this gem.

45 responses

20 07 2009
Shawn Phillips

I wrote this piece of music. Jonathan Weston, was in fact my manager at the time, but he had nothing to do with the creation of it. In fact, he stole the royalties from me. All 189,000 pounds British Sterling of it.

31 12 2009
Mike McCrory

Thank you Shaun for the reply…
As I now approach my 50’s very fast! I am at the age where music acts as a time machine for me, taking me to places that seem to be on another planet, where memories are still intact and where the sun always shines, faces always smile and where family and old friends appear with an open hand and heart.

The ‘World In Action’ was a theme tune to a English TV political programme called ‘world In Action’ that was aired in the 70’s in the north west of England, that I watched with my dad,
I only watched it so I could here the sound track to the show.

So when I got ‘Broadband’ I took the chance to find out more about the music, then I found it on ‘YouTube’ the Weston lyrics and your music has hit a chord with me, because of the political climate it seems to speak volumes about the present day.
Just like to say thank you to you for your music.


10 02 2010

hi shawn, mate what a piece of music. I have searched for years and I mean years for this. Like others I used to watch the program to hear the music and the music was so fitting with the sibalius image shown on the openning credits of the show. A massive well done for writing it, Johnathan Weston needs a punch on the nose, cheeky bastard. Do you know if the music is available anywhere to buy, having said that if he is going to earn royalties fraudulently i would rather hop onto a website and listen to it. You should re release it my friend or write something similar it truly is a work of art and one that i can assure you that is engrained on every 45 years olds mind who lived in england. in fact I’m going to go and find Mr Weston and kickiminthebollocks.

21 10 2020

Good call ref the kickinthebollocks I second that

13 03 2013
Debbie Nixon

I agree with all the comments about how the music makes u feel. Nostalgia is so strong and I remember, understand now, my own thoughts n feelings from when the tune ran in our house…I think stuff like that made me think ‘cos of the interest it gave me for the programme!
Arr mum let me stay up an watch it!! I’m not tired, honest! I’m 46 now or summat an I too love the tune it’s p(art) of my youth….xxx
Hey Shawn YOU wrote it. xxx

25 05 2013
Richard Evans

Hi Shawn,
Sorry to read that you were turned over like this. I would like to get a copy of world in action theme as it brings back so many memories with its powerful evocative sound.
Can you suggest anything as searched iTunes and amazon mp3 in the UK with no success.
Your a music genius
Richard Evans

24 07 2018

You are clearly a genius Sir. Sorry to hear your old manager screwed you, bloody shame. Still, your legacy lives on. ATB Moose.

20 07 2009
Mike McCrory

Just listen to the ‘Youtube’ video of World in action Jam version, would like to say that the music and lyric mix is inspired! Genius!

3 01 2010

Takes me back to the days real reporting, have been looking for this track for ages.

15 03 2010
Barry Foster

Hi Shawn, this theme tune from World In Action in the 1970s is the by far, the best theme tune to a tv series i have ever had the pleasure to listen to, its a tragic disgrace that you and Mick Weaver were never credited with its creation given that it is a monumental masterpiece of history in music and i along with countless others have enjoyed it time and again. I also searched for years trying to find it without any success but thanks to the digital age, i was able to download the video clip and convert it to audio only so i now have this fabulous track to enjoy as much as i want, thank you for your brilliance in giving the British public this timeless wonder and may Jonathan Weston shit the bed every night for the rest of his worthless life.

2 04 2010
Mike McCrory

Shawn, it seems that your ‘World In Action’ theme is having a renaissance to what we Brits know as a TV theme tune to a political show of the 70’s, has hit a chord with us. Have you thought about re-releasing it?

25 09 2010
Jeff Egan

I’m 56 and remember this piece so well. I’ve even took a big liberty without permission and created a couple of versions (variations) on you tube as a tribute.
If it annys shawn or anyone else, i will remove it. I just couldn’t stop myself.

Check out “Jeff Egan” on You Tube, you never know it might make money for Shawn.

21 10 2010
Doug Short

Hi Shawn.

I’m delighted to have found this clip of the entire piece and was shocked and astonished to hear of the scandal behind the disputed composing rights. I can’t comment on that, but applaud whatever level of involvement you had with it. I, like many others were captivated by this evocative piece of music.

Why can’t you just sit down at a Hammond organ and rerecord/reinterpret it then upload it here as an MP3 file. I will gladly pay you the cost of a decent iPhone app for it. Perhaps all your other fans can put their money where their mouths are and do the same then we can right what sounds like a very major injustice here!

Think about it.

Best wishes.

Doug Short
Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland

3 04 2011
Niall Scott

I just remembered about the World in Action theme tune the other day when it popped into my head. I checked it out online and forgot how amazing it is, the sound of the organ, everything about it is incredible, take me back to my childhood. I would LOVE to hear a whole album of material in a similar vein to this wonderful piece of music. Did you ever record anything else on the organ similar to this Shawn?????

2 08 2011
john butler

jam for world in action is the most perfect tune for the programme, evoking so much of the emotion of the times at which i most watched it (early 70s to mid 80s).

i would love to be able to by shawn’s version whether on cd or as a download that could be played on an ipod.

perhaps if enough of us ask ever so politely, maybe shawn would make it available (please)?

many thanks.

best wishes

john butler

9 01 2012

World in Action jam sheer brilliance!

25 01 2012


This music is truly haunting and takes me back some 30 years lying awake listening to the TV being watched by my parents. I echo the comments of others on here, and would buy a copy without hesitation, provided you were properly rewarded.

Thanks once again for providing me with a fantastic trip down memory lane.

13 02 2012

So, for those still wishing to have permission to use this in a production, who does manage the licensing now?

7 01 2013
Barry Lamb

Brilliant theme music…so evocative. Reminds me a bit of Dave Greenslade’s organ playing on Valentyne Suite by Colosseum. Wonderful Hammond sound. I type this on 7th Jan 2013. ITV1 is currently showing “The World in Action Years”. Brilliant programme!

7 01 2013
Mr Paul Joseph Hatton

Hi All try “THIS WEEK” Think they might have become a “TAD” jealous of this awsome track , MOUNTAIN “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” OK not dedicated to the programme but will take you right back to the “Moment”

7 01 2013
Andrew Halls

‘Watched ‘The World in Action Years’ on ITV tonight … the music is just phenomenal … Mick Weaver’s performance on Hammond is every bit as good as anything Dave Greenslade ever did … thanks guys

7 01 2013
Mr Paul Joseph Hatton

EEEK! Can’t wait for the bib and the porridge “This Week WAS the boring one It WAS the later Theme tune to “WORLD in ACTION ” that I Recall and it was “NANTUCKET SLEIGH RIDE ” by MOUNTAIN (Did I use the word RECALL? gettin all ambitious again

7 01 2013

I have just watched a tv show looking back on world in action and I had to look up the theme tune, I loved the theme when I was a kid in the 70’s but only just listened to the full version about 10 minutes ago. I would love a copy of this on vinyl, Thanks for bring it Shawn

9 01 2013
simon walker

It has taken nearly 30 years to discover who wrote this fabulous Hammond Piece (Both beginning and ending slots). It has a burning memory for me growing up as kid in the UK in the 70’s and later with Hammond enthusiasts would talk about Keith Emerson, Tony Banks, et al in pubs and always wondered about the World In Action Theme as it just blew us away. Thanks 100%

12 03 2013
James Percival

I always wanted to know too, but I do remember it cropping up in one of those question and answer sections in a newspaper long before the internet revolution

27 02 2013
Bob Cheeseman

Like so many of the messages here I echo these thoughts. Loved the Music in the 70’s and would love the track to be issued with the credits going to the writer of this genius piece of music. Good luck Shawn.

12 03 2013
James Percival

One of the greatest TV themes ever, and I have just been listening to it via Jeff Egan’s editing and uploading. So many great TV themes at that time that now act as a kind of nostalgic time machine for this 50 year old man! For the record it was ‘Weekend World’ that used Mountain’s Nantucket Sleigh ride. ‘This Week’ used the Intermezzo from Sibelius’ Karelia Suite. I have quite a few cds of TV themes, but Granada have never officially released this; a great shame.

13 03 2013
Jeff Egan

Hi folks, just a minor correction here.
My upload on you tube is not an edited version of Shawn and Mick’s work. It is a completely original, revamped variation on the same theme. If you compare the two you will notice my version is a bit wrong however its my best rendition of a truely magnificent work. Thanks for listening
Jeff Egan

26 10 2013
World in Action Theme | Shawn Phillips ← Amitai Givertz's Blogversity Blog

[…] Musical Credit: Shawn Phillips […]

11 05 2015
Paul Gadman

Thank you Shawn it really is an amazing piece of music. I remember it being quite an imposing scary tune when I was young and my dad would watch WIA but that’s probably due to the issues the programme would cover; miners strikes Brixton riots etc. Itd send shivers up my spine!! I still find it an eerie piece but I absolutely love it.
The thing is I’ve always thought it was taken from a Pink Floyd album. I was watching a documentary on them and they were playing it in the background! I’ve sat many nights going through their albums stoned or drunk and wondering why I’ve never found it. Oh well I’ve enjoyed looking! Lol
Many thanks Shawn again go and claim your royalties, he’s got plenty.

31 01 2016
russell retallick

I am surprised that with a program like world in action which reported on and questioned rights and exposed wrongs,that a theft like this was allowed to happen.It is not only an insult to shawn and all the other musicians involved,but an insult to all the reporters efforts and risks they took to make the program.

31 01 2016

I believe you have not seen the last of this music / them – it carries an incredibly high credibility factor for those in an age group.. where wia was the only resource for truthful, factual material.. in my opinion.

19 03 2017
Tim Down

Echo the above. Such an evocative piece. Thank you Shawn.

24 06 2017
Bernard Davies

Hi, I too watched “World In Action”, sometimes just long enough to hear your wonderful music. I reckon it is on a par with Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross”. I hope to find the music on CD one day soon.

26 06 2017
Jeff egan

You are right! Its a superb piece written from the gut. So poignant for current times, in fact it a timeless warning. I have it as a ringtone and when my phone kicks off, everyone in earshot perks up.

I doubt you will find it on CD due to a dispute over rites etc. Hovever, if you trawl youtube, you should find it in its entirity, posted by fivestring. You will also find a version by me; its ok but nowhere near as edgy as the original.

Good luck with your search.

Jeff egan

3 01 2018
Sean Daley

I can only reiterate all the above.
This piece has haunted me for 40 years.
I am 66 yrs old and although I have no musical education or background, I bought a midi keyboard a year ago with the sole intention of one day playing that mesmerising theme myself.
It is second only to Toccata in it’s “You WILL Listen to this!” factor.

Thus far, with the help of Synthesia, Studio One, Hautptwerk and Grand Orgue, I have managed to produce reasonable facsimiles of several of some of my old favourites.
But all I want is to fulfill that dream of playing that theme tune.
I have trawled the net for any midi version to no avail, can’t even find any sheet music for it.
If anyone has any idea how or where I can get hold of a midi file for this I would be ecstatic.
I have MS and it has started to affect my right hand, so time is of the essence here.LOL.

28 02 2018
Adrian furmage

Shawn why was this music meant to be scary for it would scary shit out of me has young child when I go to bed for school in late 80s my parents would watch it

14 04 2018

Ive just downloaded a tv theme album and this track is on it. My God does it bring back memories, such a great track. BRILLIANT

16 04 2018
Jean Boissonneault

Thanks Bill. Could you tell us what is this album?

17 04 2018
Sean Daley

Yes, I’d like to know what album it is too 🙂

26 10 2018
Lofty Holloway

I enjoyed watching the series for its theme music and narration by the late Peter Wheeler, who was also one of the voice overs for What a The Papers Say And ‘Crown Court’, all by Granada, enjoyed very much the hard work that went into the many series over the years, years on, even today, cannot except that it’s gone,

20 04 2020
Trevor Coles

It seems I’m not the only one haunted by this theme, I think in a memorable way, yes it brings back memories of my dad watching the programme back in the 80’s.

6 05 2020
anastasiadate sex

Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this website, and article
is actually fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these types of articles.

9 06 2020

I’m sure there was a compilation album of heavy metal and one of the bands played the theme song. This was early eighties.

21 10 2020
Trevor Penn

Hi Shawn,
Thank you so much for composing such an amazing piece, thanks also to Mick Weaver for his outstanding Hammond organ which I’m attempting to get my youngest Son to emulate, where can we get Sheet music for this memory provoking music (takes me back to my childhood)
I hope you once get all the Royalties back that you are owed, John Sheppard needs a damn good kicking 😖

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