Wallander: Mobile Ringtone Mystery Solved
Fans of the hit BBC drama Wallander could soon be able to buy the ultimate accessory: the mobile phone ringtone used by the detective.
The Telegraph, 13 January 2010
In the show, the grumpy Swedish police inspector, played by Kenneth Branagh, has a distinctive ringtone on his Sony Ericsson mobile phone – a gadget that never leaves his side.
The origin of the ringtone has become a talking point among fans on message boards on the internet. One, on PBS, said: "I love the defeated simplicity of Kurt's ring", while another, Ben Hunt, the author of the Material Witness crime fiction blog, has written an entire eulogy to the haunting quality of the ringtone.
"The ringtone of Kurt Wallander's mobile phone is shrill, insistent, impossible to ignore and just a little bit hypnotic. As such the phone represents the pull of the job on Wallander's life: it is always on; liable to go off at any second; it has an unbreakable hold on him," Mr Hunt wrote on the blog.
However, no fan has been able to track down the name or composer of the tune used in the ring tone, despite repeated requests to Sony Ericsson and the BBC.
The tone, it can now be revealed by Telegraph.co.uk, was especially composed for the programme by Lee Crichlow, the sound effects editor for Left Bank Pictures. The company is the independent production house that co-produces the English-language show for the BBC. It was also behind 'Prime Suspect'.
A spokesman for the company said: "We're a bit puzzled by the interest in the ringtone, but we noticed when a ringtone company contacted us to see if we were willing to sell them the music.
"We never in a million years thought this could be a revenue stream for us, but if Wallander fans really want to have it, we don't see why we should deny them."
Left Bank Pictures decided to compose its own tune, rather than use a commercially available one, for two reasons.
The company not only wanted to avoid paying any royalties to an existing company or composer but it was also keen, according to the spokesman, "to create something distinct and alien. British audiences should feel the drama is unfolding in a foreign land, even though they are all talking English. Stylistically, it was important people didn't recognise it."
The final episode of the current series, which has received rave reviews, airs on Sunday, January 17 on BBC One.
Left Bank said the ringtone had no special name other than 'Wallander's ring tone'. It will go sale in a month or two if the company can agree terms with the ringtone distributor.