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Liverpool student becomes youngest TV composer in British broadcasting history

4 weeks ago

Liverpool student becomes youngest TV composer in British broadcasting history

Liverpool student Patrick Bennett has become the youngest TV composer in British broadcasting history after creating an original score for BBC hit show Granite Harbour.

Patrick Bennett was only 18 when he completed the music for the second series of the Aberdeen-based crime drama, and he says: “I’m on a high, I’m ecstatic.

“It’s crazy, so surreal, and I am thankful to everyone who’s given me this opportunity.”

A student at LIPA – although that’s had to take a back seat while he was composing the score for Granite Harbour, produced by Liverpool-based LA Productions and its lead team of Colin McKeown and Donna Molloy – Patrick decided he wanted to be a TV and film composer after being blown away by the film score for 1917.

“I was 14 and I was watching the film at the cinema and it had a score by composer Thomas Newman. In particular, there was one scene which was a big drone shot of a French town that had been bombed in World War One, and I was just mesmerised by the music over it, a piece called Night Window.

“I was just wow, that’s what I need to do.

“I was a guitar player then, not necessarily a writer, but I had always been creative and music was a way to channel that creativity. And I just knew that was what I wanted to do.”

Patrick’s love of music was inspired and encouraged by his Wallasey-born dad Greg, who was a collector of music memorabilia and vinyl.

Patrick Bennett

Patrick said:

“I’ve grown up around music. But dad was into sport too. He’s a massive Liverpool fan, he loves football and rugby, everything you can think of, so he tried me out with all these sports, basketball, cricket, swimming, football … and I was like, dad, I can’t do this, and he said, yes, I know!

“I asked him ‘what do we do?’ and he told me we were going out. He took me to a guitar shop which I thought it was really cool, and I got a little guitar off the wall, just a little cheap thing … and then I sat in my room with it for about 10 years. I got into music through that,” adds Patrick who’s now mastered guitar, bass guitar, piano, and a number of other instruments.

After seeing 1917 Patrick began composing music and only a year later had one of his original compositions played on BBC Radio 5 Live. 

At 18 he secured a place at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) on the Contemporary and Commercial Music BA degree course.

It was in Liverpool that Patrick was approached by his now-manager Roag Best, brother of ex-Beatle Pete and son of Apple MD Neil Aspinall, and who in turn approached Colin McKeown, known for his commitment to nurturing new talent.

Colin gave Patrick, now aged 19, the chance to compose an original score for the second series of Granite Harbour, and it was accepted by him and the BBC.

“I’d just come out of a lecture and Roag rang me up to say an amazing opportunity had come my way, and that Colin had finished filming his new series in Scotland and he wanted me to do the music.

“We went for a meeting and it was a slow process, everyone kept their cards close to their chest, and eventually Colin said they really liked my stuff and that I’d blown them away – his words not mine.”

Patrick Bennett watched the first series in a day, before watching the new second series and writing the music for it over about five or six months.

Patrick Bennett

He says:

“It’s been an incredible process, daunting but exciting and mind-blowing.”

And while it might now be back to the lecture theatre and music rooms at LIPA, his ambition has been fired.

While he can’t say more Patrick reveals he’s in negotiations about a possible feature film, and he would one day love to create the score for a major Hollywood blockbuster.

“There are films that are recognisable as much for their music and that would be the dream; maybe a film by Martin Scorsese – that would be one of the big ones.

“This is all incredible, and I’m just so thankful to everyone involved in this creative journey.”

Granite Harbour returns to BBC Scotland on Thursday, May 2 (10pm) and to BBC One on Friday, May 3 at 8pm. 

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