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Robert Sharples (2 July 1913 – 8 September 1987) was a British musical conductor, composer and bandleader, whose work encompassed films and well-known British television programmes in the 1960s and 1970s.
Sharples was born in Bury, Lancashire, England. He began his musical career in 1934, when he joined the Freddy Platt band at the Carlton Ballroom, Rochdale along with Geoff Love; Sharples played piano, and Love played trombone. In 1963, Sharples conducted the London Festival Orchestra, augmented with military band, in a London Records' Phase 4 Stereo recording of Tschaikovsky's 1812 Overture, backed with the same composer's Nutcracker Suite, showing his skill as a "light classics" conductor.
His best-known compositions are in the field of TV theme music. Under the pseudonym Robert Earley he wrote the themes for Public Eye and the later series of Special Branch, and under the pseudonym E. Ward composed the theme music for the 1969 television series Fraud Squad. Sharples' other TV credits include themes for The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, the early 1970s Thames series Man At The Top and the 1975 BBC documentary series The Explorers, as well as incidental music to Follyfoot. He is perhaps best known as the musical director on the talent show Opportunity Knocks, whose host Hughie Green would routinely refer to him as "Uncle Bob" Sharples.
- Obituary, The Guardian 9 September 1987 p 34
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