The evocative theme music for the long-running television series All Creatures Great and Small and the orchestral accompaniments on Top of the Pops were among the many accomplishments of the pianist and composer Johnny Pearson, who has died aged 85. With a background in classical music and jazz, Pearson had a long career that spanned light music and easy listening.
He was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and as a teenager played classical and jazz piano. After national service, he played in the Malcolm Mitchell Trio, touring on the variety circuit, and accompanied visiting Americans such as Hoagy Carmichael and Maxine Sullivan. Pearson co-wrote novelty numbers such as Man Or Mouse that were recorded by the trio for Parlophone.
He left the trio in 1954 and turned to work in radio in an era when every light entertainment show had its resident musicians.