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Former Granada reporter and BAFTA-nominated composer’s musical lands on streaming sites

The lead track from a new musical penned by Manchester journalist Rob McLoughlin and Ivor Novello and BAFTA-nominated composer Mark Russell has been released to stream.

Soho Dreams was first performed during lockdown as an audio project with a cast drawn from graduates of the Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow. Workshops were later held in Islington in 2022, directed by Rosie Parker with Ryan Mackenzie as musical director.

A showcase was held in late 2022 at The Other Palace featured Jessica Pardoe as Samantha Serraillier, Philip Pope as Albie and Harry Mills as Michael Peters.

The track This Is My Life has now been released by Bucks Music on SPOTIFY, Apple Music and streamers worldwide, with further tracks due this month. Recordings for the singles and EP include performances by Pardoe, Daniel Bravo and Barry Keenan and Lee Turner.

Russell and McLoughlin met as students at University of York, and first discussed working together in the early 1980s. Russell composed music for political show The Spin, created and presented by Rob for Granada TV, and later collaborated on Granada’s 40th birthday special which saw the RLPO (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) and the Halle combine in a TV and radio spectacular with stars such as Cilla Black and Barbara Dickson (1996).

He composed the music for the original series of Cold Feet for Granada and worked on a range of productions for the BBC and ITV, including the drama Whitechapel and the long-running Who Do You Think You Are? as well as Kingdom, which starred Stephen Fry, The Worst Witch and The Evermoor Chronicles. He also worked with Jerry Seinfeld in Hollywood and presented Mixing It on BBC R3 for 17 years with the late Robert Sandall of The Sunday Times.

Rob McLoughlin became a reporter and presenter for Granada Television working on World in Action, Granada Reports and also contributed to ITN before he became an executive and later board director of the company. He has worked in the independent sector and for the BBC as well as channels abroad. He created The Virtual Grand National (ITV) which replaced the real race in the lockdowns of 2020 and raised millions for NHS Charities Together (their covid campaign raised £160m and NHSCT credits the programme with raising awareness of the charity).

McLoughlin first went on stage as an impressionist as a child and then as part of a satirical show which toured universities, colleges, and arts venues in England. He began broadcasting professionally with Radio City in his hometown of Liverpool and in 1994 was one of the first voices on BBC Radio 5 Live as he hosted Morning Reports and Weekend Breakfast alongside Jane Garvey.

In 2015 he was appointed an OBE for Services to Broadcasting.

He first suggested the story and characters for the musical, Soho Dreams, to Russell in Derwent College, York and they began writing the music in 2015.

Simon Platz, CEO of Bucks Music, said: “The music in Soho Dreams is brilliantly engaging, a mix of dance and drama as well as comedy which really captures the excitement and danger which was in the air and in many ways, mirrors much of the mood today.”

McLoughlin said: “Soho Dreams is a story we’ve wanted to tell for a long time. It shows how influential the district was – for good and bad – and how it was a crucible for much of today’s attitudes and social battles. It was inspired by Mary Magdalene’s story and Bizet’s Carmen without any reference to them in the show.”

Soho Dreams tells the story of a Salford man’s experiences in London as punk segues into new romantic and features 16 original compositions by Russell. Discussions are underway about a full production.

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