What music is used for the theme tune of The Apprentice?

With the new series of the BBC's The Apprentice on the way, let’s take a look at the TV show’s iconic theme tune

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The dark and brooding theme tune for The Apprentice comes from the Dance of the Knights in Prokofiev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet. Sergey Prokofiev’s music has been used as the theme tune for the UK version of the show since the first series in 2005. The drama of the music provides the perfect backdrop to the opening sequence of the show as the candidates prepare to battle it out for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment. It also works perfectly in juxtaposition to the show’s more humorous moments.

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The Apprentice 2012 opening sequence (Meet the Candidates)

In Prokofiev’s equally dramatic ballet, the music provides the background to the Capulet ball, depicting the Capulets dancing in a slow and dignified way. There are pounding beats in the brass and a dramatically rising and falling theme in the strings. The brass later come to the fore with a strident and ominous melody of their own, initially accompanied by, and later, set in counterpoint with the strings.

Dance of the Knights from The Royal Ballet’s Production of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet

The theme has previously been used on TV as background music for the 1990s advert for Chanel’s ‘Egoiste’ fragrance. It is also the music that is used by the Sunderland football club as they run onto the pitch at home games.

The best-known version of the ballet is the revised edition that premiered in 1940 at the Kirov Theatre in Russion. Prokofiev’s original version of the ballet (composed in 1935) was extremely controversial as Prokofiev had made major changes to the story, most significantly, giving the work a happy ending in which the lovers do not die, as is the case in Shakespeare’s original play, but are instead granted a happy ending as they dance towards a better future. This was unsurprisingly considered step too far by Soviet officials and its premiere was subsequently postponed indefinitely.

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For one of this year’s apprentice contestants, however, there will be a happy ending as they are presented with Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment.