Billy Connolly’s World Tours

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“Commissioned music by Ralph McTell.”

Ralph McTell was commissioned to provide songs and tunes for the soundtracks of three of Billy Connolly’s ‘Word Tour of…’ television travelogues.

The soundtrack of each ‘Tour’ includes prominent use of McTell compositions, notably ‘The Islands’ for Scotland, ‘In the Dreamtime’ for Australia, and ‘England’ for England, Ireland and Wales.

World Tour of Scotland
The first of Billy’s ‘World Tours’ was filmed in 1994 and shown in six episodes on BBC TV later that year. The credits include ‘Commissioned music’ by Billy Connolly, Ralph McTell and Graham Preskett.

The soundtrack features an instrumental version of Ralph’s ‘The Islands’, and Ralph is heard singing portions of ‘The Islands’ and ‘Flower of Scotland’.


VHS – Released 1994 – Polygram 6336703.
DVD – Released 2004 – Universal 8227625.

Musical Tour of Scotland
A CD of ‘Music from the award-winning series Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Scotland’ was issued in 1995. The music is not, however, from the broadcast soundtrack, though snippets of some of the CD’s songs and tunes do feature throughout the televised series.

Ralph sings four songs on the CD…

‘Will Ye Go’ (Trad. arr. Graham Preskett)
‘The Islands’ (Ralph McTell/Maartin Allcock)
‘Tangle of the Isles’ (Trad. arr. Graham Preskett)
‘Flower of Scotland’ (Roy Williamson)

…and there are instrumental versions of Ralph’s ‘The Islands’ and ‘Barges’.


CD – Released 1995 in UK – Tickety-Boo 529816-2.
CD – Released 1995 in Australia – Polydor 529816-2.

Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Australia
Billy Connolly’s ‘World Tour of Australia’ was filmed in 1995 and shown in eight episodes on BBC TV the following year. The credits include ‘Commissioned music’ by Graham Preskett and Ralph McTell.

The inlay of the double cassette ‘Edited Video Soundtrack’ lists 34 titles. Ralph is credited as performing on nine of them, and as the composer of three: ‘In the Dreamtime’, ‘Worker’s Dreamtime’ and ‘Burnt Offering’. With the exception of ‘In the Dreamtime’, which Billy sings over the DVD’s closing credits, the individual musical tracks are not readily identifiable.


Audio Cassette – Released 1996 – Speaking Volumes 5340304.
DVD – Released 2004 – Universal 8227624.

Billy Connolly’s World Tour of England, Ireland and Wales
Billy Connolly’s third ‘World Tour’, taking in England, Ireland and Wales, was shown in eight episodes on BBC TV in 2002. The credits include ‘Commissioned music’ by Billy Connolly, Ralph McTell, Chris Parkinson, Chris Leslie and Dave Pegg, with Cara Dillon for the ‘Ireland’ episodes, and Mary Hopkin for ‘Wales’.

Ralph sings a verse of his song ‘England‘ over the closing credits of the ‘England’ episodes, whilst Cara Dillon and Mary Hopkin each adapt the verse for ‘Ireland’ and ‘Cymru’ respectively. The DVD of the series includes instrumental audio tracks of Ralph’s ‘Theme Tune’, ‘Sea Breeze’ and ‘The Setting’, but there are no performing credits for them.


DVD – Released 2004 – Universal 9031239.