Malcolm Williamson A Mischievous Muse

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The extraordinary story of Malcolm Williamson, whose rich creative gifts were undermined by a self-destructive streak.

After living a wild, bohemian life since arriving in London from Sydney in the early 1950's, Williamson settled down under the influence of his American wife to become a highly successful composer, as hugely productive as he was outspoken and controversial, his work possessing a popular appeal rare in the 1960s. Made Master of the Queen's Music - the first non-Briton to be so honoured - he seemed set for an even more brilliant career.

But the royal post, undertaken in 1975 at a period of great personal crisis, proved hugely damaging. Having failed to complete some high-profile works for the Queen's Silver Jubilee, he quickly gained a reputation for unreliability. Subsequently excluded from the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and other important royal occasions, he was the constant target of innuendo in the media, suggesting he had offended Buckingham Palace by improper or outrageous behaviour. The Master of the Queen's Music was largely forgotten at the time of his death in 2003.