At the age of 16 he began attending the Royal College of Music, studying composition with Gordon Jacob. After fighting in the Second World War, he returned to London to teach composition at the Royal College.
He began to collaborate with the cinema environment composing his first soundtrack for the film "Seven days to Noon" (1950) by the Boulting brothers.
With the film "Tom Jones" (1963) he gets the Oscar for the best soundtrack. In 1966 Alfred Hitchcock chose him to replace Bernard Herrmann in the music of "Torn Curtain ".
In the seventies and eighties he composed for television, achieving popularity in 1984 with the famous musical theme of the telefilm "The Lady in Yellow", for which he won the Emmy Award the following year.
He was the author, among other things, of a concert for trumpet, strings and percussion, a trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, a sextet for wind instruments and harp and a piano concerto.