Composer Tom Howe worked with Marcus Mumford on AppleTV+’s Emmy-winning Ted Lasso. Their collaboration proved key in establishing the base score and themes for the joyous sports comedy. They continued their partnership over Ted Lasso Season Two, largely following the same approach but expanding the score to incorporate themes for the growing and evolving roster of characters within the show.
This time, their score leans heavily into more emotional moments, following the narrative of the darker season two arc.
“It definitely leans more into the emotion [in season two]. [Ted] obviously has this breakdown, so there was a sound world for that. Really, across season two, there was more time to let a cue play out,” Howe shared. “The best example of that is in the funeral episode with Rebecca and Ted where you’ve got them telling their stories. It’s a very emotionally driven thing. Then, you get to a point about two minutes into the sequence when it leans into the music from the dad and dart scene in episode one when Ted’s talking about his father. It brings you back into that familiar territory. In truth, we were massively helped there by the performances, so it makes our job easier.”
Another major plot point that required careful sonic support across season two became Nate’s (Nick Mohammed) journey to the dark side. His theming started with lighter, friendlier-sounding instrumentation such as mandolins and guitars. Later in the season, Nate becomes upset after failing to receive approval from his father and spits on his reflection in a mirror. At that moment, the theme begins to pick up darker notes with synthesizers.
When Ted faces his full mental breakdown, the presence of Nate is felt through the score as Nate’s theme plays across the scene.
“Once you have that kind of DNA of a theme, you can hopefully, if it’s a good theme, it should be malleable and be able to be hopefully made to fit the scene with harmony and instrumentation,” Howe said.
Inversely, Roy’s (Brett Goldstein) theme returned to a piano form over season two, mirroring Roy’s journey to becoming a happier, more mellow person. He, of course, still has outbursts of anger, but Howe believes there’s a distinct purity to Roy Kent. As a result, Roy’s season two theme stems mainly from the piano where the chords are effectively hidden, resulting in a simple and clear harmony.
Yet, across the entire season, the actual sport sequences remain the most challenging for Howe to compose. Those moments require Howe and Mumford’s score to help drive the events forward and not interfere with the emotion of the action or overplay the dialogue. Also, one sequence in episode eight, “Man City,” when AFC Richmond enters Wembley Stadium for the first time saw an orchestral variation of the score underplay the scene.
“Obviously we haven’t done anything orchestral, and so they wanted a big, kind of anthemic thing as they walked in using the main tune. We tried lots of different things, and then suddenly, we just decided to try something set orchestrally and just go for it,” Howe offered. “Sometimes you don’t want to fight the picture. You just want to be led by it, and, when you see the inside of the stadium, it does need to be kind of rousing and epic, which I think it is.”
Ted Lasso streams exclusively on AppleTV+.