1. Maid Marian and her Merry Men -
Although this song came at the end of the episode rather than the beginning, it's still the theme tune because A) the beginning didn't really have music as such, B) everyone knows this word for word, and C) it's fucking awesome. What makes it so fab is the simple, 4 or 5 note melody that makes it easy to remember. Also, it always follows something brilliant happening, usually involving the Sheriff of Nottingham getting covered in mud. Plus, the show was set in Worksop, 5 miles from where I grew up. Thus, this song was performed every morning by the class at my school, in lieu of hymns or a pledge of allegiance. I may or may not be lying.
2. The Family Ness - "You'll never find a Nessie in the zoo" -
I realise this is another closing theme, but I have good reasons for choosing it. While its counterpart at the beginning is equally catchy and well written, the closing song is the one I'm really in love with. Especially the above, which is the full length version that appears at the end of the last episode. It's heartwarming and cheery all in one, and I love it. Since, by this time, the audience has come to know and love the Nessies so much, it's great to know they'll always get one over on people trying to Poach them for Chester Zoo, Disneyland or similar. That means they'll never have to spend their days cooped up in front of a load of snotty kids throwing McPeanuts at them out of boredom. My favourite part is at 0:33, where the Nessies are all doing the 'Fuck you Mr Zookeeper' dance.
3. Around the world with Willy Fog -
I have become a recent convert to this show, despite my previous scathing attack (half arsed rambling). One of the main reasons for this sudden change of heart is that BLOODY theme tune! Addictive is not the word - it is the crack cocaine of the 80s cartoon theme tune world. To give you some reference point, Clangers or Bagpuss might be considered as being Horlicks - dreamy, comforting and sweet. This song, on the other hand, where do I start? Oh sure, you might be immune the first time you hear it but trust me, you won't be left in peace for long. Just how is any mortal supposed to resist a tune that takes 'jaunty' to a level never before experienced by man, woman or lion? Then there is Fog's singing voice, which we have all tried to replicate after a few drinks. And when I say we, I mean me.
4. Count Duckula -
A dark horse in the line up here, one that many might pass over in favour of its more famous cousin, Dangermouse. I, however, do not like to run with the herd. Of course I already have a soft spot for this show for several reasons. Firstly, it was created by Cosgrove Hall (of 'Lines and Shapes' fame). Secondly, it combines two of my favourite things in the world - vampires and ducks. So, even if this theme tune was shit I'd still love it. But shit it is not; ace it is. This song just screams '80s power rock' at you - so much so that it could have been performed by Meat Loaf, and probably was, one night in a karaoke bar somewhere.
A slow, creepy build up, followed by the obligatory snappy drum intro, then wallop - straight into big hair, high notes and power chords. Love it.
5. Pokemon (U.S. version)
Possibly an entry that doesn't quite fit in with the rest of this list - in fact, I only discovered the Pokemon cartoons a couple of years ago, but have been working my way through them with rapt adoration ever since. The show is one of those rare treats that come around every so often. From a distance it might strike you as another shouting, epilepsy inducing cartoon for hyperactive 10 year old boys, but dig deeper and it becomes charming, slightly insane and hilariously funny, not to mention it has characters you care about and a plot you want to follow.
So, the theme tune. Why is it on my list? I'm just going to put my hands up on this one and say pure-damn-catchiness. Plus when you hear it, you know an episode of Pokemon is about to start, which is a 10 on the 'fuck you, I may be 28 but I'm cool' scale.
Honourable mention - Chorlton and the Wheelies
Do not - I repeat - do not accidentally listen to this theme tune when you are having sex, or are about to have sex. It happened to me and an old boyfriend. We were getting down to it one night, and I'd left a random 80s cartoons DVD playing. All of a sudden an entire orchestra of Carry On style whistles and springs piped up. Needless to say, our ardour was replaced by fits of giggles. A million times better than a cold shower, but we still laugh about it now. Those were the days.