Beats like a galloping pulse rate. Otherworldly atmospheres and the wails of unearthly beings. Bargains with the all-powerful. Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ could have been written to soundtrack a brain battle with a skinless freak on Stranger Things. Instead, it revitalised the 1985 single, sending it into the US Top Ten for the first time and proving the power not just of the canny TV sync but of Bush’s breathless dramatic power. It’s not the only time her music has stolen the (TV) show either – here are ten more key Bush syncs that blew the actors clean off the screen.
GLOW – ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’
There’s rather less CGI apocalypse and more low-budget coughing to the scene in which attendees of the gender-fluid Libertines Ball flee a fire in season three of the wrestling saga, but those fluttering drums still stir up the drama and mystery of the moment as they emerge from the building to find the place covered in homophobic graffiti and it becomes clear they’ve been the victim of a hate crime. At least they’ve got Kate on their side.
Is the rest of it any good? Is wrestling fixed?
The Handmaid’s Tale – ‘Cloudbusting’
There’s blood on the carpet, a body that needs burning, firearms to procure and chores to do. At a pivotal point in season three of The Handmaid’s Tale, when June fought back against the lecherous Commander Winslow and proving once and for all that the pen is mightier than the sword, Kate Bush’s winsome ‘Cloudbusting’ echoed the glimpse of optimism that “something good is gonna happen”, even in Gilead.
Is the rest of it any good? Eight Emmys says yes.
Ashes To Ashes – ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’
Back – inexplicably – in 1981, twenty grand of charity dosh has been stolen in an armed robbery, and it’s up to Keeley Hawes’ time travelling cop Alex Drake to find it. As she girds herself for the task in the police station break room, and fields an awkward date proposition from DCI Hunt, Terry Wogan delivers news of the crime to the nation and plays Kate’s glacial hit, made all the more moving by the lingering shots of the classic ‘80s poster of the tennis player scratching her bare arse on the police station wall.
Is the rest any good? If you weren’t around for Cagney And Lacey, this is the next best thing.
Happy Valley – ‘Babooshka’
Ann Gallagher is happily singing along to a Kate Bush collection in the car when she’s rear-ended by a van midway through ‘Babooshka’, a song about people not being who they first appear. The van’s occupants turn out to be brutal kidnappers. See what they did there?
Is the rest any good? Dark as fuck, but good.
Shadow In The Cloud – ‘Hounds Of Love’
Make it through Chloë Grace Moretz’s enjoyable World War II romp from 2020, in which a gremlin terrorises a B-17 bomber en route to Samoa on a top secret mission, and your reward is a photo recap of the story accompanied by Kate’s own, rather more romantic creature feature.
Is the rest any good? “Pulpy fun,” says Rotten Tomatoes
The Golden Compass – ‘Lyra’
Another closing credits appearance, this time after surviving Chris Weitz’s children’s fantasy adventure about a daring seafaring rescue of some kidnapped children. Bush wrote the song specially for the film, naming it after the lead character Lyra Belacqua.
Is the rest any good? Ask yourself: are you seven?
Miami Vice – ‘Don’t Give Up’
As the final season of the sun-drenched ‘80s crime classic opened, James Crockett is suffering from amnesia following a head trauma sustained during a meeting between drug gangs that goes explosively wrong. Believing himself to be an alter-ego called Sonny Burnett, he becomes a drug lord himself, even going so far as to shoot Tubbs (who survives, natch). Slowly, his memory returns, and he gives himself up in episode two to the sound of Kate Bush’s guest appearance on Peter Gabriel’s job-seeking classic.
Is the rest any good? If gun-toting yacht chases are your thing, go for it.
The Pact – ‘This Woman’s Work’
A big favourite for ‘female hardship’ and ‘solo wine’ scenes, this falls into the latter category – following the death of her obnoxious boss in the woods and a pact between the four friends who dumped him there to say nothing of their involvement, brewery worker Anna (Laura Fraser) is busy necking red wine and contemplating her situation to the strains of ‘This Woman’s Work’, only to have the song dramatically cut short when her husband arrives home to tell her it’s now a murder investigation. Dun-dun-daaah.
Is the rest any good? Far-fetched, but worth a binge.
The Simpsons – ‘Pi’
Kate’s numerical acid-folk piece from ‘Aerial’, in which she recites Pi to its 137th decimal place (minus a chunk), soundtracked Bart and Lisa’s maths meet rematch against Waverly Hills Elementary. Still no guest appearance though – sort yourself out Groening.
Is the rest any good? It’s been downhill since season 10, apparently.
Being Human – ‘Wuthering Heights’
As a cultured elder vampire, at 237, Ivan clearly knows his musical stuff. Giving Carl a lift, he insists that one of the rules of his car is that he chooses the music, “and tonight we shall be listening to Miss Kate Bush”.
Is the rest any good? Decent, but upstaged by What We Do In The Shadows.