The Music of Doctor Who

When we reflect upon some of the clearest memories we have of events in our lives, we may be able to pick up on more than just the things we witnessed visually at those moments. We might recall the temperature and feel of the air when we rode our first roller coaster. We might remember the smell of a grandparent’s kitchen. We could taste the first decadent dessert we enjoyed at a graduation dinner. How often do you recall what was playing through the carnival loudspeakers, or on the kitchen radio, or from the restaurant sound system at the time? Was there any accompanying music to be remembered at all? It’s not often that we have a readily provided soundtrack to these indelible memories, but yet when we remember our favorite scenes from Doctor Who, it’s far more likely that in addition to the images displayed and the dialogue spoken, we can recall the nature of the music that scored them. It is, as we like to say, the “unseen character” in some of the most memorable sequences.

This week, long-time GPR companion Julie joins us in studio to discuss the composers and compositions that have added so much to the emotional impact of Doctor Who since its inception. From the first laborious efforts of Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire in composing the official theme, to the substantial contributions of Dudley Simpson in the classic era and (naturally) Murray Gold in the post-2005 era, we remark upon the characteristics of what makes certain scores so important to scenes we hold most dear. We also theorize a bit about Murray Gold’s as-of-yet-unknown successor, and what an agonizing challenge it will be to fill those shoes.

EXTRA: Another round of “Desert Island Doctors”…the entertainment edition!