As announced last month, Silva Screen are releasing an incredible limited edition Doctor Who
soundtrack boxset featuring eleven discs of music spanning every era of
The Doctor. This magnificent collection, due for release in early 2014,
comes presented in its very own TARDIS boxset and is a must for any fan
of Doctor Who music through the years. Also included in the set are notes from classic Who composer Mark Ayres and notes from various composers through the years.

In this EXCLUSIVE series for Blogtor Who, Silva Screen
are releasing these fascinating notes ahead of the boxset’s release
next year. Today sees Part Three which includes notes from composer Dudley Simpson and Mark Ayres (which are abridged and will continues through
this series). Also included are the front and back covers for The Third Doctor disc included in the boxset (click on them for bigger versions.
Many thanks to Silva Screen, visit their site HERE.

I had recently completed a world tour as Musical Director and Conductor for Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn when, during a coffee break while conducting at the Royal Opera House in 1963, I was approached by BBC Producer Gerard Glaister to write a score for Moonstrike, which was to be my entry into composing music for television. One of the directors working on that wartime drama series suggested I might be interested in writing for him on a science fiction series and… “thereby hangs a tale” as they say…

Doctor Who was always exciting to work on and of course “new”… it had never been done before. But that was the challenge after all, and I took to it with great interest. It was amazing that families would race home to watch the Saturday night episodes, and the kids would be hiding behind the sofa when they heard my music together with Radiophonics from Delia Derbyshire, Brian Hodgson, Dick Mills and company. This of course was initially without synthesisers (they didn’t exist back then!) and I had only two or three players as that’s all the Beeb could afford: I had to make do with that and a little imagination.

Later I managed to get a few more players to help me realise my ideas. But I must stress that the experience I had gained from working with orchestras in Australia and at the Royal Opera House and abroad, more than helped me to create those scores. Towards the end of my Doctor Who writing period I had a great team of players, seven at most, who worked miracles for me and, with the aid of The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, we made history! I found that each episode of Doctor Who gave me the greatest challenges I have faced in music. Cheers for now…

Abridged album notes from Mark Ayres [Part 3]
Australian composer Dudley Simpson’s first score for Doctor Who was Planet of Giants in 1964, and within a couple of years he had established his position as the show’s “house” composer: he was to become its most prolific musical contributor to date. From the use of electronic organs, synthesisers solo or enhanced with percussion, small chamber groups with or without synth overdubs, Dudley constantly came up with inventive new approaches to television scoring (generally in response to changes in the – always small – budget) that inspired many – myself included. All of these ensembles are represented here, along with the little themes he composed for Tom Baker’s Doctor and robot dog K9. Special mention should be made of Tristan Fry (percussion) and Leslie Pearson (piano and organ) who were the backbone of the “Dudley Simpson Orchestra”.

Don Harper was another Australian, though he contributed John Barry-style spy music to just one story, The Invasion (1968). This adventure also featured some of those Hodgson sounds that blurred the music / effects boundary.

When the meagre budgets would not stretch to original music, Production Music (that is, music composed for music libraries which were then supplied to film and television companies for use on a licensed basis) was often used in the early years. A few examples are featured here, including Martin Slavin’s Space Adventure, the effective Cyberman theme for their first few appearances and a piece we had great fun recreating for the Doctor Who Prom in 2013. By the early 1970s, Brian Hodgson and Delia Derbyshire had also been contributing to these libraries as a sideline to their BBC work – Battle Theme (used in Inferno, 1970) is credited to “St George” – actually Hodgson. Delia’s alias was “La Russe”.


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Cameron K. McEwan
Cameron K McEwan was the first owner and site editor of Blogtor Who since its creation in May 2008 until Dec 2015. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Cameron has also written two books, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who and Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists, and directed a film all about Doctor Who fans throughout the years, Who’s Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans. Cameron also contributes TV and film news and reviews to BBC Radio London, Metro, Digital Spy, New York Observer and Den of Geek. He lives in London with his one trousers.


  1. Those look great. I think finally I know what to get for Christmas.

    By the way, I loved what you wrote about The Day of the Doctor. I'm a big Doctor Who fan and I loved the 50th anniversary celebration.



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