TV Theme Of The Week: Doctor Who

23/11/2010 at 9:00 am (TV Theme Of The Week)

In the late 70’s, my brother and I would be taken to see our grandparents on my Mum’s side on Saturdays, then to my grandparents on my Dad’s side in the evening. Stay with me, there’s a reason for this…

Romana facing the business ends of a pair of plungers

At the age of 5 I watched Doctor Who and finally got it. I was enraptured as daleks burst through a glossy black wall and threatened the Doctor’s Time Lady companion, Romana (portrayed by Lalla Ward). It’s almost like snapshots and pictures became fluid; vivid images knitted together to make followable adventures that completely captivated me.  On the anniversary of this almost 50 year old programme, I think my TV Show Of The Week should go to Doctor Who.

My parents even bought me a copy of the theme as a 7" single

Of course, the original theme is widely regarded as perhaps the most extraordinary pieces of music in British television. Written by Ron Grainer and arranged by ahead-of-her-time Delia Derbyshire, this series of electronic loops and howls was instantly able to conjure an atmosphere. Youngsters would be peeking through their fingers even before a single monster appeared on screen.

And I was one of them. I had the luxury of being absolutely terrified by my first experience of the daleks. So with a love for that old, pioneering theme, why have I chosen the arrangement for Peter Davison’s tenure in the 80’s?

Remember what I said about visiting grandparents? When Peter Davison took over, Doctor Who was moved to a weekday schedule. I understand fans at the time were livid. I was overjoyed, and could actually watch a complete story uninterrupted. I do love Tom Baker’s Doctor, but Peter Davison was MY Doctor. I am sure that, in no small part, the quirks of scheduling might have had something to do with this connection to the ‘new’ Doctor.

So here is the Doctor Who theme, bravely re-arranged by Peter Howell for the 80’s, which made me feel like I really was hurtling through space and time…



  1. Ian Hewett said,

    I love that arrangement of the theme. I’m glad they chose it for the DVD intros; it seems to fit much better than Delia Derbyshire’s version. Surprisingly, it’s aged very well.

    • peacockpete said,

      Listening to it back, it really does. Creepy has given way to energy a bit, but it suited the feel at the time. Aside from more recent orchestral versions, this was probably the last successful stab at it.

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