20 April 2009

Radiophonic Workshop FTW

Unsurprisingly -- at least to me -- the haunting, otherworldly theme to Doctor Who has won the “Best Sci-Fi Theme Tune of All Time” award at TotalSciFi.com.

Completely putting aside my decades-long and hopelessly-biased obsession with this great programme, the theme tune -- realised as it was using highly experimental and never-quite-duplicated techniques -- still sends chills down my spine. Apart from perhaps “The Twilight Zone”’s eerie, hypnotic opening, no other sci-fi theme song has ever quite captured that futuristic, mysterious and unpredictable essence that makes good fantasy/sf quite the way the Ron Grainer-Delia Derbyshire collaboration has done. From the moment you hear it, you know you are in for adventure, but you also know anything -- and I do mean anything -- could happen.

Hats off to Grainer, Derbyshire and the rest of the Radiophonic Workshop, who gave Doctor Who much of its music and sound design during the “classic” years and who continue to inspire the current production. Well deserved.

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