This bit with Derbyshire was also in the BBC documentary “Alchemists of Sound”, about the Radiophonic Workshop. It was excellent, and I have been missing my copy here for years in my collection of disorganized DVDRs.
These documentaries are some of the best reason to buy the classic Doctor Who on DVD. They are actually some good, critical, and searching documentaries on some of the DVDs. The ones that come with the current series are pretty boring and not very informative in comparison.
One of my favorite, that I showed in my world history survey, was the Race Against Time documentary on The Mutants.
I’m quite certain that the technical difficulties in creating the sound contributed to the theme’s originality.
Their album White Noise An Electric Storm is brilliant too. Doctor Who is shit now though.
Interesting. For years I thought that the theme tune was purloined from Pink Floyd’s “Meddle”…Just checked and found that Floyd incorporated the theme tune. Go figure.
And here’s a video about creating the visuals for the title sequence(s):
I know they had a limited amount of time, but I wish some of this could have been incorporated into An Adventure In Space & Time.
Also, my favorite version of the theme:
Such a good album: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_from_the_BBC_Radiophonic_Workshop
Well, if we’re going in that direction, Jon Pertwee’s Shatneresque interpretation deserves a mention:
Mark Ayres went back to the original stems and did a beautiful new mix in 2002 (Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop - Volume 3: The Leisure Hive) – with headphones you can finally pick out each of the dozens of layers. It’s an incredible composition, and hasn’t been topped even half a century later.
They don’t really explain the very early ‘howl-round’ technique, which was very simple and very beautiful. Basically, they just pointed a video camera at a video monitor. Normally this goes straight to white or black, but if you are very careful with the gain and the magnification, then you get some wonderful pseudo random blobby pattern that moves out from the centre (moving in does’t work but you can run the tape backwards). The motion is not regular because the orthicon cameras were not geometrically perfect. Once they got everything adjusted, they started off with a signal from one camera pointed at the ‘Doctor Who’ title, and then mixed in the second camera that was pointed at the first one, so the text dissolves into random blobs that move in this squarish tunnel fashion.
I remember seeing that at about age 10, and wondering how the heck it was done.
I love that there’s something called a wobbulator
I’m not in the Dr. Who fandom, but I really love the original version of the score. It’s a great tune, but the original version has an organic ominousness that later versions gloss over. The BBC engineers were so far ahead of the rest of world, in their orderly, British way.
I find it noteworthy that the first place to catch up to them in using the studio itself as an instrument was the disorderly, third-world incubator of the island of Jamaica, where similarly brilliant minds were given free-reign over their studios and produced their own timeless classics. Some of which, reportedly, had pot smoke ritually blown over the tape reels as they recorded.
Wow! That is the best reply I have ever had on this godforsaken site! Ha Ha! Thanks!
And thanks for the brilliant link!
Edit addition coz BB software told me so:
Weirdly, before finding your message, I had been listening to John Barry stuff, and this track starts with a ref to that. But yes. Dub is King!
I had been listening to You only Live Twice and this was what I left as a comment:
I don’t really like Mia Farrow, her pact with Satan, though Broadway Danny Rose is a masterpiece despite its maker’s pact with Baal, and I am undecided about Nancy’s Dad Frank, since he was bad to some people, mainly due to his Mafia/State connections, and while the Bond thing is extremely dodgy, since British Intelligence is essentially evil, though from within that twisted kaleidoscope Fleming did, like a coder (Michael Powell, Leo Marks) give away the underlying sick secrets of future New World Order European Machiavellian-ness (Goldfinger, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), I have a great love for John Barry’s work, and Nancy S’s performance of this song, and this song just will not go away.
And I always found it weird those Jamaican guys had a thing about that stuff. I guess a good tune’s a good tune.
I remember playing with a similar set-up at the Exploratorium, a few decades ago. Really cool psychedelic-type images…
I loved this whole video!