Delia Derbyshire – the genius behind the Dr Who theme

One of the most well known theme tunes on British television is undoubtedly Doctor Who, and regardless of the merits of recent arrangements, for many viewers the definitive version is the original, credited to Ron Grainer.

However, arguably the person who made the theme tune so iconic was a woman named Delia Derbyshire, of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop; fans of electronic music and long time Doctor Who fans will know that already, but it’s something that deserves shouting from the rooftops.

In a time before synthesisers, when delays and effects meant huge loops of recording tape many feet long cut up with razor blades and reassembled by hand, Delia Derbyshire created the most amazing sounds, not just for Doctor Who, but for many other programmes. She was also a massive influence on other musicians.

Those who dont know much about her really ought to go and find out more from the links above; welcome news arrived today with a press release from the BBC announcing that a previously unbroadcast interview with Delia Derbyshire will feature on the BBC Inside Out programme on Monday, 15th November at 7.30pm.

Unfortunately, Inside Out is a regional programme, and the interview with Delia is only on in the West Midlands region, but it will apparently be available to everyone on iPlayer afterwards. Perhaps the BBC could also be persuaded to make available once more the Delia Derbyshire dramatised biography “Blue Veils and Golden Sands” originally broadcast on Radio 4.

Meanwhile, here’s Delia’s original version of the Doctor Who theme.

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2 thoughts on “Delia Derbyshire – the genius behind the Dr Who theme

  1. Ahh, that brings a tingle down the spine … and memories of hiding behind the sofa as a young boy, when the wobbly polystyrene sets didn’t detract from the fear factor !

  2. I couldn’t agree more about shouting “DELIA!!” from the rooftops. It saddens me every time I watch the credits roll and her name still isn’t there.

    On 27/3/2010 BBC Radio 4 broadcast:
    “Archive on 4 – Sculptress of Sound – The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire” which was well worth a listen. [ still listen to it occasionally ]

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