Film and TV

Doctor Who theme comes out on top as the heavyweight champ of sci-fi TV tunes

Raise your sonic screwdrivers and give a round of applause to the Doctor Who theme – the king of UK sci-fi TV tunes

Doctor Who’s theme music just took out the top spot on PRS for Music’s chart for the most-played sci-fi TV theme tunes in the UK. As if turning 60 this month wasn’t enough reason to celebrate.

Created in 1963 by Ron Grainer and polished by Delia Derbyshire (both PRS members) at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, this piece was ahead of its time, using cutting-edge electronic music techniques.

Fast forward, and the Doctor Who theme has seen its fair share of remixes over the years. Names like Dominic Glynn, Peter Howell, and Segun Akinola have all left their mark on the iconic composition.

In 2005, Murray Gold brought a fresh arrangement to mark Doctor Who’s return to screens, sticking around as the resident composer for a solid 12 years.

Now, for the 60th anniversary episodes, Murray is back in the game, scoring alongside the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

To commemorate this timeless sci fi gem, we take our hats off to Delia Derbyshire, who has pretty much become the face of the Dr Who theme music the world over, a total legend in her own right,

Delia Derbyshire, the trailblazing British musician and composer, left an indelible mark on electronic music during the 1960s. Best known for her groundbreaking electronic realization of the Doctor Who theme music in 1963, she was a key figure at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Using innovative tools like tape machines, oscillators, and effects processors, Delia’s avant-garde sound design and unconventional recording techniques inspired a generation of musicians. Despite not releasing commercial albums during her lifetime, her compositions, including “The Delian Mode” and “An Electric Storm,” showcase her pioneering spirit.

While her impact reverberates in the works of Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, and Autechre, recent releases like “Delia Derbyshire: The BBC Radiophonic Music” and “Delia Derbyshire: Archive Recordings 1963 – 1973” unveil previously unreleased gems. Her influence extends to electronic music pioneers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Daphne Oram, shaping the landscape celebrated by fans and artists alike. Experience the legacy in the documentary “The Delian Mode.”

PRS Music, dropped a list highlighting the sci-fi tunes that have been hitting the airwaves, streaming platforms, and live venues across the UK, read more about that here.