the original, the best and incredible in the way it was recorded; the Doctor Who theme, written by Ron Granier and constructed in 1963 by Delia Derbyshire (under the guise of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop), kicks every other tv theme tune really hard in the minge. this is not because of the notes that were written, though obviously credit must go there, but in the way an odd, incredibly talented and largely unknown woman went about manufacturing electronic sounds from organic sources to painstakingly build something quite unique from a mass of loops made from tape. basically it was a very early form of sampling. she would record all sorts of things being struck, for example, and once transferred to tape, these sounds and homemade notes could be manipulated to fit as necessary. this way of making music still echoes today. just this year, another musical innovator, Amon Tobin, has done much the same thing for his superb album ISAM, albeit utilising modern technology. these people find what is available to them to fulfill their vision, and whether it’s generally realised or not, Delia Derbyshire is the grandmother of electronica. and so here it is, the greatest of TV theme tunes . . .
the documentary below, Sculptress of Sound, is an examination of who the legendary and massively influential Delia Derbyshire was, and the part she played as a pioneer of electronic music. in part 4 (of 7), the focus is on the process of creating the Doctor Who theme, though i recommend watching the whole thing
to read more about Derbyshire, the discovery of ‘lost’ tapes in her attic after her death in 2001, and to hear snippets from some of her other, sometimes surprisingly contemporary sounding recordings from the 1960’s, click here to go to a BBC News article from 2008