Archive for the Music Category

8th Doctor – Opening Title Sequence

Posted in 8th Doctor, Classic Series, Doctor Who Movies, Music, Paul McGann, Theme Tune, Title Sequence, Video Clip with tags , on February 12, 2009 by Mr M

A UK-USA co-production resulted in this 1996 TV Movie, directed by Geoffrey Sax, in which Paul McGann replaced Sylvester McCoy. The theme music was re-arranged by John Debney to place Ron Grainer’s famous middle eight at the start. Unfortunately the full John Williams-esque orchestral performance totally submerges the alien quality which made the original 60s/70s recordings so spooky. The graphic design is more successful, reviving Bernard Lodge’s 1970 logo in 3D-CGI.


7th Doctor – Opening Title Sequence

Posted in 7th Doctor, Classic Series, Music, Sylvester McCoy, Theme Tune, Title Sequence, Video Clip with tags , , on February 12, 2009 by Mr M

“3 years is the optimum period for an actor to play the Doctor”, said the BBC, so Colin Baker was fired and Sylvester McCoy cast. Cue a new title sequence, the first to be realised with CGI. The independent company CAL Video generated the graphics, designed by Oliver Elmes. Meanwhile Keff McCulloch was handed the commission of re-arranging the theme tune, and composing almost all the incidental music heard within the McCoy episodes. I love the graphics, especially the TARDIS trapped in a bubble.

6th Doctor – Opening Title Sequence

Posted in 6th Doctor, Colin Baker, Music, Theme Tune, Title Sequence, Video Clip on February 12, 2009 by Mr M

Colin Baker played the Doctor from series 21 onwards as brash and colourful, so Sutton was instructed to make the titles brash and colourful. He animated the Doctor’s face by dissolving from a frown photo to that of a beaming grin – possibly the friendliest that Colin Baker ever looked during his short tenure! Plus, rather than forming from stars, the neon logo now zoomed into place via DVE, bent down at the edges and tinted purple. The old saying suggests that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” a saying that John Nathan Turner cheerfully ignored. For series 23 in 1986, he dropped Peter Howell’s fantastic theme arrangement, in favour of Dominic Glynn’s less-than-pleasing “bedroom bontempi” version.

5th Doctor: Opening Title Sequence

Posted in 5th Doctor, Classic Series, Music, Theme Tune, Title Sequence, Video Clip with tags , on January 22, 2009 by Mr M

Post-Tom Baker, the starfield titles had been in use for only one year. Sid Sutton refreshed them with Peter Davison’s face. Rather than mixing in, the photograph wipes in using a “venetian blind” pattern. There are also some subtle variations on the opening starburst effect.

4th Doctor: Opening Title Sequence

Posted in 4th Doctor, Classic Series, Music, Theme Tune, Title Sequence, Video Clip with tags , , , , on November 3, 2008 by Mr M

By 1974, with Tom Baker assuming the title rôle, graphics designer Bernard Lodge hit his stride with arguably the best title sequence in the series’ history. He applied the slit-scan technique to images of the TARDIS and a morose-looking Baker, thereby evoking the most sensational time tunnel effects. Possibly the scariest bit is when the diamond logo dissolves out of the time tunnel, accompanied by a loud hiss of gas.

An experimental colour change with brown and orange filters in 1975 was transmitted on episode one of Baker’s second story The Ark in Space, but deemed unsuccessful. The original version of this sequence was retained from series 12 right up to series 17 in 1979; the only change made was a variation in the font used to spell out the story names and writers’ credits. 

3rd Doctor: Opening Title Sequence

Posted in 3rd Doctor, Classic Series, Jon Pertwee, Music, Theme Tune, Title Sequence, Video Clip with tags , , , , on November 2, 2008 by Mr M

Series 7 was the first to be made in colour. Jon Pertwee’s face replaced Troughton’s in the titles, re-designed via “howlaround” with red and green swirling flames and climaxing with another new logo design. Delia Derbyshire’s theme arrangement was given a third new edit, retaining the spangles but shortening the opening bars and, for series 7-9 adding a “stutter start”. Closing music changed too, standardised at 52″ and 1’12”, starting with the now-famous radiophonic scream.

Inspired by the stunning hyperspace sequence climaxing Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001, Bernard Lodge re-designed the Doctor Who titles again in 1973. For series 11, “howlaround” was dropped in favour of a technique known as “slit-scan”, in which multiple exposures of light refracting in plastic were filmed through slots in black card on a rostrum. Lodge also re-designed the series logo as a diamond.

1st Doctor: Opening Title Sequence

Posted in 1st Doctor, Music, Theme Tune, Title Sequence, Video Clip with tags , , on October 29, 2008 by Mr M

The title sequence (clip above) was created by Bernard Lodge, who filmed and manipulated the “howlaround” feedback of a TV camera pointing at its own monitor. A column of light rises before ripping and swirling, as if to suggest a journey through time. Delia Derbyshire’s extraordinary original arrangement of the famous Ron Grainer theme music accompanies this footage, in its day the most alien-sounding piece of music ever recorded and still prone to sending a shiver up the spine.

In the pilot, William Hartnell’s Doctor was distant and almost callous. The director called for the episode to be remounted, with the star’s performance toned down for the recording of what became Doctor Who – Episode One, first shown on BBC TV on 23/11/1963. The opportunity was taken to tweak the title music too, removing the scary extra-terrestrial sound effects, but the filmed graphics stayed the same. This title sequence and music were retained well beyond Hartnell’s departure in 1966.