Dr. Who & The Daleks / Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

Dr. Who & The DaleksLong before Murray Gold drenched the adventures of the TARDIS with lavish orchestral arrangements, and even long before John Debney et al. did the same with synthesized orchestral bombast, there were tales of the Doctor and the Daleks that were accompanied by unabashed, full-bodied symphonic splendor – only the Doctor wasn’t David Tennant then. The Doctor wasn’t even really the Doctor. Doctor Who was played by none other than Peter Cushing, and the Daleks graced the big screen in full color. The latest – and perhaps least-likely-to-ever-exist – Doctor Who soundtrack on the shelves brings together music from Cushing’s oft-derided pair of outings in the TARDIS, Doctor Who & The Daleks (1965) and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966).

It’s an unlikely release because we’re talking about music from a pair of 40+ year old movies which are generally considered irrelevant by Doctor Who fan canon-keepers. There’s just no way to slot the Cushing movies into the TV series continuity, and between that and the movies’ off-the-scale campiness, the two films tends to be disregarded, perhaps a bit unfairly: even recent Doctor Who has displayed elements influenced by the movies (not the least of which is the beefed-up look for the Daleks themselves). Just as there’s no story continuity with the TV series, there’s also no musical continuity: the two films’ scores sound nothing like anything that had been heard on TV Doctor Who up to that point. Ron Grainer’s immortal TV theme music isn’t even hinted at. Malcolm Lockyer graces Doctor Who & The Daleks with a hypnotic, languid mysterioso theme with an incredibly long melody line. Most of that movie’s score, which takes up the majority of this album, is built around two or three motifs, with the result being that quite a few cues sound similar to one another.

Made a year apart, the two movies don’t even share musical continuity with each other, never mind wishing for any nods to the TV theme. Bill McGuffie takes over the composing duties for Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. and gives that movie’s music a completely different sensibility – generally darker and more aggressive, and yet in some scenes the music plays up farcical comedy. There’s one other issue with the Invasion Earth tracks: they’re drenched in sound effects from the movie. Classic Who remixing and sound restoration maestro Mark Ayres has said that he’s been unable to locate anything but the “music + FX” tracks from the movie; this odd sound mix was kept by the studio so foreign actors could dub the dialogue in their own language, while preserving the rest of the sound mix. As such, the music is interrupted by explosions, spaceship take-offs, breaking glass, and so on – it’s very distracting…but perhaps better than having nothing from that movie.

Things are rounded off by a selection of “related” tracks: vintage singles tied in to each movie, including upbeat “single” versions of the respective theme music. There are also sound effects from each film as well, including a TARDIS interior ambience that’s so typically “’50s/’60s B-movie sci-fi lab sound FX” that it’s nearly laughable; interior FX from the Dalek city are marginally more interesting.

The remastering job undertaken by Ayres for all of the music presented here is impressive, resulting in crisp, clean recordings, marred only occasionally by brass swells which sound like they were “overdriven” (i.e. too loud for the limitations of the recording gear) at the original sessions. Aside from just a few instances of that, it sounds pristine – it could’ve been recorded yesterday. And maybe that’s the best reason to pick up this album: as the first full-blooded orchestral Doctor Who music, it’s not a million miles away, frankly, from the unashamedly bold sounds used by Murray Gold today. Elements of the music act as sonic time stamps: James Bond-esque bass guitar (and equally John Barry-esque brass blasts), for example – but then, doesn’t the “Westminster Bridge” on the first modern-era Doctor Who soundtrack 4 out of 4CD have both of those sonic signatures too? But this was the first time that Doctor Who had been taken into an orchestral context, as opposed to electronic abstraction or the low-key small ensemble sounds of Dudley Simpson and his contemporaries. Perhaps it’s another way in which the two Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies have proven to be influential (if not downright prophetic).

Order this CD

    Dr. Who & The Daleks – music by Malcolm Lockyer

  1. Fanfare and Opening Titles (1:48)
  2. TARDIS (0:48)
  3. The Petrified Jungle (1:58)
  4. The Petrified Creature and The City (0:52)
  5. Four Return to TARDIS (1:06)
  6. The Medicine Box and The Climb To The City (2:24)
  7. City Corridors (1:54)
  8. Captured By The Daleks (1:19)
  9. Susan Leaves The City (1:17)
  10. The Jungle At Night (2:13)
  11. Susan Returns To The City (1:12)
  12. Escape From The Cell (3:05)
  13. The Trap (3:44)
  14. The Swamp (2:37)
  15. The Mountain (2:34)
  16. The Cave (1:57)
  17. The Jump (0:54)
  18. The Thals Approach The City (1:40)
  19. The Countdown (2:39)
  20. The Countdown Stops (2:17)
  21. Finale and End Titles (1:12)

    Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. – music by Bill McGuffie

  22. Smash and Grab (1:43)
  23. TARDIS Departs (0:12)
  24. Opening Titles (1:59)
  25. TARDIS (1:15)
  26. London, 2150 A.D. (0:50)
  27. Daleks and Robomen (5:01)
  28. Message To Grandfather and The Dalek Saucer Takes Off (1:26)
  29. The Mine Workings and The Cottage (1:25)
  30. Preparing the Bomb Capsule (1:22)
  31. Smash and Grab (Reprise) and End Titles (2:09)

    Bonus Tracks

  32. The Eccentric Doctor Who (2:25)
  33. Daleks and Thals (2:09)
  34. Fugue for Thought (2:17)
  35. Fanfare and Opening Titles (with effects) (1:48)
  36. TARDIS Effects (3:06)
  37. Dalek City Effects (6:31)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 75:08

Who Is Dr. Who?

Who Is Dr. Who?A release that screams “diehard completists only!” at the top of its lungs, this collection of Doctor Who-inspired novelty tunes and singles spans the years 1963-1973.

The singles tracked down and remastered by Doctor Who sound guru Mark Ayres for inclusion here cover the entire spectrum, from interesting (Jon Pertwee and Frazer Hines’ amusing takes on the phenomenon), to things that make you wonder why anyone bothered (Roberta Tovey’s attempt to cash-in on her appearance in the two Peter Cushing films of the 1960s, along with several standard-issue guitar rock tracks whose only tie-ins seem to be including the word “Dalek” in their titles), to truly cringe-worthy (the infamous Eric Winstone rendition of the Doctor Who theme tune, and the even more infamous “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek”). You really have to have a taste for nostalgia – some of it in the worst musical taste you can possibly imagine – to stomach this CD.

The aforementioned tracks by Pertwee (the third Doctor himself) and Hines (who played the second Doctor’s Scottish sidekick Jamie) are actually rather good; Pertwee’s single – performed and produced by former Deep Purple members to the tune of the series theme song – probably sticks the closest to the spirit of the show (the unrelated B-side leaves a little to be desired, save as a reminder of the unmistakable voice of the late, great Mr. Pertwee). Hines’ singles, sadly enough, may be the most musically valid (which ain’t sayin’ much in this case), with some light touches of psychedelia.

I suppose the album would’ve had a gaping hole if “I’m Gonna Spend A Christmas With A Dalek” had been omitted. This shameless cash-in by a band called the Go Gos (years before Belinda Carlisle’s group of the same name, of course) features a lead vocal performed much in the same style as “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”. Those very teeth will be grating as you listen to this particular track. You should listen to it at least once, just to say you did.

The late Don Harper’s wild, almost retro-loungue-style cover of the theme song is another peak of weirdness in the proceedings. Every once in a while, he hits the notes right. Just for sheer strangeness, it bears at least one listening.

Some hidden treats come in the form of “The Eccentric Dr. Who”, “Daleks And Thals” and “Fugue For Thought”, single arrangements of themes and incidental music from the two 1960s Doctor Who theatrical films which starred Peter Cushing and Roberta Tovey. These are likely to be the only time you’ll ever hear anything even approaching soundtracks from those two movies. Tovey’s own cash-in singles are adorable or annoying, depending upon your mood at the time.

Overall, a choice pick for those who, like myself, absolutely have to hear everything ever recorded in connection to the BBC’s longest running science fiction series. But not even all the fans will necessarily dig this musical trip back in time. If the hinted-at second volume of novelty tunes does happen, it may have some 2 out of 4more accessible material – some understanding of the historical context of these songs, both within the framework of Doctor Who’s history on TV and and within the musical trends of the mid-1960s, is probably required to enjoy them. Extensive liner notes offer lots of that information, but it will ultimately be up to the tastes of individual listeners.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who Theme – BBC Radiophonic Workshop (2:22)
  2. Dr. Who – Eric Winstone and his Orchestra (3:10)
  3. I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek – The Go Go’s (2:28)
  4. Landing Of The Daleks – The Earthlings (2:47)
  5. March Of The Robots – The Earthlings (2:12)
  6. Dance Of The Daleks – Jack Dorsey and his Orchestra (2:33)
  7. Who’s Who – Roberta Tovey (2:28)
  8. Not So Old – Roberta Tovey (2:48)
  9. The Eccentric Dr. Who – Malcolm Lockyer Orchestra (2:25)
  10. Daleks And Thals – Malcolm Lockyer Orchestra (2:09)
  11. Fugue For Thought – Bill McGuffie (2:14)
  12. Who’s Dr. Who? – Frazer Hines (3:08)
  13. Punch And Judy Man – Frazer Hines (2:22)
  14. Who Is The Doctor – Jon Pertwee (2:23)
  15. Pure Mystery – Jon Pertwee (3:16)
  16. Dr. Who – Don Harper’s Homo Electronicus (4:19)
  17. Landing Of The Daleks (alternate version) – The Earthlings (2:43)
  18. Time Traveller – Frazer Hines (2:34)

Released by: RPM Records
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 48:21