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