Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy

Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy soundtrackThough I’m a big fan of late 80s Doctor Who composer Mark Ayres, I’m afraid his personal favorite of his TV scores has to go down as my least favorite. Of course, it could just be that my view of the episode in question, a zany but sinister romp with evil robotic clowns in a twisted circus called – you guessed it – The Greatest Show In The Galaxy – is that it’s less than a classic, and maybe I’m lumping my opinion of the music in with that as well. In many places, especially the more eerie passages, Ayres’ music held the show together and even sounds good away from the little screen, but the action cues 2 out of 4threaten to break into a dance beat at any moment, and the “source music” (music which is played in a scene which the characters can hear, as opposed to the usual “incidental music”) which puts slightly different twists on age-old circus themes, is positively grating. Proceed with caution if you get this album – it’s a circus in and of itself!

Order this CD

  1. introduction – Doctor Who Theme (1:35)
  2. The Psychic Rap (0:49)
  3. Invitation to Segonax (3:55)
  4. Bellboy and Flowerchild (1:43)
  5. A Warning (0:50)
  6. Fellow Explorers (1:51)
  7. The Robot Attacks (1:06)
  8. Something Sinister (2:47)
  9. “Welcome, One and All!” (1:16)
  10. The Circus Ring (2:17)
  11. Deadbeat (0:38)
  12. Eavesdropping (4:06)
  13. “Let Me Entertain You” / Stone Archway (4:12)
  14. The Well (4:23)
  15. Powers on the Move (2:42)
  16. Sifting Dreams (3:14)
  17. Survival of the Fittest (2:01)
  18. Bellboy’s Sacrifice (2:59)
  19. Plans (2:11)
  20. The Werewolf / “Request Stop” (5:50)
  21. The Gods of Ragnarok (3:42)
  22. Playing for Time (10:21)
  23. Entry of the Psychic Clowns (3:28)
  24. Liberty Who (2:25)
  25. Psychic Carnival (2:03)
  26. coda – Kingpin’s New Circus (0:36)
  27. epilogue – Doctor Who theme (2:56)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 75:56

Doctor Who: The Curse Of Fenric

Doctor Who: The Curse Of Fenric soundtrackMark Ayres’ synth-symphonic score to the penultimate Doctor Who story shot in Britain was the first complete score of a single Doctor Who story to be released in its entirety, and with good reason. Many people associate the music of Doctor Who with the abstract Dudley Simpson music of the 70s, and the slightly less abstract electronic music of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the 80s. In the twilight years of the show as it was originally broadcast, the music became somewhat more straightforward, owing a lot to the contemporary neo-classical treatment which science fiction is so fond of. However, unlike Star Trek, Doctor Who could only afford a boy and his synthesizer. In this case, the composer was Mark Ayres, a Doctor Who fan who had persistently bugged producer John Nathan-Turner into allowing him to work on the show. The first story Ayres scored was The Greatest Show In The Galaxy, which was released later (see below); the second – though it was the last of his scores to be broadcast – was 1989’s very sinister Curse Of Fenric, a four-part story which was a bit ambiguous on the point of whether the Doctor’s (Sylvester McCoy) means to his end in the eternal fight against evil were as bad as, or worse than, his enemies’ approach to the battle. It was an excellent show and got a lot of wonderful music which perfectly combined an 4 out of 4orchestral feel – very well achieved even on synths – with the electronic atmosphere which is typical of the series. I have but a singular complaint about the soundtrack from Fenric – the overuse of a cymbal crash sample which, after about the 100th time, grates on the nerves. This is one of two Who CDs on my Damn Near Perfect album list.

Order this CD

  1. introduction – Doctor Who theme (0:40)
  2. The Boats (0:47)
  3. Beach-Head and Rat-Trap (2:06)
  4. Sealed Orders (1:21)
  5. Eyes Watching (1:03)
  6. Commander Millington (0:47)
  7. Viking Graves (0:54)
  8. Maidens’ Point (1:17)
  9. The Translations (3:23)
  10. Audrey and Millington’s Office (2:13)
  11. The Curse of Fenric (2:32)
  12. High Stakes (0:34)
  13. The Crypt (1:21)
  14. The Ambush (0:42)
  15. The Well of Vergelmir (1:16)
  16. The Ultima Machine (2:00)
  17. Dangerous Undercurrents (1:02)
  18. The Seduction of Prozorov (1:54)
  19. Halftime Score (0:40)
  20. Exit Miss Hardaker / The Vicar and the Vampires (2:25)
  21. Stop the Machine! (2:25)
  22. The Haemovores (1:49)
  23. The Battle for St. Jude’s (4:27)
  24. The Mineshaft (1:51)
  25. Sealing the Hatch (1:55)
  26. House Guests (1:35)
  27. The Telegram (0:50)
  28. Evil from the Dawn of Time (1:10)
  29. The Storm Breaks (3:33)
  30. Ancient Enemies (3:46)
  31. Shadow Dimensions (1:10)
  32. Chemical Grenade (1:00)
  33. The Great Serpent (0:40)
  34. Pawns in the Game (3:16)
  35. Kathleen’s Escape (2:08)
  36. The Wolves of Fenric (3:08)
  37. Black Wins, Time Lord! (2:22)
  38. The Final Battle (2:48)
  39. epilogue – Doctor Who theme (2:12)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 71:02

Doctor Who: The Five Doctors

Doctor Who: The Five Doctors soundtrackLike the simultaneously-released Earthshock collection, this album originally saw release in 1984 in the U.K. as an LP with the nondescript title Doctor Who – The Music 2, but in musical terms, this is a much better album. The music from eight 1983-1984 episodes from the sadly underrated Peter Davison era is arranged into several “suites” which lean much heavier on music than Earthshock‘s all-too-brief cues. And the music itself is composed in a much more straightforward fashion – still entirely electronic, but more conventionally orchestral in its overall execution. 4 out of 4This will appeal much more to casual fans who are perhaps not quite so ready to dive into the earlier, more experimental music on Earthshock.

  1. Doctor Who theme – 1980-1985 version (2:44)
  2. Enlightenment (7:54)
  3. The King’s Demons (5:21)
  4. Order this CD The Five Doctors (8:44)
  5. Warriors of the Deep (3:54)
  6. The Awakening (3:26)
  7. Resurrection of the Daleks (5:02)
  8. Planet of Fire (3:55)
  9. The Caves of Androzani (6:05)
  10. Doctor Who theme – reprise (0:54)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1991 (originally released in 1985)
Total running time: 47:59

Doctor Who: Earthshock

Doctor Who: Earthshock soundtrackThis is a CD reissue of a 1983 album simply titled Doctor Who – The Music, which was the first such soundtrack of the show’s customarily abstract electronic music. The majority of the music from that original album hails from the popular 1981-83 period including such pivotal episodes as The Keeper Of Traken and Earthshock, though additional material added to the disc represents the early 70s (particularly two original and very, very abstract musique concrete pieces created by Delia Derbyshire, the producer of the original Doctor Who theme). I do have a complaint about the album – it’s the intertwining of sound effects with the music. If I wanted to hear the TARDIS 3 out of 4materializing, I’d dig out 30 Years At The Radiophonic Workshop or watch the show itself. The attempt at creating atmosphere manages simply to be distracting. Other than that, I heartily recommend this for Doctor Who fans, but with the abstract nature of some of the music, it may appeal only to dyed-in-the-wool Who fans.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who theme – 1963-1979 version (2:39)
  2. The Sea-Devils (5:19)
  3. Meglos (1:42)
  4. The World of Doctor Who including the Master’s theme (2:40)
  5. Blue Veils and Golden Sands / from Inferno (3:28)
  6. Nyssa’s Theme (0:43)
  7. Kassia’s Wedding Music (0:49)
  8. The Threat of Melkur (0:55)
  9. Exploring the Lab (1:48)
  10. Nyssa is Hypnotised (1:00)
  11. The Leisure Hive (5:35)
  12. The Delian Mode / from Inferno (5:35)
  13. Omega Field Force (1:54)
  14. Ergon Threat (1:03)
  15. The Termination of the Doctor (2:10)
  16. Banqueting Music / from Warrior’s Gate (1:31)
  17. TSS Machine Attacked / from Kinda (1:07)
  18. Janissary Band / from Snakedance (0:18)
  19. Subterranean Caves (2:36)
  20. Requiem (0:39)
  21. March of the Cybermen (5:13)
  22. Doctor Who theme – reprise (1:52)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1991 (originally released in 1983)
Total running time: 50:36