So it turns out I owe Murray Gold an apology.
As I watched Day Of The Doctor for the first time, I was mildly annoyed that its score seemed to be a cut-and-paste of “greatest hits” of themes from the modern series dating back to 2005. Not new versions of those themes, mind you, but the same recordings we’d been hearing for years now. It seemed like an uninspired choice, but as it was already known that the BBC had asked for an episode 30 minutes longer than the usual 45-minute shows, in 3-D, with big-name guest stars, without increasing the budget much beyond that of the typical 45-minute episode, it seemed likely that the decision had been made to edit together a score from the music of past episodes. After all, what’s a decadal Doctor Who anniversary special if it’s not a kiss to the past?
As it turns out, the truth is even sadder than that: Day Of The Doctor did have a brand-new score custom-made for its requirements, and a dandy one at that. In various interviews, Gold has hinted that the heavily-promoted special had more cooks in the kitchen than usual, resulting in Hollywood-style second-guessing of creative decisions that rarely occurs with the series’ weekly episodes. Reading between the lines, the answer is simple: some BBC suits, freaked out by a fantastic original score which not only brought back numerous musical themes but paid homage to the show’s long history by incorporating various vintage synthesizer sounds into the orchestral mix, insisted that Day Of The Doctor should largely be “tracked” with existing music, not unlike the original Star Trek. The result is a soundtrack which was either buried in the sound mix or, in some instances, not used at all.
Some of the most eye-opening fun you can have with the Day Of The Doctor half of this 2-CD set is to cue up the DVD to key scenes, turn your TV down, and let the music be heard as originally intended. “He Was There”, which takes us from outside the National Gallery into the three-dimensional painting of the Time War, is a knockout cue that works outstandingly well; the rising howl as we zoom through the painting until we settle on the War Doctor is hair-raising stuff. On TV, this material was dropped in favor of the choral Dalek music from The Stolen Earth, but in the original unused cue, Gold holds off on quoting that theme until the Daleks show up in person. His opening volley, meant to accompany Clara’s motorcycle ride into the TARDIS control room, is an electro dance piece omitted in its entirety. A great many of his more interesting, “radiophonic” sounding pieces were either savagely dialed down in the sound mix or covered/replaced with “whooshy” sound effects to emphasize the show’s all-important (for one night only before the BBC abandoned the technology) 3-D. Even the final scene – all the Doctors dreaming of home – was scored differently, building up to a triumphant flourish that quotes the Doctor Who theme itself as a heroic fanfare: all left on the cutting room floor.
The second disc contains the music from The Time Of The Doctor, and in this case, at least, what you hear is what was heard in the show itself – unless it’s just not on the album, such as the criminal omission of the haunting choral piece heard as Clara bellies up to the crack-in-the-wall that has follow the eleventh Doctor through his entire tenure, appealing to the Time Lords to help the Doctor survive. How that didn’t make the album, I’ll never know.
Highlights of Smith’s final episode as the Doctor include “The Crack” and the bite-sized but propulsive “Rhapsody Of War”. Even some of the more obscure cues, like the John-Williams-esque morsel “Papal Mainframe”, are fun. But the show is stolen by the solid wall of music that takes up the last 25% of the show; “Never Tell Me The Rules” is the accompaniment of modern Doctor Who’s extension of the “explosive regeneration” to ridiculous extremes, while “Trenzalore / The Long Song / I Am Information” – its title giving away that it’s a mashup of themes already established in the previous season of the show – accompanies Smith’s record-settingly long send-off speech. “Hello Twelve”, naturally, rings in the Doctor’s new face in the form of Peter Capaldi.
So it turns out I owe Murray Gold an apology. Here I thought that, out of budgetary necessity, he’d had to phone in one of the most pivotal installments in the entire series, but whether it’s the seventh Doctor’s straw hat, the eleventh’s Fez, or the first Doctor’s shapeless lump of an astrakhan hat, I hereby eat that hat – Murray Gold did his best to honor the show’s sonic history, only to be let down by the marketing department. At least this 2-CD set lets us hear it all in its original intended glory.
- I.M Foreman (1:10)
- Will There Be Cocktails? (0:40)
- It’s Him (The Majestic Tale) (2:04)
- He Was There (4:22)
- No More (1:05)
- The War Room (1:42)
- Footprints In The Sand (1:42)
- Who Are You (4:37)
- England 1562 (1:02)
- Nice Horse (1:43)
- The Fez And The Portal (2:44)
- Two Doctors (1:01)
- Three Doctors (1:56)
- Somewhere To Hide (1:50)
- Rescue The Doctor (1:08)
- 2.47 Billion (4:28)
- Zygon In The Painting (1:34)
- Man And Wife (1:32)
- We Don’t Need To Land (2:27)
- We Are The Doctors (0:49)
- The Moment Has Come (3:06)
- This Time There’s Three Of Us (The Majestic Tale) (7:03)
- Song For Four/Home (3:41)
Disc 2: Time Of The Doctor
- The Message (1:15)
- Handles (2:07)
- The Dance Of The Naked Doctor (2:12)
- You Saved It (0:56)
- Papal Mainframe (0:44)
- Tasha Lemm (1:06)
- Bedroom Talk (1:48)
- The Mission (0:54)
- Christmas (2:26)
- The Crack (5:24)
- Rhapsody Of War (0:52)
- Back To Christmas (3:09)
- Snow Over Trenzalore (Song For Four) (2:45)
- Beginning Of The End (2:46)
- This Is How It Ends (3:06)
- Never Tell Me The Rules (3:11)
- Trenzalore/The Long Song/I Am Information (Reprise) (4:03)
- Hello Twelve (0:39)
Released by: Silva Screen Records
Release date: November 24, 2014
Disc one total running time: 53:26
Disc two total running time: 39:23