Just like the other two installments, this collects Youtube videos containing music that’s been stuck in my head lately.
Composer Murray Gold’s soundtrack for Doctor Who complemented and sometimes elevated Doctor Who (2005) from Series 1 through 10. I think more people were upset when he left than when showrunner Steven Moffat left at the same time. (So did Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, but people were sad about that.)
As I’ve been delving into my old CD rips of Murray Gold’s soundtracks1 I’ve reawakened both my affection for the show and my enjoyment of Murray Gold’s contribution.
“The Doctor’s Theme”
When Christopher Eccleston took on the role of the (Ninth) Doctor, he was reintroducing the character to a new generation. While his performance evoked a brusque Northerner, this theme hints at the mystery of a being who travels through time and space. After Eccleston left, this theme accompanied anything mysterious and Time Lord-y.
“This Is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home”
This theme starts to play when the Tenth Doctor talks about Gallifrey, the planet of his people the Time Lords, which was destroyed in the Great Time War against the Daleks.
“The Dark and Endless Dalek Night”
A brief mention of the Doctor’s classic enemies, the Daleks. Their first appearance in “The Mutants” (later renamed “The Daleks”) introduced them as twisted mutants dependent on heavily armored and armed travel machines to move around. They hate all life that isn’t a Dalek.
Granted, in 1963 Doctor Who had almost zero budget, so when you focus on a Dalek’s details they look silly. Yet the design has become iconic in the sixty years after. In universe they’re the most dangerous creatures in the universe, and especially in the new series they really sold how scary these things are, even with the retro eyestalk and plunger arm.
The Ninth Doctor episode “Dalek” introduced a Dalek theme for one very dangerous Dalek. This theme, however accompanied a whole invasion fleet coming to Earth.
If you imagine a cruelly efficient science fiction army out to destroy Earth – Marvel’s Kree, Warhammer 40K’s Empire of Man, anything – this is the theme they’d play. Not Vader’s theme from Star Wars, not “Ride of the Valkyries”. This.
On January 1, 2010 in the second part of the special “The End of Time”, David Tennant left the role of the Doctor (the first time). Thanks to his manic performance the Tenth Doctor became hugely popular. Many fans wondered how the new guy would do. (Spoiler: Matt Smith did fine, maybe even a little better. Yes, I know, blasphemy.)
This piece, “Vale Decem” by Murray Gold, played under his emotional farewell scene.
Eleventh Doctor’s Theme
Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor seemed like a bumbling old man in a young man’s body. (Smith was at the time the youngest actor ever to play the Doctor.) He’d start talking and then seem to let his mouth finish on autopilot, sometimes trailing off into non-sequiturs, while his brain went somewhere else. He was a little prideful, a little petty, and even more than Ten totally lost in anything approaching a normal human setting, best demonstrated in the episode “The Lodger”.
(There’s a reason why the Eleventh Doctor was my favorite.)
However, if his old enemies reared their heads (or eyestalks), or when a new and Moffat-esque conspiracy of mysterious mind-bending monsters came after him and those he held dear, watch out. The bumbling young-old man could rage and declaim and outmaneuver as well or better than his other incarnations. And under that Matt Smith gave his Doctor an underlying sadness, even self-recrimination, of someone who lived so very long and seen so very much, someone who resolved to save the universe but couldn’t save everyone. As he explained to Amelia Pond, his first companion, he needed human companions because all of time and space had become too familiar, and he needed to see it through new eyes. (And not because they were mostly cute girls.)
The theme, like this Doctor, starts off fast and comical and turns epic.
Next time on “Music Videos 3” …
As far as I can tell, the BBC never released a sountrack for Series Ten. Either that last series was just recycled themes or Murray Gold couldn’t be bothered. ↩︎