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Doctor Who and the Silurians

Doctor Who and the Silurians
TV serial
Series Doctor Who
Date of composition December 1969
Opus number (No opus number)
Type of work Music for an episodic television series
Duration 30 mins
Musical forces E flat/B flat/A/Bass and Contrabass Clarinet, Clarinet in B flat/A or Soprano/Descant Recorder or Soprano/Alto/Tenor/Bass Krumhorn, Horn, Cello, Piano (prepared and unprepared) and Percussion
Commissioner BBC-tv
Writer Malcolm Hulke
Producer Barry Letts
Director Timothy Combe
Recording session December 1969
Publication status Manuscript
Archive location British Film Institute (BFI)
Archive contents
  • Original loose and bound music manuscripts
  • Various BBC rehearsal scripts
  • Notes Serial in seven 25-minute episodes
    More info… See the dedicated section about Doctor Who and the Silurians


    …a rather long-drawn-out affair (seven episodes), was only redeemed by what one writer described as; “one of the most hair-raising science fiction scores heard this side of Alpha Centauri.” Interestingly, this was achieved, I later discovered, by means of such instruments as krumhorns and medieval recorders, plus prepared piano effects (plucked notes and banshee-like sounds from inside a grand piano), and not via the Radiophonic Workshop at all. Clearly, here was a composer who needed investigating.

    Hilton Gough, BFFS Film magazine, no 25, April 1975

    As a score, as a conception, it was very intelligent. He was thinking about these creatures that had been lying dormant in the earth and had come back to life after many, many millions of years, and so he decided to structure his score using largely mediæval instruments: ancient instruments.

    Mark Ayres, Radiophonic Workshop composer, Musical Scales: An Era of Experimentation, BBCDVD 2438(A), 2008