Talk:Doctor Who theme music

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Best title?[edit]

Just wondering: wouldn't a better title be the shorter "Doctor Who theme"? "Doctor Who theme music" seems a bit unweildy and not often used. Also, if the track listings of the various soundtracks are to be believed, then the correct title for the theme is simply "Doctor Who", so perhaps "Doctor Who (theme)" or even "Doctor Who (music)" would be better? This title should redirect, of course. -- Guybrush 13:50, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

"Doctor Who theme" is not disambiguous enough; it could refer to literary themes, for example. "Doctor Who music" would then imply a treatment of the incidental music as well as the theme tune. Best to leave it as is, really. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 14:06, August 9, 2005 (UTC)

Fix to Fixx section?[edit]

I can't find the Doctor Who theme anywhere in the Fixx's "Saved By Zero" song. The text that asserts its presence was written by the mysterious :) , so there might not be any way to check with him or her; can someone else listen to it and point out anything I'm missing? And if I'm not missing it, can we write it off as conjecture and cut the reference? I mean, back when Genesis released their Abacab LP, I thought the song "Me and Sarah Jane" must surely be a Who reference. I was wrong. :) --Jay (Histrion) 01:42, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Doctor at the Disco?[edit]

I really dislike the use of the phrase 'disco' to describe the Peter Howell arrangement of the theme; it brings to mind late-1970s disco-orchestrated arrangements of famous pieces a la "Saturday Night Fever". Whilst it was undoubtedly a modernisation of the theme, Howell's arrangement is if anything more 1980s, but with a depth and creativity (that vocoder stuff is great) that stands up far better than most synthesised pieces of the time.

Yes, I'm aware that John Nathan-Turner used the expression 'disco' to indicate what he was looking for. That as may be, it isn't a particularly flattering or accurate description of the end result.

Fourohfour 21:48, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

I have attempted a rephrase. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 22:22, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
Definitely better (^_^) Fourohfour 00:12, 30 August 2005 (UTC)


Anyone else have reservations about some of the most recent additions;

Although this version was positively noted for having greater pace (and being supposedly more exciting) than the earlier version, it has been critcised as being too frivolous in tone and not scary enough.

Not as scary? Perhaps. Frivolous? I don't get that at all. And more notably:-

(even though it was arguably the most "spooky" rendition of the music to date);

Arguable by who? Is there a reasonable case for this beyond personal opinion?

due to fans complaining it was "too quiet" and varied too much in tone (sounding almost melancholic at one point, and ecstatic the next).

Are these widely-voiced criticisms, or are they just POV put into the third person?

Fourohfour 22:22, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Definitely POV. I've removed them. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 22:39, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
But saying that it was "not so well received" is not POV? Several sources (including the infamous "Television Companion") talk as thought Mr. Glynn's version was the best rendition of all, whilst simply saying that it was not popular - without any citation - is perfectly acceptable? NP Chilla 12:38, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
The Television Companion's opinion is clearly signposted as opinion, not a reporting of the fan reaction at the time, which although divided, was mostly critical of the Glynn arrangement. Please cite your other sources. JNT seemed to agree, which is partly why he went for the McCulloch arrangement and retired the Glynn one after only one season. But, if you really want a citation, see, for one. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 16:14, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Pink Floyd and pogues link is tennuos[edit]

I would delete this bit:

The Pogues used a bass line in their song "Wild Cats of Kilkenny" (from Rum, Sodomy & the Lash) that is similar to the Doctor Who theme, as did Pink Floyd in "One of These Days" (from Meddle).

There are bucketloads of songs that use this very standard bass/chord progression, I've used it myself many times. It surely pre-dates Dr Who and i'm sure that Ron Grainer would never have claimed to have made it up himself. quercus robur 01:53, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

The Pogues did say that the Doctor Who reference in "Wild Cats" was intentional in an interview once, and Pink Floyd used to do a rendition of the theme during live performances of "One of These Days". --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 02:09, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
Fairy 'nuff- have added that information to the Pogues ref- don't spose you've got a reference? quercus robur 18:52, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
Damn, unfortunately I don't - it was some time ago. You can either take my word for it, or if you insist, take it out. I'm all right with either. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 00:42, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
No its fine as far as I'm concerned quercus robur 18:13, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

It would be worthy to note that seperate from the progressive baseline of the Doctor Who theme, one can hear the harmony being played out in a distorted and muffled manner within the version of One of These Days on the Delicate Sound of Thunder live set. In the "quiet" portion of the song before the slide guitar and drums pick up and the singular line is spoken, the "doo-dooo-doooh" (as it were) portion of the Doctor Who theme is played out by the guitar. It takes some listening to make it out, but is indeed there, and unmistakably a unique audio connection to Who.

The Floyd bit is really quite noticeable, especially on the "Live At Pompeii Version" (talk) 23:56, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

North American sports events?[edit]

(HOTR added this to the paragraph about "Doctorin' the Tardis": "The tune has become a staple during sports events in North America though most in the audience are unaware of the Doctor Who programme itself." Khaosworks removed it while I was writing the paragraph below, but I figured it was worth comment anyway.)

Isn't the tune that's common in North American sports events the Gary Glitter original, rather than the Timelords' mix of Glitter and Derbyshire? (I admit that I'm geeky enough to be much more familiar with "Doctorin' the Tardis" than with "Rock and Roll (Part 1)", but when I hear it played during a football game I always assumed they were playing the latter, and only people like me would be tempted to sing "Doctor Who-oo, Doc-tor Who" along with it. :) —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 08:33, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

That was my reading of the edit as well. I've heard Rock and Roll Part 1 a lot, but it's distinct from Doctorin' the TARDIS... no Daleks, for one. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 08:41, 2 December 2005 (UTC)


I've listed Image:Dwgoldtheme.ogg on Wikipedia:Copyright problems/2006 January 17 if anyone wants to weigh in on this. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 23:03, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I still think it counts as fair use, and in fact, the Beeb would probably give us permission if we asked nicely...they like WP quite a lot, linking to it from BBC News articles and so on.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 08:33, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
As I've pointed out, it doesn't meet the criteria for fair use, least of all because it's the whole thing. You can't just assume permission, as well, sadly. And I have my doubts that they would consent to releasing the theme under the GFDL. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 08:43, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Who mentioned releasing anything under GFDL? I said that they might license it to Wikipedia. Feel free to crop it, but there ought to be at least one copy of it on WP.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 13:40, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

We don't need a copy of it on WP if it's available as an external link on the BBC web site. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 13:52, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

But you can't download it on an external site. Anyway, since hardly anyone can read .ogg files anyway, it's hardly worth discussing. If you want, I'll email the BBC. But they won't chase us up on it anyway, even if someone complains; like I said, they like Wikipedia a lot.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 17:08, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Forgive me if I don't take your word for it, as you cannot speak for the BBC. The purpose of fair use, of including it in an encyclopedic article is supposed to be for informative purposes, not for downloading and personal use. If the BBC didn't mind about releasing the theme for everyone, then why didn't they just provide a downloadable link? The fact that they did not, and that even the sample that they allowed to be streamed was only an excerpt, suggests to me that they are not inclined to release the copyrights. I don't think that the Wikimedia Foundation will find the phrase, "Oh, they'll never chase up on it because they like us," very reassuring. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 17:24, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

They may not find it re-assuring, but it's a fact. The BBC don't provide a link because that's the first place anyone would look. No-one (probably) would say to themselves "I know, I'll do a copyright infringement of the DW theme by getting it from Wikipedia, and translating it into a .wav...". It's easily obtainable from the DVDs, so if it's on WP, it's making it no more succeptible to copyvios than anywhere else.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 18:07, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

The difference is that Wikipedia shouldn't be a party to copyright violations, which it would be if it provided the whole theme freely for download. There is such a thing as republisher's liability. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 18:16, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Shall I ask the Beeb's permission, then?--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 18:20, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

If you want, as long as you make it clear to them exactly how much of the theme you're intending to make available for free download. They have to give written persmission as per the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 18:27, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, I shall do so in the morning, or if you want, you can, since you probably won't beleive me if I say that they said yes.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 18:31, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

No, no, you go ahead. Of course, I shall be very skeptical if they do say yes — we'll need to see the reply, of course, and I'll try and verify it. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 18:37, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, I've sent: Please may Wikipedia ( use a mix of the new, Murray Gold, Middle 8 and the regular theme on their article on Doctor Who theme music ( It is quite long, but "gets the atmosphere across". Wikipedia is a project often linked to from BBC News articles, and occasionally the subject of them ( Please reply, A Nonymous.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 18:46, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

You should have mentioned that it's the whole of the theme, not an excerpt, or better yet, give them the sound file you intend to put up as well, so they know exactly what is being put up. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 18:49, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

I said that it's a mix of the various bits, anyway, I'm sure we'll email back and fourth a few times before I get permission, so I'll tell then if they specifically ask. However, I feel that it's still fair use.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 18:51, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

NB: WP:CSD#I3 - if it's not licenced under the GDFL and it's not fair use, "used with permission" is shoot-on-sight. And remember that lots and lots of sites redistribute WP content. - SoM 21:53, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Dimensions in Time/Shalka[edit]

Is it the same theme? Where'd it come from?

It's the same theme, just different arrangements. The DiT theme was by a group called Cybertech and the Shalka theme by Creation Music. --khaosworks (talkcontribs) 08:07, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
The Cybertech version was released on their album DavidFarmbrough 14:19, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

5.1 remix version[edit]

Should Mark Ayres 5.1 remix available on "The Beginning" DVD boxset be mentioned, somewhere? --JohnDBuell 02:06, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Big Finish 8th doc[edit]

Shouldn't the 8th Doctor theme that Big Finish uses be mentioned here? It is different from all the others. Nothing says this page is specifically for just the BBC versions. Sabalon 17:59, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Theme not written in Aolean mode / E minor?[edit]

I don't have the sheet music to hand cause I'm away from home right now, but I'm pretty sure that the theme is not written in the aolean mode at all. If you listen to the bassline you'll see that the inbetween notes between the alternating E, G and B do not fall on the natural minor scale. Instead they fall entirely on white notes, meaning the key would be E phrygian. It would be inaccurate to say it's written in the key of E minor. I'll double check this against the sheet music and the recordings once I can dig them up. I wonder too if Derbyshire followed the sheet music to the letter. I've a feeling its better to trust to your ear on this than any official sheet music. Anyone else know about this for sure?—Preceding unsigned comment added by 68guns (talkcontribs) 19:25, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

I don't think Derbyshire followed it completely faithfully. The official sheet music made available for the public was in 4/4 time, and the bass was made up of dotted quavers and semi-quavers. But any real versions, Derbyshire included, have the bassline made up of triplet figures and broken triplets, which is a marked difference from the dotted rhythms.

-- (talk) 10:16, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I've checked now and believe it's wrong to say the piece is in Aeolian mode. The key signature of the sheet music shows it to be in E minor, but the incidentals modify it into a constant phygrian mode. This can be heard quite clearly if you listen and follow the bassline yourself on a piano. It only ever touches white notes, which shows the correct mode of the piece is E Phygrian (E to E, only white notes). Were it in Aolean mode, the F# would be included, but actually F's are played instead. Anyone care to counter this argument? (talk) 16:22, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

I have now corrected the wrong assertion that the theme is written in Aolean (natural minor) mode. It's written in the Phrygrian mode. The single semitone step from first to second note of the scale combined with the flattened seventh is what creates the trademark "spookiness" of the theme. Have also removed this in reference to "Delia's rendition" following the Grainer's score. Why point out that she kept the same key as it was written in when there's no suggestion she changed it? 68guns (talk) 23:15, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

In that connection, I think it's at best misleading to say that the middle eight is in the relative major. The signature is E minor and the relative major key of E minor is G, but since the piece is actually in E Phrygian, the major key associated with that scale (that is, the corresponding Ionian mode) is really C, and I think that's also the actual key of the middle eight. Maybe somebody who knows more about music theory can find a better way to phrase this. Matt McIrvin (talk) 00:36, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Changed it to just say "in a major key". Improvements welcome. Matt McIrvin (talk) 13:28, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the slightly misleading relationship of a major key to the Phrygian mode; the relative major to E Phrygian would actually be C major (with F natural), however the melody of the middle 8 definitely includes an F sharp, representing an actual modulation. How about this formulation instead: "[modulates to] the relative major (of the E minor tonic)"? Or, "[modulates to] the relative major (of the equivalent minor key on E)"? Regards, Philip Legge User Email Talk 05:12, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Umm, I don't think it's in E Phrygian. The tonic is clearly "A" to me. Although the melody does not include an A-- and COULD have been harmonized to be in E Phrygian-- the bass-line consistently pounds A and C, the tonic and third of A minor. Due to the harmonization, this piece is in A minor, despite the composer's (inexplicable) decision to notate it in E minor, and despite how cool it would be to say that Dr. Who's theme song is in something as exotic as Phrygian mode. It makes me wonder if the melody was originally conceived in E Phrygian, but then when it was harmonized (I guess by Derbyshire) it was harmonically reconceived in A minor. --Chris Jones— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:14, 22 May 2012 (UTC) Chris Jones is absolutely correct. Both the bass line and melody, as well as other harmonies and counter melodies, are clearly in A minor, and the melody likes to hang around scale degree 5 (E). Use of the "lowered" seventh scale degree (G rather than G#) adds interest to the melody and bassline, but doesn't really make it anything other than A minor tonal. Modulation to C in the bridge, the relative major, is pretty standard for a tonal piece in A minor. If there is an f# in the key signature in the "score", that is odd. Perhaps whoever transcribed it was confused and thought that the first pitch of the melody must be the first scale degree (it is not). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:1C0:C601:1AE4:DCCA:377E:348D:68BC (talk) 18:08, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

What about other music?[edit]

I notice that "Doctor Who music" now redirects here (maybe it always has). I think there should be some discussion of other music composed for the series, especially recent compositions such as Love Don't Roam that I understand was a chart hit in the UK. It's also widely anticipated that Kylie Minogue will probably record something for the soundtrack of the 2007 Christmas special (although Billie Piper is also a singer and they never used her in that capacaity). 23skidoo 12:05, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Murray Gold's middle eight[edit]

I've read on several websites (an example being this one) that Gold omitted the middle 8 iniitally because he didn't like it. I've also ready (but can no longer find the link) that he might not have been aware that it was part of the original theme, thinking perhaps it was created for the 1996 TV movie (though I find that hard to believe). Can anyone provide a substantial or printed source in which Gold makes either claim? The articles statement (with source) that he based his decision on the opening/closing sequence formats is the first I've heard of this, and is in fact contradicted by his ability to include the middle 8 in 2006 without the credit sequences being changed in format. 23skidoo 12:13, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

I read somewhere that he said it reminded him too much of Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World).

-- (talk) 10:13, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Well tonight that god its Delia, instead of Murray 'bloody' Gold...--feline1 (talk) 00:38, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:ChaseStrings.OGG[edit]

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Image:ChaseStrings.OGG is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 21:45, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Am I the only one who finds it weird that this sound clip was flagged as an image? (talk) 02:04, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

The Chase[edit]

What on Earth??? It says in the article that Murray's fast string patterns in the his theme arrangements are known as "the chase". I have never heard this before! Who calls it The Chase? -- (talk) 10:20, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Agree. An external citation is definitely needed for this, as in the five years since Gold's new theme has been on the air I've never heard or seen a written reference to the strings' figuration using this name - and a later section even calls it "a counter-melody", which I'd also question. It might be counterpoint but it's not really that melodic, but clearly a repeated motif that's mostly based on the accompanying harmony. Philip Legge User Email Talk 05:20, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
That term was coined in fandom, I think because people used the phrase "chase melody" as an alternative to "counter melody". Note the use of lower-case. At some point someone decided it should be given a proper name, but nothing official has ever occurred. The "middle 8" is, however, a term widely used in books and journalism to describe the portion of the theme rarely heard on TV, but even it stays lower-case. (talk) 19:48, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Doctor Who theme excerpt.ogg[edit]

The image Image:Doctor Who theme excerpt.ogg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

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Technically, I believe that under UK (and probably international) copyright laws you are able to use up to 30 seconds of a track without notifying the copyright holder. That is my thought, anyway. (talk) 17:15, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Derbyshire authorship discussion[edit]

On the main Doctor Who article discussion, there is a discussion going on regarding whether Delia Derbyshire should be listed with Ron Grainer as the composer of the them tune, with some interesting information regarding her publishing that suggests that her estate may be collecting royalties for its composition. Discussion is here. --Shubopshadangalang (talk) 20:40, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Sound of Drums[edit]

Having just watched Series 3 and Series 4 back to back, I can't help but notice that the drums which were emphasized in the Series 4 theme remake fit the Master's famous drums - 6/8 signature, four beats on and two off - and I'm surprised that this has not been addressed in any of the articles I have read. Was this shift in the theme a coincidence, or was it a deliberate incorporation of the drum signature? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:43, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Deleted error re: different Doctors[edit]

I removed from the introduction an error that said each Doctor had his own version of the theme. This is patently wrong: Hartnell, Troughton shared the original version; Troughton, Pertwee and Baker shared the modified second version; Tom Baker, Davison, and Colin Baker shared the Howell theme; Eccleston and Tennant shared the first Gold version (which was slightly modified during Tennant's time but not enough for it to be a full out new version). That last is up for debate, I'm aware, but the fact the 1967 arrangement was used until 1980 pretty much invalidates the claim on its own. (talk) 11:40, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

I think the case is suggesting that each Doctor had a modified version of the theme unique-ish to them - I'm just going of hazy memory here, but isn't the theme for the Second Doctor markedly different from that for Pertwee (and possibly Baker)? I'm not sure the audio files I have on my computer are the best source to use, but it sounds like Troughton has a theme that's more of a bridger between Hartnell's and the theme from the 70's. I also think Dr Who Reference Guide has each Doctor's 'theme' on their episode guide page - I'm not suggesting it's an authoritative source, but it's a quick way to get a basic idea. Comics (talk) 12:04, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Phrygian using accidentals?[edit]

Okay, so this paragraph has a lot of unnecessary explanation: "The theme is written in the mode of E Phrygian, although on the original score the key signature of the piece is E minor and the mode changes are written as accidentals. On a piano this means the bass-line is played entirely using only white notes."

There is a big difference between key and mode, so it's not incorrect to say that the piece is written in the key of E minor, and the melody uses the E phrygian mode. To say "the theme is written in the mode of E phrygian" is correct, and should be included. However, the following statements are based on the assumption that E phrygian is the key. E minor is the key, as confirmed by the sheet music, and the bridge that modulates to the relative major of E minor, G major, as well as the common practise to write melodies using the phrygian mode in that minor key (the key signiature of which represents the Aeolian mode). Therefore, to say "on the original score, the key signiature of the piece is E minor and the mode changes are written as accidentals. On a piano this means the bass-line is played entirely using only white notes" is to state the obvious, and doesn't really relate directly to this particular piece of music, but instead relates to the way in which it is common to write all music.

So, I propose you replace it with a statement such as: "The theme is written in the key of E minor, and the melody uses the E phrygian mode" or something similar... Thoughts? --ProfessorKilroy (talk) 06:34, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Who owns the rights to the Dr. Who theme music?[edit]

Who owns the rights to the Dr. Who theme music? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:11, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Pink Floyd[edit]

Despite someone raising the issue back in 2005 (see above), no one has added a source to confirm the connection with One of These Days. Notably, Wikipedia's own article on the song makes no reference to any Doctor Who connection. (talk) 17:03, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

This may help: How the (Original) 'Doctor Who' Theme Changed Music. Edokter (talk) — 17:10, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

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