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Soundtrack Review

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Doctor Who
A Christmas Carol


Composer: Murray Gold
Silva Screen Records
RRP: £8.99
Available 21 March 2011

Doctor Who on Christmas Day has become part of the yuletide tradition in the UK, almost rivalling seasonal greats such as Morecambe and Wise, The Queen’s Speech and EastEnders. The 2010 edition was the third most watched programme on December 25th and the fourth most viewed episode since the show’s revival in 2005. The thrilling seasonal adventure starring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor featured stellar guest stars Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins. Murray Gold provided his usual eloquent, immaculately crafted soundtrack, and opera diva Jenkins captivated audiences with “Abigail’s Song (Silence is All You Know)”, featured on this release...

Like the story itself, the music of A Christmas Carol is largely a standalone affair, bearing little direct connection with themes established during Series 5. With no references to the cracks in the universe, no old enemies, and not even much of Amy or Rory in this episode, the only familiar musical signature is the heroic “I Am the Doctor”, which is reprised during several tracks, including “Geoff”, “Sonic Fishing”, “Big Colour”, “The Other Half’s Inside the Shark”, “He Comes Every Christmas” and “Everything Has to End Some Time”.

The other major theme is that of Katherine Jenkins’s character, Abigail. This surfaces in tracks such as “Sonic Fishing” and “Just a Little One”, is developed during “Shark Ride”, “New Memories” and “Goodnight Abigail”, and culminates in the beautiful penultimate track, “Abigail’s Song (Silence is All You Know)”, performed by the mezzo-soprano herself. Though there are no references to Series 5’s space-time cracks in this episode, is the song referring to the sinister Silence, possibly foreshadowing events to come in Series 6, with the lyrics, “When you’re alone, silence is all you see. / When you’re alone, silence is all you’ll be”?

There is no definitive signature for Kazran Sardick, but then there’s no definitive Kazran in the story, as his character is thrown into a state of flux when the Doctor travels back in time to meet the twelve-year-old version.

The overall impressions left by this album are of the Doctor’s eccentric heroism and joie de vivre (exemplified by tracks such as “Geoff”), the romance of Abigail (epitomised by “Abigail’s Song”), and their emotional struggle against the darker aspects of Kazran’s personality (represented by tracks such as “Halfway Out of the Dark” and “The Planet is Ours”).

Silva Screen has been kind to us lately - perhaps too kind for its own good. The company’s previous two Doctor Who releases were both double albums, with the same price as this single-disc release. £8.99 for 50-minute CD isn’t bad value for money, but Silva Screen’s previous generosity might reflect badly on this product. Please bear this in mind, and don’t be a Scrooge (or indeed a Sardick) when considering whether to buy it.


Richard McGinlay

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