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Soundtrack Review

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Doctor Who
Series 7
Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Murray Gold
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £10.49
SILCD1425 (CD), SILED1425 (download)
Release Date: 09 September 2013

This is Silva Screen’s eighth new series Doctor Who soundtrack release since 2006. Long awaited by fans, Series 7 has been uniquely made up of thirteen self-contained stories. Murray Gold’s phenomenal output as a composer began close to twenty years ago, and since then he has stacked up five BAFTA nominations (two for Doctor Who), plus three Royal Television Society nominations and a win for Queer As Folk. In 2013, Gold celebrated one of his greatest musical accomplishments with a third Doctor Who Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. This two-CD set offers a feast of new Murray Gold signature themes, with music from all of the weekly episodes from Series 7...

Lately Doctor Who has moved away completely from its former serial format. The show’s most recent two-parter was The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People midway through Series 6. Since that time, each story has comprised just a single episode – albeit with some linking themes spread across the series, such as the mystery of Clara Oswald. As a result, Murray Gold has had to come up with an increasing variety of sounds, and during Series 7 we hear styles ranging from the Spaghetti Western pastiche of A Town Called Mercy, complete with twanging strings, to the false jollity of Sweetville in The Crimson Horror; tones ranging from the whimsicality of Brian’s themes in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three to the strident quality of The Rings of Akhaten; and a gamut of moods ranging from doom-laden to triumphal.

It’s the doom-laden that hits us first, with the attention-grabbing “They Are Everywhere”, from Asylum of the Daleks. Suggesting a lurking, possibly mechanical menace, this theme is subsequently reprised in “Melody Malone” and “Together or Not At All”, from The Angels Take Manhattan, which marked the poignant final appearance of Amy Pond and Rory Williams. The emotions run highest of all during the final two tracks from this episode, “Together or Not At All” and “Goodbye Pond”.

For me, though, it’s the triumphal tracks that make for the most pleasurable listening, which is why my favourites are “To Save the Doctor”, from the start of The Name of the Doctor, and pretty much all of the music from The Bells of Saint John, in particular “A Turbulent Flight”, “Bah Bah Biker” and “Up the Shard”. This is upbeat, action-packed music, full of the spirit of adventure. The Doctor has a lively new companion. He’s got his mojo back after far too long dwelling on prophecies of his demise (though that aspect returns to the fore with “A Secret he Will Take to his Grave” and “Trenzalore”, from The Name of the Doctor). The Time Lord’s joie de vivre is epitomised by “Bah Bah Biker”, a short but sweet tune that is very much the new “Westminster Bridge”. In common with “Westminster Bridge”, it accompanies the Doctor and his newly found friend as they race happily across (yes, you guessed it) London’s Westminster Bridge.

As usual, some of the tracks are progressions of previous compositions, such as the majestic “This is Gallifrey”, which kicks off “To Save the Doctor”, and “Amy’s Theme”, which takes a bow in “My Husband’s Home” (from The Angels Take Manhattan), though much of the new life that has been injected into the sound of Series 7 is inspired by Clara. Rather like the arrival of Matt Smith’s Doctor in 2010, the introduction of the new companion seems to have given both the Time Lord and Murray Gold a welcome boost. Suddenly, the composer has a new toy to play with. Clara’s delicately beautiful theme is foreshadowed in “Oswin Oswald” (from Asylum of the Daleks), fully revealed in “Clara?” (from The Bells of Saint John), and reprised several times thereafter in tracks such as “I Might Change My Mind” (The Bells of Saint John), “The Leaf” (The Rings of Akhaten), “A Letter to Clara” and “Remember Me” (The Name of the Doctor).

Conversely, “I Am the Doctor”, which was an almost constant presence during Series 5 and much of Series 6, is heard surprisingly infrequently here, though Gold’s Cybermen theme is retooled for several tracks from Nightmare in Silver.

There isn’t much from Cold War, Hide or Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, which are represented by just one or two tracks each, and there’s nothing at all from the last two Christmas specials – not even the new main theme that debuted in The Snowmen. This leads me to suspect that the specials have been set aside for separate release. Let’s hope so, as the latter is a serious omission.

In the meantime, this double album is worth the asking price for its Asylum of the Daleks, Bells of Saint John and Name of the Doctor music alone.


Richard McGinlay

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