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Soundtrack Review

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Doctor Who
The Day of the Doctor / The Time of the Doctor
Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Murray Gold
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £11.99
SILCD1465 (CD), SILED1465 (download)
Release Date: 24 November 2014

2013 was an epochal year for Doctor Who, and the two specials reflected the show’s monumental impact as a British cultural icon. The Day of the Doctor celebrated the 50th anniversary of the series with a story that weaved in many references to its distinguished past – and a two-second snippet of the future – and was transmitted to 94 countries, the largest ever simulcast for a TV drama. The Time of the Doctor, in the now traditional Christmas Day slot, showcased the departure of Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s debut as the Twelfth Doctor. With this two-CD release, Murray Gold’s best-selling music for the series extends the catalogue to nine years of superbly crafted themes from uplifting and exciting to reflective and melancholic…

As with Silva Screen’s previous Doctor Who release, The Snowmen / The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, this double CD contains music from two episodes, one for each disc, and has a reversible cover to represent the product’s dual identity (though that’s nothing compared to the multiple personalities of the Doctor encountered in these stories).

The first disc features music from The Day of the Doctor, which starring Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt, with a guest appearance by Tom Baker and two seconds of Peter Capaldi’s glaring eyes. This is the more action-packed of the two episodes, boasting strident themes such as “It’s Him (The Majestic Tale)” (from the early scene with the TARDIS hoisted by the UNIT helicopter), “Man and Wife” and “We Are the Doctors”, though the music from The Time of the Doctor on disc two also has such moments, including the booming “Rhapsody of War” and “Never Tell Me the Rules”. Murray Gold’s development of his Eleventh Doctor theme, “I Am the Doctor”, comes to its magnificent culmination in the latter, as the Time Lord smites the Daleks with his regeneration energy.

As an anniversary celebration, naturally The Day of the Doctor features plenty of light-hearted moments, including “Will There be Cocktails?” and “England 1562”, which reprises musical elements from David Tennant’s time as the Doctor (the tenure of Ten, you might say!). Much of the fun of this episode, of course, revolves around different Doctors meeting. This occurs in the unambiguously titled “Two Doctors” and “Three Doctors”. By contrast, The Time of the Doctor is a more funereal affair, dealing as it does with the demise of Matt Smith’s Doctor, though it too has its whimsical phases, especially earlier on, with “The Dance of the Naked Doctor” and “Bedroom Talk”.

The War Doctor and the Time War that is his period of origin get their own brand of music, which is appropriately tough, gritty and industrial. Tracks like “No More”, “The War Room” and “Footprints in the Sand” would not seem out of place in a David Arnold Bond soundtrack. Neither would “Somewhere to Hide”, which marked the revelation of the concealed Zygons. There is a distinct 1980s synthesised sound to the tracks “He Was There” and “We Are the Doctors” (which has a touch of Vangelis at the beginning), perhaps underlining the fact that John Hurt’s Doctor represents the older incarnations of the classic series.

The Doctor’s regrets over the Time War and his fears for his future provoke some sadness, which comes to the fore during “This Time There’s Three of Us” and “Song for Four” (from the scene featuring Tom Baker), though both of these tracks ultimately regenerate into uplifting compositions. The melancholy really sets in during The Time of the Doctor, with the doom-laden “The Crack”, the poignant “Back to Christmas”, the wistful “Snow Over Trenzalore” (which accompanied the shutdown of Handles the Cyber-head), and the sombre yet somehow hopeful “Beginning of the End” (featuring Clara’s theme), “This is How it Ends” and “Trenzalore / The Long Song / I am Information (Reprise)”. The latter contains a solemn version of “The Long Song” from The Rings of Akhaten, and underscored the Eleventh Doctor’s final moments as a vision of Amy Pond bade him goodnight.

Unfortunately, two tracks that I would really have liked to be included are not here. These are the music from the 50 Year Trailer promoting The Day of the Doctor and the powerful and unique version of the series theme from the end of the same episode. That would have made an ideal follow-up to the track “Song for Four”. Are rights issues precluding the inclusion of the signature tune? (Yes, I mentioned the rules.)

Never mind, though, because what we have here is a great compilation of music, ranging from the heartbreakingly sad (“The Long Song”) to tunes that make you want to punch the air (“Never Tell Me the Rules”). It’s been a blast. Raggedy Man, goodnight.


Richard McGinlay

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