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Soundtrack Review

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Doctor Who
Series 13 – Legend of the Sea Devils
Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Segun Akinola
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £6.99
SILED1712 (download)
Release Date: 09 December 2022

The Doctor, Yaz and Dan come face to fin with some of the Doctor’s oldest adversaries, the Sea Devils. What terrifying forces lurk beneath the oceans of the 19th century? The second of three Doctor Who specials to be broadcast in 2022, Legend of the Sea Devils aired on 17 April 2022, and is the penultimate episode to feature Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. It also stars Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan and John Bishop as Dan Lewis, with Marlowe Chan-Reeves as Ying Ki and Crystal Yu as pirate queen Madam Ching. Chris Chibnall, the showrunner and co-writer, reflects on the composer’s work:“How do I sum up Segun’s contribution to Doctor Who, and the Thirteenth Doctor’s era, in a few words? I only need one: brilliant! Segun made the show’s musical landscape wide-ranging, specific and authentic… from the witty but emotional jazz-infused chamber piece of Eve of the Daleks [to] the beautiful and powerful use of traditional Chinese instrumentation in Legend of the Sea Devils

As a television episode, Legend of the Sea Devils made less of an impression on me than the other 2022 specials. Indeed, the thing that excited me the most when watching it was the trailer at the end for the next instalment, The Power of the Doctor (the soundtrack to which will follow on 16 December, after which all three scores will get a physical release in a Series 13 – The Specials triple CD set on 13 January 2023). Similarly, I have less to say about this digital release than I did about the soundtrack to Eve of the Daleks.

Some of the guitars and drums employed by composer Segun Akinola seem more Wild West than Far East to my ear, but the Chinese setting is effectively conveyed via the use of local instruments, including the guzheng (Chinese plucked zither), erhu (Chinese bowed string instrument) and dizi (Chinese flute). The guzheng and erhu are introduced in the opening track, “You Have No Idea What You’re Doing”, while the dizi makes its first appearance in the third, “Pirate Queen”. All three instruments are then used again throughout the soundtrack.

“You Have No Idea What You’re Doing” also brings in a danger theme, which is heard again more prominently in tracks such as “Catching a Whopper” and “Say Hello to My Crew”, and often underscores the threat posed by the Sea Devils. Its deep, booming thuds, which contrast sharply with its high-pitched violin, remind me somewhat of the main theme to the 1995–2002 series of The Outer Limits.

“Catching a Whopper” is light in tone to begin with, heralding the arrival of the Doctor and her fam – but danger is not far away, and neither is the danger theme. The score acquires a more moody edge in tracks including “Going Up” and “This is Gonna Be Tricky”, and takes a touching turn in “Celestial Navigation” and the final track, “A Good Legend”, with the aid of a poignant piano.

At 47 minutes, this is the shortest of the 2022 soundtracks, owing to the running time of the episode itself. The complete episode is only a minute longer, which indicates that, apart from the generic opening and closing titles, every second of Akinola’s omnipresent score has been included here.

Make sure you buy it legally, though – we don’t approve of piracy.


Richard McGinlay