Click here to return to the main site.

Soundtrack Review

Cover Image

Doctor Who
Series 13 – The Specials
Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Segun Akinola
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £17.99
SILCD1705 (CD)
Release Date: 13 January 2023

The 2022 Doctor Who specials are the final episodes to feature Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. They also star Mandip Gill and John Bishop as the Doctor’s companions, Yasmin Khan and Dan Lewis. Showrunner Chris Chibnall reflects on composer Segun Akinola’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. The scores for these three specials illustrate that breadth perfectly, from the witty but emotional jazz-infused chamber piece of Eve of the Daleks, through the beautiful and powerful use of traditional Chinese instrumentation in Legend of the Sea Devils, culminating with The Power of the Doctor: a fitting climax to Segun’s work on the show, bringing together so many of the fabulous themes he’s created, from Daleks and Cybermen to the Master, Yaz, and the Thirteenth Doctor’s wondrous heroic and emotive theme…”

The 2022 specials are the three additional episodes that followed Doctor Who’s 13th series. The first special, Eve of the Daleks, made its screen debut on 01 January 2022; the second, Legend of the Sea Devils, aired on 17 April; and the third, The Power of the Doctor, was broadcast on 23 October. Following individual digital releases in December 2022, Silva Screen Records has collected the soundtracks to the final three adventures of the Thirteenth Doctor in this triple CD set.

On New Year’s Eve, the arrival of a Dalek means Sarah and Nick’s countdown to midnight will be the deadliest they’ve ever known. Can the Doctor, Yaz and Dan save them…?

One of my favourite episodes from the entire Jodie Whittaker/Chris Chibnall era, Eve of the Daleks is something refreshingly different. When I first saw a trailer for this adventure, I thought, “This looks interesting,” even though I didn’t realise at first that it was an upcoming episode of Doctor Who – until a Dalek appeared, of course! Prior to that point, it looked like an advert for a new sitcom starring the always watchable actor/comedian Aisling Bea (who plays luckless self storage manager Sarah).

Accordingly, there’s a decidedly different sound to several of the tracks on this 55-minute album. A mellow if slightly hesitant guitar, representing the cosy yet awkward old acquaintance that exists between Sarah and her customer Nick (played by Adjani Salmon), sets a calm, soulful tone during the opening track, “Here We Are Again”. The light-hearted bathos of a pizzicato double bass, signifying the hapless Nick, is also introduced in this track and is then heard more prominently in “Deja Vu”, “The Correction” (where it is joined by a groovy electric guitar) and “Took You Long Enough”.

Of course, this being Doctor Who, danger is never far away, and the customary sense of menace makes its presence felt in the urgent violin sounds of the second track, “Out of Service”. The instrument is joined by drums in “Sorry Sorry Sorry” and then takes on a passionate tone in “We Go Again and We Win” before becoming upbeat in the final track, “Fireworks”. Further poignancy is provided by a plaintive guitar in “Not a Great Plan” and “Took You Long Enough”, and by the piano in “Out of Service”, “We Will Not Stop” and “The Doctor Cannot Save You”, when all hope seems lost. The piano acquires a more romantic quality in the opening and concluding tracks, referring again to Sarah and Nick’s relationship.

Segun Akinola’s brassy Dalek theme makes its entrance at the very end of “Out of Service” and comes to the fore in several subsequent tracks, including “I Am Not Nick” (named after my favourite line from the episode, an in-joke reference to the fact that the Daleks are voiced by Nicholas Briggs). The time-looping plot of Eve of the Daleks is all about repetition, so the aforementioned themes do get used several times. However, the composer keeps things interesting by varying, developing and blending the signatures. For example, his Dalek theme starts out as a three-note motif, but soon has further brass and percussion notes added to it. It then builds until it reaches its climax in “Important Stuff to Do”.

All in all, listening to this soundtrack is an important thing to do.



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…?

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 teaser for the next instalment, The Power of the Doctor. Similarly, I have less to say about this soundtrack than I do about the others in this collection.

Some of the guitars and drums employed by 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.



Her final battle. Her deadliest enemies. The Thirteenth Doctor and her friends face multiple threats from Daleks, Cybermen and the Master in a fight for her very existence…

For the finale of the Thirteenth Doctor’s era, Segun Akinola needed to top all that he had done before for the series, while building on themes he had previously established for various characters and situations.

The score for The Power of the Doctor, like the episode itself, begins with a bang, with “You Shall Not Disrupt Our Mission”, which accompanied the pre-titles attack on an interplanetary bullet train by the CyberMasters. Here Akinola introduces a souped-up and sassy version of his CyberMasters signature from Series 12, which is suitably industrial for a biomechanical species. This theme is, for me, the highlight of the soundtrack and it is heard again in several subsequent tracks, most prominently in “A Calculated Risk”, “Reunite” and “All Hands on Deck”.

The Master himself (played by Sacha Dhawan) has a discordant theme, symbolic of his unpredictability and unhinged mental state. This is heard in “Why Would I Ever Trust You?”, “Magnificent Attention to Detail” and “I Am the Doctor”, and would not seem out of place in some dark psychodrama or twisted horror film. The composer blends this with his three-note Dalek motif in “Say Hello to My Friends”, when the Master reveals his new alliance with the Daleks – his “Master’s Dalek Plan” (my favourite in-joke from the episode, by the way).

As usual, much use is made of the violin – rapid strokes for heightened drama or tension, slow ones for emotion – and the piano. The latter provides its customary poignant accompaniment to the relationship between the Doctor and her companions, and features most strongly in the soulful “What’s the Plan?” and “She’s the Doctor”. “We Are Not Finished” is more uplifting in tone, communicating signs of hope in the face of seemingly certain doom, while the penultimate track, “Activate Everything”, does indeed offer a bit of everything: drama, poignancy and a sense of triumph.

“We Are Not Finished” also introduces the first hint of a lilting female vocal sound, which comes to the fore during the final track, “She’s the Doctor”, in which the Thirteenth Doctor nears the end of her life and prepares to regenerate. The technique is highly reminiscent of the era of the programme’s previous composer, Murray Gold, in particular his “Doctor’s Theme”. This is entirely fitting, of course, since the episode ends with Jodie Whittaker handing the reins to David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, while the diamond-anniversary 2023 specials will also mark the return of Russell T Davies as showrunner.

In fact, I’m surprised that Akinola doesn’t hark back any further than Doctor Who’s 2005 revival. Thanks to the involvement of multiple returning companions (including Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart of UNIT) and the final four classic-era Doctors, this episode feels more ‘anniversary-ish’ to me than The Day of the Doctor, despite going out exactly a year and a month ahead of the show’s 60th. However, I detect no recognisable themes for Tegan, Ace or the earlier Doctors in this 78-minute album, nor even any musical references to the Doctor Who signature tune itself.

That curious omission aside, The Power of the Doctor ably demonstrates the power of the composer.


Richard McGinlay

Pack shot

Buy this item online