As many of you may know, I’m a huge fan of electronic music, and have worked in that musical genre on numerous occasions. A personal favourite electronic piece is the original Doctor Who theme, which I’ve felt for some time, is one of the most impressive technical accomplishments ever.
As a fan of the series for some 35 years now, and living in England, I’ve quite simply grown up on Doctor Who. As a prolific Producer / Director of Audio Drama, my biggest inspiration has been Delia Derbyshire and the incredible works of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop.
So what was my Dream ? Well for over 20 years, I’ve had a Pipedream (I never ever thought would happen) that I’d get to work on a version of the Doctor Who Theme with someone who worked with my idol Delia, and Brian Hodgson and David Vorhaus actually on Doctor Who at the RW.
Cue my good friend, Jay Ellington-Lee (JEL). About a year ago I received an email from Jay, saying that he was a fan of my Production work on the BrokenSea shows Escape From New York, Maudelayne and of course, Doctor Who. “Whoa!” I thought “You’re a fan of MY work ? The RW is the very reason I got into Producing AD in the first place”.
Over the course of the last year or so, Jay and I have become extremely close friends. I truly do feel honoured that Jay shared so many amazing anecdotes with me, about his time at the RW with Delia and Co., his time creating sound effects and music for Doctor Who (amongst many other shows), his time spent designing some of the most recognisable synthesizers on the planet, his film score work, his time as a pianist for the likes of Bob Dylan, and his own pioneering musical genre, “Sci-Fi Jazz” !
I think you can probably guess where this is going by now. I simply HAD to ask at some point if he’d like to re-visit his time on Doctor Who. Boy was I surprised, when Jay replied back same day, saying Yes. In fact I was so stunned, I didn’t quite believe it. That was until Jay’s various takes for the main melody arrived in my email inbox. I kid ye not folks. I literally shook so much, I nearly fell off my Producer’s chair – LOL
And it gets better too. Jay didn’t come alone. He brought with him a phenomenal Saxophone player, named Neaman Lyles, whose superb performance here gives this theme, an unnerving haunting sad quality.
So what about the rest of the theme ? Well aside from melody, the key factors in the Doctor Who theme are the bassline and effects which underpin it. The Bassline in this instance actually consists of 3 Bass sections over layered. One panned dead centre, one panned slightly left, and one slightly right. The one in the centre was played on an emulated VCS3 synth, which was always Delia’s favourite. In fact she taught Jay how to use one way beyond its original specifications.
I wanted Mak’s theme, to be a good mix of classic and new series themes to reflect the nature of our series, with a little extra something special from me. So you have all the analogue synth whooshes and sweeps of the classic themes, coupled with the more orchestral instrumentation of the new themes.
For authenticity, many of the sounds were treated with Ring Modulator effects, which were used to such incredible results at the RW (Think Dalek and Cybermen Voices amongst many other Whovian sounds). Have fun spotting the other numerous sound effects I used to build the backdrop too. And of course, for good measure, you’ll also hear a ton of my patented SKiFfle Flanged synths, and hyper-panned sounds.
So BrokenSea has now officially brought an ex-member of the Radiophonic Workshop to our Doctor Who! – OMG !!!
Thank you so much, for making my dream real Jay. It truly was an honour and privilege to work with you. Here’s to many more collaborations my friend !
And of course, welcome back aboard the TARDIS Jay !
This Theme is dedicated to my hero, the legendary Delia Derbyshire, all those at the Radiophonic Workshop who were “Pushing the Audio Envelope” before I was even born, the once and future Doctor Mark Kalita, and the BrokenSea Whovians who’ve given our take on the show so much support.
Stevie K. Farnaby (AKA SKiFfle)
Producer / Director of :-
Doctor Who, Maudelayne and Escape From New York
The Mark Kalita Doctor theme features :-
The legendary Jay Ellington-Lee on Warped Bells and Main Melody
Neaman Lyles on Saxophone on the Main Melody
Stevie K. Farnaby (AKA SKiFfle) on Basslines, Orchestral Instrumentation and Sound Effects
Mark Kalita as The Doctor
Produced and Engineered by Stevie K. Farnaby (AKA SKiFfle)
Jay Ellington-Lee and Neaman Lyles appear courtesy of “The P-38s”
PLEASE NOTE : This version of the Theme Tune remains the Property of Stevie K. Farnaby (AKA SKiFfle), Jay Ellington-Lee, Neaman Lyles and Mark Kalita. It may NOT be used without specific written consent from Stevie at SKiFfleAudio@gmail.com.
The following Audio Drama is rated PG-13 (Persons Younger than 13 Should be Accompanied by an Adult). For more info: