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Fast Nerd ↗️ Facts

The Doctor Who theme: a synth masterpiece made with tape and oscillators. Inspired a hit song and many others. Timeless, like the Doctor himself!

Did you know the first audio sample – as we know them, to arrive on British television screens was in 1963 via the science fiction series Doctor Who?

Most would know the theme for the swooping almost whistle-like lead that is layered over the roll-along bass. But few might appreciate what a work of art the theme actually is.

From perfectly timing oscillator banks on a modular synthesiser. To cutting tape and then changing the speed to achieve a different pitch for the bass, the whole thing is quite an achievement! And remember this is way-back in 1963.

Composed by Rob Grainer and arranged by the-then Delia Derbyshire. The theme has stood as a vanguard for innovation and the smart use of studio tools. Concepts that are as relevant today as ever. Even though today we can achieve so much more and with greater ease.

Want to learn more about the Doctor Who theme? Here you go!

Doctor Who on track: 1 – KLF

Acid house pioneers the KLF would go on to have a UK number one hit with the theme tune in 1988 “Doctorin’ the Tardis.”

Doctor Who on track: 2 – PSB

It hasn’t gone unnoticed either that Pet Shop Boys track Pandemonium has a very similar sounding vibe to the KLF track. Of course, there are very likely many others but Cliff Erosion has made a pretty impressive mash of both.

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