Delia Derbyshire Documentary

More details have been released for the upcoming documentary on Delia Derbyshire, the visionary electro-synth pioneer whose arrangement of the Doctor Who theme tune helped the series on its way to success.

Delia Derbyshire - visionarySet for broadcast on Saturday March 27th at 8pm on Radio 4 (a shortened repeat follows on Monday, March 29th at 3pm), Sculptress of Sound – The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire sees Matthew Sweet visit The University of Manchester – home of Delia’s private collection of audio recordings – to learn more about the career and working methods of the woman who reshaped Ron Grainer’s original Doctor Who theme into the sinister and alien tune that heralded the show throughout the 1960s, and features contributions from the composer’s colleagues at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Brian Hodgson and Dick Mills in a round table discussion with Mark Ayres.

Producer Phil Collinge says “Delia’s realisation of the Doctor Who theme is just one small example of her genius and we’ll demonstrate how the music was originally created as well as hearing individual tracks from Delia’s aborted 70’s version.

He adds: “We’ll also feature the make-up tapes for her celebrated piece ‘Blue Veils and Golden Sands’, and hear Delia being interviewed on a previously ‘lost’ BBC recording from the 1960s.”

“The thing about Delia’s Collection is that it wasn’t limited to her own music and make-up tapes. Delia recorded radio programmes that she appeared in as well and we’ve found two – ‘Information Please’ and ‘Shortwave Listeners Corner’ – which don’t appear to exist in the BBC archive any more.

“We’ve chosen an extract from ‘Information Please’ that really contrasts the work Delia was doing with the more mainstream radio production of the time – as you’ll hear when our studio guests react to her being introduced in an old-fashioned way as ‘a nice young girl with a sound technical knowledge’!”

As well as a track that sounds as though it could have come straight out of an Ibiza club, the documentary is one that any fan of the Doctor Who theme tune will not want to miss.

Sculptress of Sound – The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire is broadcast on Saturday March 27th at 8pm on Radio 4.


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