If the you had to choose one cultural icon that was alien in appearance, could easily transform himself from one stunning esoteric creation to another and was constantly attempting new, bold and exciting things as a way of life to appear on Doctor Who; then there really is only one choice.
So it comes as no surprise that attempts were made to get Ziggy Stardust himself, David Bowie to join the crew of the TARDIS; that’s according to a new interview with Doctor Who composer Murray Gold over at Den of Geek.
Murray explains that it was a chance meeting that brought these two legends so tantalisingly close together:
“I ran into Bowie once in an ice-cream store in Reinbeck and he started talking to me about Doctor Who. He had no idea who I was, I was just a fanboy freak. [Laughs] And I said, ‘I would never bother a famous person in the world, I’m so courteous and mindful of other people’s privacy – except it’s you!’ [Laughs]
I said, ‘I write music for Doctor Who,’ and he said, ‘I’m not doing it.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ and he said, ‘They want me to do it.’ I don’t know what it means, to this day, but that’s what he said. I don’t know in what capacity, as an actor or as a musician. I would like to see an episode of Doctor Who scored by David Bowie.”
Murray also goes onto describe the first moment he realised just what Russell T Davies had been concocting in that troubled first year:
“It kept on upping. In season one, I didn’t know what it was. Russell obviously knew what it was but I hadn’t really shared it. I hadn’t read many manuscripts. I read Rose and Father’s Day. What happened with it was that it just kept on upping the ante and the country kept on responding to it with more and more euphoria.
I remember World War Three and Aliens of London and I just discovered fans – I didn’t know they existed – and they were really bummed off about those two episodes. They were annoyed about how light-hearted it was. There was, admittedly, a problem – we hadn’t worked out the CGI versus prosthetics [on the Slitheen].
It was episode four [Aliens of London] and it made an impact on me when Charlie Brooker wrote that Doctor Who has finally attained the status of art. He said it was so joyous, so fun and so free and funny and sort of satirical, in its own way. I remember thinking, ‘That’s fantastic!’.
And then there was the moment he finally sat down to watch the series entire, and realised just what had they had on their hands:
“I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Somebody was in a massively good mood when they wrote those thirteen episode. No Doctor Who fan is probably going to understand this but I’d seen the first episode of Shameless and done that series two years prior and it was so full of its own exuberance. It was so joyous and I’d not seen anything like that on British TV before…
Doctor Who came along, and that had the same thing. I thought, ‘Oh my god, you’re really going to town on this!’ You’re not just taking it and copying something American, you’re taking a love of life, you’re taking something beyond television shows and – I’m pretty sure it was all Russell – you’re taking your love of life and you’re using this television show to talk about that. You’re taking your love of life, and using Doctor Who, hijacking Doctor Who to express it. That’s what it felt like he was doing. It was just awesome.
I’d done a lot of television shows but I couldn’t believe how euphoric it was about existence, so happy. I don’t think it came from Doctor Who. Honestly, as someone who watched Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, I never saw that in Doctor Who. This exuberance, this love of life was latent but it wasn’t there before in Doctor Who.
Every television show has ups and downs. You can’t keep up that intensity all the time. It ebbs and flows. The energy that was in Season One could never be sustained.”
If you want to hear Murray’s opinion on his favourite Doctor Who scores, both his own and others, some of his favourite composers and his feelings on the arc of Donna Noble, be sure to head over to Den of Geek and check the whole interview out.