Of course the main theme of Doctor Who has reached the same status as Star Wars and Star Trek when it comes to fame and recognizability. That's all well and good and as it should be, but from almost the very beginning the show has also snuck original song pop-song compositions into episodes that you may not have even noticed were specifically crafted for The Doctor.
Today we explore the ten best original songs that have appeared in 50 years of space and time.
10. "The King's Song" In the year 1215 the Master attempted to use a shape-changing android called Kamelion to impersonate King John for his own ends. The Fifth Doctor not only manages to thwart the plot, but gains Kamelion as a traveling companion afterwards. "The King's Song" appears briefly in "The King's Demons" being sung by Kamelion as King John.
The episode's writer, Terence Dudley, penned the lyrics, with music being provided by Peter Howell; Gerald Flood sung the tune, accompanied by Jakob Lindberg on the lute. The melody forms a leitmotif to the rest of the score, an act of musical subtlety almost completely absent in the classic era.
9. "My Angel Put the Devil in Me" I don't put a high score on "Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks," an ultimately pedestrian story that offers very little. However, it does feature one of Murray Gold's better original songs in Miranda Raison's cabaret number "My Angel Put the Devil in Me." The song is apparently popular enough to still have cover versions of it many years into the future, as Captain Jack Harkness is listening to it in an alien bar in "The End of Time."
8. "Abigail's Song (Silence Is All You Know)" I was going to put "The Long Song" from "Rings of Akhaten" on here, but listening to that tune without Matt Smith's amazing monologue in the middle just goes to prove that it's not really all that good. Instead, Murray Gold's Christmas carol from "A Christmas Carol" gets the mention, performed by the angelic Katherine Jenkins. Not only is Jenkins' singing incomparably beautiful, but the orchestral arrangement is exceptionally brilliant. No wonder the song had the power to guide a crashing spaceship to safety.
7. "In a Dream" I had always just assumed that the soft jazz song that the Seventh Doctor was listening to right before The Master sprang the trap that led to his death and regeneration was just one of the thousands of old standards I had never heard of. No, it was a completely custom-recorded song written by Barbara L. Jordan and William Peterkin and sung by Pat Hodges. Later, after the Eighth Doctor has saved the Earth and escapes back to the Tardis for new adventures, he resumes listening to the song.
6. "The Stowaway" Another Murray Gold Christmas triumph from "Voyage of the Damned," the Tenth Doctor listens to this song at the party raging on the spaceship Titanic. Though fans speculated that the song was supposed to be about The Doctor or doomed companion Astrid Perth, Gold said in DVD commentaries that it was actually written from the perspective of Rose Tyler, who at this point was still trapped in the alternate universe with her father and mother.
5. "Venusian Lullaby" The Third Doctor was the master of all things Venusian, apparently including their folk music. He sung this tune to soothe an Aggedor in "The Curse of Peladon," and occasionally sang it to himself afterwards. Though given as a lullaby, the Venusian translation usually reveals that it's actually a raunchy bar song.
Jon Pertwee himself same up with the words, claiming that he just started talking gibberish over "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." This makes Pertwee the only Doctor to have composed for the show. I could have showed you him actually singing it, but this cover by Diana Sampson is too beautiful not to spread around.
List continues on the next page.
4. "Love Don't Roam" Murray Gold again, and this time in a rare song sung by a man. Neil Hannon, in this case. "Love Don't Roam" was playing at what was supposed to be Donna Noble's wedding reception after she disappeared from the altar and was beamed about the Tardis in "The Runaway Bride." One line from the big-band jam, "all the strange, strange creatures," would later be used by Gold as the title for another composition that often shows up in Doctor Who trailers.
3. "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" Yeah, I'm going to catch merry hell for ranking anything from "The Gunfighters" this high up, but I still say it's one of the better Wild West outings from any Doctor. Steven and Dodo are forced by outlaws to perform this song as proof that they are actors and not associates of Doc Holliday after they mention The Doctor. It would be more than 20 years before another original song would appear on the show, but you won't find that godawful rap from "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" on this list.
2. "Song for Ten" Murray Gold's best original song contribution is so good I honestly thought that it was some awesome obscure glam-rock track I had just never heard of. Nope, the anthem that follows the Tenth Doctor as he prepares to go to Christmas dinner with the Tyler family after defeating the Sycorax in "The Christmas Invasion" belongs to the show alone, and is the perfect triumphant musical moment as he dons his soon to be iconic costume.
You could consider the song the parting words of the Ninth Doctor to his successor when the lyrics go "Have a good life, do it for me," the same sentiment he said when he sent Rose away from the Dalek invasion in "Journey's End."
1. "Children of Tomorrow" Speaking of glam-rock, I can't recommend the Eighth Doctor audio adventure "The Horror of Glam Rock" enough. The Doctor and Lucie Miller end up trapped by savage monsters in a '70s diner with an up-and-coming glam act, The Tomorrow Twins, as well as their manager (played by the one and only Bernard Cribbins).
Turns out the Twins' music is actually being used to open a doorway to allow inter-dimensional beings to cross over to our reality. It's one of the best stories in a very good season of the Eight Doctor Adventures, and as a bonus you get the full song written by Tim Sutton and Barnaby Edwards and sung by Stephen Gately and Clare Buckfield. Sutton also glams up the original theme to send the story out with, and that's worth the price of the story alone.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism