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Doctor Who: Series 8 by Murray Gold (Review)

posted Jun 10, 2015, 2:36 PM by Leo Mayr   [ updated Jun 12, 2015, 3:16 AM ]

The Doctor Who scores have always had a special place in my heart, so I am always looking forward to new releases. Murray Gold has served as the series‘ composer since its reboot back in 2005 and has always managed to create the right mood. Each series has had its own feel to it and you can really hear the development of Gold‘s style in the ten years he‘s been composing for it. As well as how each series has gotten bolder and more lush.

After a slight drop with series 7, the score for series 8 is an incredible improvement. After a very electronic version of the main theme there are a few more places where Gold chose to use electronics and it honestly comes down to the individual to decide if that‘s for the better or for worse. One of these is “Aristotle, We Have Been Hit“, an almost stereotypical sci-fi action track. Being the first Doctor Who score to be released on three discs, there are three hours of music to enjoy, including the score for the most recent christmas special, so at first I shuddered at the thought of having to listen through all the music but right with “A Good Man? Twelve‘s Theme“ the score caught my attention. After a slow and suspenseful theme for the tenth doctor and a happy theme for number 11, the new theme presents the doctor as the lone hero with a fast paced emotional theme that also serves as the score‘s main action music reappearing at several points throughout.

Besides a few recurring themes, the Doctor Who scores have always been about variety and this time there is a lot of it. “Pudding Brains“ introduces a hopeful and almost happy theme for a five minute track that encorporates twelve‘s theme with a lot of Gold‘s signature writing, creating one of the album‘s best pieces. What‘s refreshing about the Doctor Who scores is the change of genre throughout the series, from serious sci-fi to child-friendly medieval adventures (see “This Is My Spoon“) and daring heists (see “Rob The Bank“). By far my favourite piece is “The Caretaker“ a suite from the episode with the same name. It combines fast and happy melodies with suspense and action, creating one of the most diverse tracks the album has to offer. After all, that‘s what Doctor Who is about: scary monsters and running away from things (although ever since series 6, that has been on a decline in favour of a more child-friendly series... We live in dark times indeed...). “They Walk Among Us“ brings back old friends with Gold‘s Cybermen-theme first introduced in series 2 which brings me to another aspect that defines his work on Doctor Who: a sense of continuity that has now been going on for ten years. Themes return as characters return and new ones get added to the mix. As is the case with Missy. Being part of a plot that spans the entire series 8, the theme appears in a few places throughout and also achieves the connection between the individual tracks and styles.

As a conclusion to the regular score for series 8 (disc three is a seperate christmas episode) serves “(The Majestic Tale Of) An Idiot With A Box“, a heroic version of twelve‘s theme that feels a lot like the theme for doctor number 11. The christmas episode (disc three) features a lot of amazing tracks, but most notably is “Every Christmas Is Last Christmas“, starting slow and emotional before bursting into a faster and more intense heroic theme while still using elements of twelve‘s theme.

After ten years of his work, Murray Gold still amazes me with the quality of his work. Almost never does it feel like a television score, instead Gold‘s work can easily compete with recent blockbuster-scores, making me wonder why he has not gotten any movies to score recently. But then again, if he did, he might not find the time for Doctor Who, so I won‘t complain.