Who Is Dr Who

The Amazing Musical Adventures of Dr Who and his Friends

RPM 200

The long-awaited first volume of Doctor Who-inspired pop records!

A handy pocket-sized compendium of sound, with a lavishly illustrated poster inlay and comprehensive notes!

Errata | Background

"Who is Dr Who"

Compiled and Produced by Mark Ayres
Executive Producer Mark Stratford
Mastering by Nick Watson at SRT
Additional Mastering by Mark Ayres
CD Design by Simon Robinson (Easy on the Eye)
Memorabilia and Photographs courtesy of David Howe
Special thanks to Frazer Hines, Liz Hobbs, Mrs G Harper and the late Don Harper, Jack Dorsey,
David Howe, Paul Vanezis, Kevin Davies & Trev Faull

1. Doctor Who (Original Theme) - BBC Radiophonic Workshop
2. Dr. Who - Eric Winstone and his Orchestra
3. I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek - The Go Go's
4. Landing Of The Daleks (Original version) - The Earthlings
5. March Of The Robots - The Earthlings
6. Dance Of The Daleks - Jack Dorsey and Orchestra
7. Who's Who - Roberta Tovey with Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Lockyer
8. Not So Old - Roberta Tovey with Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Lockyer
9. The Eccentric Dr. Who - Malcolm Lockyer Orchestra
10. Daleks and Thals - Malcolm Lockyer Orchestra
11. Fugue For Thought - Bill McGuffie
12. Who's Dr Who? - Frazer Hines
13. Punch and Judy Man - Frazer Hines
14. Who Is The Doctor - Jon Pertwee
15. Pure Mystery - Jon Pertwee
16. Dr. Who - Don Harper's Homo Electronicus

Bonus tracks:

17. Landing Of The Daleks (broadcast version with scrambled morse code message) - The Earthlings
18. Time Traveller - Frazer Hines (Previously unreleased , recorded 1968)

(All tracks mono except 14-16, stereo)

If you have a hit on your hands, one of the measures of the size of that hit must be how many people try to jump on the band wagon. And by this measure, the BBC Television series Doctor Who was a very big hit indeed. The programme's first episode, in which William Hartnell as the cantankerous time-traveller whisked his granddaughter and her two teachers back to the Stone Age in his erratic time machine, the TARDIS, aired on 23rd November 1963, and from the very beginning (or at least from four weeks later, when the Daleks made their first tentative plunger-only appearance), everyone wanted a slice of the action. From toy makers to film companies, book and magazine publishers through confectioners to home-furnishing suppliers, the range of available merchandise grew and grew. Even now, years after the programme's demise as a part of the nation's regular weekly TV diet (the last 25-minute episode was made in 1989), the phenomenon continues. Fans have formed production companies to make spinoff documentaries and films, and on top of the BBC's ongoing marketing of classic episodes through video, DVD and CD releases there is, each and every month, a magazine, a new novel, and a new CD-only audio drama. There are even producers making compilation albums...

Many television programmes inspire the record industry to put needle to wax, but few do so to the extent that Doctor Who has done, and there is an enormous catalogue of disks celebrating (or affectionately mocking) the programme. The theme music itself is one of the most-covered in TV history (I've done it four or five times myself!), and in compiling this disc we eventually had to limit ourselves to the period from 1964 to 1973, realising that, while we present nearly an hour of material, we have only scratched the surface. A second volume must surely follow!

I ought to say a quick word about the criteria we used for including a track in this collection. All tracks here are singles either about, inspired by, or obvious cash-ins on the programme. Flip sides have not been included if they are totally unrelated. The exception is if a star of the programme (or a film based on it) has themselves made a spinoff record and also performs the flip. Cover versions of the theme tune are included only if they were released as singles, but not if they are just part of a wider theme compilation (so, no Cy Payne or Geoff Love).

A final note: most of these recordings were intended as quick throwaway novelties, and the master tapes of many are long lost. As a result, some of these gems have been sourced from vinyl copies, and we spent many months tracking down the best recordings we could find and restoring them for release. I would like to thank those artists and fans who have helped in this endeavour and opened their collections to us.

(The CD Packaging includes comprehensive track-by-track notes, from which the above is extracted)

This compilation © 2000 RPM, a division of Cherry Red Records Ltd


It always happens - the artwork goes off to the printers, then you spot some errors! Here's three:

  1. In stating that we haven't included most of the many cover versions of the theme, I wrote "so, no Cy Town or Geoff Love". I meant, of course, "Cy Payne" (as corrected above). Cy Town was an actor and Dalek operator, not a purveyor of television theme tunes!
  2. This one was introduced by an overzealous sub-editor (sorry, Simon!): it is stated in the notes that the original Decca theme single was never reissued after its original 1964 outing. It was, however, in 1972, a short while before the BBC issued their new stereo version.
  3. Another error in the same paragraph: the b-side to the original Decca release was This Can't Be Love (not This Must Be Love).

Some Background to the Release

I've been working on this CD for nearly 10 years! The earliest computer file I can find relating to it dates from May 1993, when I drew up a "shopping list" to present to Silva Screen Records who were interested in the project at the time - I'd already produced a few Doctor Who CDs for them, including my own three scores and some compilations and remasters, and my idea was that this would form a nice 30th anniversary tribute to the show. For a couple of years prior to '93, I'd been discussing the idea with Frazer Hines and a number of prominent fans and collectors (among them Kevin Davies, David Howe and Andrew Pixley), drawing up a list of releases and amassing a collection of cassettes of the various recordings.

Disappointingly, around 1994-5, Silva Screen went a bit cold on Doctor Who, although we continue to enjoy a fruitful relationship in other areas. Where this particular project is concerned, the sheer amount of detective work involved in tracking down rights owners and master recordings was undoubtedly a factor! With Silva Screen out of the frame, I looked around for another label to take on the release. There were a couple of near-misses, but nothing came of them.

In late 1996, I was contacted (through Silva Screen) by Michael Richardson, who was writing an article on Doctor Who spinoffs for Record Collector magazine. We had some long discussions, and Richardson also contacted Howe, Pixley and others for their input. The resulting article (issue 209, January 1997) contained an exhaustive discography which helped complete and complement my own research, and rekindled my enthusiasm in the CD project.

Then, in mid-1998, I received a call from Simon Robinson at RPM Records. RPM's motto is "by collectors, for collectors", and Simon has a great enthusiasm for merchandise and collectables of all kinds. He had purchased a copy of Virgin Publishing's Doctor Who - The Sixties, one of an excellent series of Doctor Who reference books written by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker. Leafing through the book, he had come across a chapter entitled "Welcome to the Toyshop", and noticed the subsection, "Records". He immediately spotted the potential for a release and contacted first Virgin, and through them, David Howe.

David Howe is a leading collector of Doctor Who memorabilia and merchandise, and the author of a book on the subject which aims to be the authoritative text (this in addition to all the Doctor Who-based references he has already written!). Knowing of my own efforts, and that I was already well on the way to putting such a release together, David put Simon in touch with me, and we started to collaborate. My first meeting with Simon and his business partner, Mark Stratford, was in October 1998 at their offices in Oxford. Given the sheer quantity of material, we soon decided to limit our initial volume to Doctor Who's first decade. Once again, the project went cold for a while as Mark and Simon reorganised their business: RPM became part of Cherry Red Records, and Simon branched off with his own Darker Then Blue.

I used the time to start to track down suitable masters, while Mark Stratford looked into the clearances side of things. Most of these recordings were intended as quick throwaway novelty items, and some of the smaller labels have been sold and resold many times, so original masters frequently proved elusive; Mark and Simon managed to track a few down, however. Luckily, vinyl copies exist in private hands, and all but one of the collectors I asked for the loan of material were happy to oblige. I got back in touch with Jack Dorsey (the man behind Dance of the Daleks), for whom I'd worked on a completely unrelated project in 1993, and he managed to locate a copy of his track. Frazer Hines, who had been expressing support and enthusiasm for the project since I'd first mentioned it to him at a Doctor Who convention in 1991, searched his attic to come up with copies of his single and a special bonus, the only surviving acetate of Time Traveller; he and I were both disappointed that another unreleased track, Jamie's Awae In His Time Machine, eluded us. One sad moment occurred in mid-2000 when I tried to contact Don Harper (of Invasion and Homo Electronicus fame), with whom I'd corresponded a few years previously when I started my research into the music of Doctor Who - Don, I discovered, had passed away the previous year. His wife, Gloria, wrote me a lovely letter however, enclosing an unplayed copy of his Dr Who single. In the end, I found myself with a number of copies of some items, so we were able to pick and choose. I did some preliminary remastering in my own studio, then took the collection to Nick Watson at SRT. I've worked with Nick previously on Silva Screen projects (he'd turned my recording of Brad Fiedel's Terminator into one of the loudest things on CD!), and it was coincidental that he is also RPM's mastering engineer of choice. He has worked wonders with the recordings, on limited time and budget, to come up with the final master. In one case, we've even used a cassette copy of part of a track to perform a repair - you won't spot it!

David Howe's extensive collection provided a wealth of visual material to adorn the final CD package, which was put together by Simon Robinson, and I spent a couple of days writing the final draft of the sleeve notes. As often happens, a project that had been on the boil for a few years ended up being completed in a bit of a rush, and a couple of small errors slipped through - see the errata above!

The text on this page is Copyright © Mark Ayres.
Please do not reproduce any of this information without permission!

For information on upcoming releases, click here.

If you have any comments on the contents of this page, mail me: Mark_Ayres@compuserve.com.

For further details of other Doctor Who-related releases, and other music by Mark Ayres, please see the
Doctor Who Compact Disc Catalogue and Mark Ayres's Discography.

Please also see the Mark Ayres Doctor Who Pages

Copyright © Mark Ayres. September 2000.

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