Now That’s What I Call Doctor Who!
Former Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill went viral this week with his take on Disney’s Let It Go. But he’s not the first Doctor Who star to take to song…
1. Arthur Darvill let’s it go…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=TNDyBBAjRHg.
Formerly known as The Eleventh Doctor’s companion Rory Williams, the star of Broadchurch is currently in the West End, so knows a thing or two about a song and dance… but he’s far from the first star of the show to sideline his involvement with the show to a tune or two.
2. The First Chance Salloon
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=AKSocNFdsbc.
Of course, a show with such a legendary theme tune has links with music that go way back. The Beatles even appeared in an episode back in 1965… though the first song proper ever composed for the show – as part of 1966 story The Gunfighters – was The Ballad of the Last Chance Salloon. Like the story itself, it leaves a lot to be desired…
3. Hug ‘Im Underneaf Duh Missletow!
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=GuBJ5H9m3Sc.
Not that pop-songs based around the show in the middle of Dalekmania back in the 60s were anything to write home about, either…
4. He’ll always be a friend of mine…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=In8YcOTjbWQ.
There’s a quaint charm, however, to this flop single by child actress Roberta Tovey, who played Susan in the two spin-off movies featuring Peter Cushing as the ‘very-much-human’ Dr. Who.
5. Creag an tuire!
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=W6jG7MbBguo.
With all this silliness going on, it wasn’t long before the cast got in on the act, either. Frazer Hines, who played Jamie McCrimmon between 1966 and 1969 (and again in 1983 and 1985 – making him the most prolific companion ever), tried his hand at a pop career… and bombed.
6. Cue Deep Purple…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=d4vuRoHqUQ4.
It took until Doctor #3, comedy veteran turned serious actor Jon Pertwee, before something approaching cool was attempted, though with somewhat uncool results!
Released on Deep Purple’s record label no less, this progtastic reworking of Delia Derbyshire and Ron Grainer’s legendary theme song was given a Shatner-esque voice over from Pertwee that truly trips the light fantastic. Bonkers.
7. We should really mention Benton, here…
Pertwee was often accompanied by a bevy of UNIT soldiers during his tenure. One of them, the loveable Sgt Benton, was played by John Levine, who in recent years has turned to singing. If Pertwee was the Bill Shatner of music Whodom, then Levine is definitely the Leonard Nimoy! We’ll let you judge the quality of his tunes for yourself, as there are none on youtube, but they’re definitely for a particular kind of fan….
8. It all went quiet for a while…
Clearly after Jon Pertwee blew our minds, no-one knew what to do with Doctor Who music for some time. There was an attempt at a disco version of the theme song, but the Tom Baker years were a generally fallow time. There was no opportunity to hear Tom crooning away on some old standards, or even a novelty track for K-9.
Hell, Star Trek got Where’s Captain Kirk? by Spizz Energi to celebrate… where was our Time Lord during punk and New Wave, eh?
Oh. Right. Here he was.
Yes that *IS* The Doctor singing. This one.
Look at him. He’s so awesome and he knows it.
11. In 1985, Doctor Who was almost axed.
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=NnTSbFeWwro.
Superfan Ian Levine joined forces with up and coming composer Hans Zimmer – later to win Oscars for his work, no less… to make this. A bunch of z-list stars wailed along and, under duress, the show’s then incumbent stars Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant were forced to join in. They all want to forget, yet they must ne’er be allowed to do so.
Particularly because we wouldn’t have blamed the BBC if they’d wiped every episode from the archives and vowed never to mention Doctor Who ever again after that.
12. The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=bdTELokKfCk.
Cue dance pioneers The KLF, who were fresh from courting controversy with their groundbreaking album 1987 (What The F*** Is Going On?). Intent on making the most annoying #1 record ever, they concocted a song that will go down in history, pretended to be a talking car, and even wrote a book about it. Genius.
13. The Show Must Go On…
…But it didn’t for some time. The demise of Doctor Who in 1989, returning only briefly in 1996, all but killed the chances of any music making more than a passing reference to it. When Busted wrote ‘Year 3000’, they didn’t even know what a Dalek was.
14. But at least we had this…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=WhkGVBNpLT8.
Dance legends Orbital gave us this stonking reinterpretation of the theme song in 2001.
15. And when the show came back in 2005, it brought with it an actress with prior experience of space-ships…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=D_XI_290cfw.
Curiously, Rose Tyler kept her previous experience with extra terrestrial life-forms as much of a secret from The Doctor as she did her expert dancing.
16. She wasn’t the only one with musical leanings either…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=7Jv010KRU4Q.
Billie Piper was soon joined by John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. After years in musical theatre, the actor quicklycarved himself a career in pop music on the back of his Doctor Who role. Of particular note, was this adaptation of a song from Wicked, sung in character as Jack!
17. And we must never forget this happened.
I mean, it might be the campest combination ever, but whoever decided to put Kylie in that outfit, let alone let her pose with a Dalek in sultry positions for Doctor Who Magazine deserves a knighthood.
19. In fact, under Russell T Davies, the show got pretty tuneful…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=70kMKuieSyA.
My Angel Put The Devil In Me, The Stowaway, Song For Ten and Love Don’t Roam were all songs composed for, and featuring in, the show itself during David Tennant’s era.
20. Divine Comedy
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=mJVzXvoLhBk.
The latter two were even sung by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and The Duckworth Lewis Method fame.
21. And when Davies & fellow exec Julie Gardner moved on, the TARDIS incumbents got in on the act…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=y7JWY_oYlps.
The Ballad of Russell and Julie was created as a tribute to outgoing executive producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner, and is performed by the cast and crew from their five years in charge of the show: including David Tennant, Catherine Tate and John Barrowman, in the style of Victoria Wood’s old ditties. An absolute delight!
22. Not that their successors were adverse to singing…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=htHx-LRe9yQ.
Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill love a sing-song. They even went festive for this little ditty back in 2010.
23. And got fans involved…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=91faaRz9r-g.
Scaramouche, scaramouche, will you do the fandango?
24. Which is just as well, when one of your biggest guest stars is Katherine Jenkins…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=hiNQVNZKTuI.
As Abigail Pettigrew, Jenkins sang the beautiful Abigail’s Song for the 2010 Xmas Special.
25. And there was barely a month went by during Matt Smith’s tenure that we didn’t seem to see him doing this…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=HFxYDDnf6v8.
Seriously… the man loves that theme song.
26. No, he REALLY does.
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=uJsqCNj3i6I.
So much so he performed it at Glastonbury with Orbital. Major kudos.
27. But his successor, Peter Capaldi, is way ahead of him…
That’s him in the centre there, fronting 80s punk band Dreamboys, with Late Show host Craig Ferguson on drums!
28. They used to have a lot of fun together.
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=i5zhExXiL8A.
Seriously. Is this the first instance of someone being cast as the Doctor who has publicly stated he used to ‘dabble’?
29. So whilst we wait for his first episode this Autumn, here’s a track to savour…
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=UHXCzC2wGlo.
Recorded way back in 1980, no less. Now that’s what I call time travel…