Published on July 9th, 2007 | by Nick Brown
Doc of the Pops
One of the features of â€˜newâ€™ Doctor Who has been the use of pop music in the musical score.
It hasnâ€™t been overly used to the point that we see the Doctor bopping around the TARDIS making his hands into the letters Y, M, C, and A. Nor have we seen him appear in a crisp white suit instead of his crumpled brown one, thrusting a pointing finger into the air and then down to the floor again. But, nevertheless, the pop music has always been there.
In the second episode, â€˜End of the Worldâ€™, we saw Cassandra play â€˜Tainted Loveâ€™ by Soft Cell and Britneyâ€™s â€˜Toxicâ€™ on her i-pod. Also, â€˜In the Moodâ€™ by Glenn Miller was featured in â€˜The Empty Childâ€™ (ok, the Doctor did actually dance to this with Rose, but that was only to issue a â€˜hands offâ€™ warning to Captain Jack).
The â€˜Love and Monstersâ€™ story was told from the perspective of an ELO fan, so we were treated to bursts of â€˜Mr Blue Skyâ€™, â€˜Donâ€™t Bring Me Downâ€™ and â€˜Turn To Stoneâ€™.
Even the Master was in on the act, playing â€˜Voodoo Childâ€™ on his stereo as the Toclafane rained down causing havoc on Earth.
But what about the subtle ones not to the fore of the dialogue? During â€˜School Reunionâ€™, who noticed that â€˜Love Will Tear Us Apartâ€™ by Joy Division was playing in the cafÃ© when the Doctor was being lectured by Sarah Jane? In â€˜Fatherâ€™s Dayâ€™, two songs were used from 1987, the year that story was set in. Well yes, thatâ€™s an obvious thing to do. But what were the songs? â€˜Never Gonna Give You Upâ€™ by Rick Astley and â€˜Never Can Say Goodbyeâ€™ by the Communards. Two songs with lyrics indicating having to say farewell to someone when you really donâ€™t want to. These in an episode that saw Rose going back to the day her father was killed and knowing that she wouldnâ€™t be allowed to save him.
The best use of pop music in Dr Who, though, just has to be the Masterâ€™s brilliantly over-the-top routine to â€˜I Canâ€™t Decideâ€™ by the Scissor Sisters. The whole thing was to mock his captives and he could not have done it any better. Sliding onto the deck of the Valiant as the song played over the shipâ€™s intercom, he twirls Lucy round, mouths the words â€˜I canâ€™t decide whether you should live or dieâ€™ to the Doctor and even has time to stop for, and spit out, a mouthful of tea made for him by Francine, timing it to perfection in order to mime to her the line â€˜Please donâ€™t hang your head and cryâ€™. A truly great moment.
The success of the use of pop music in Dr Who has not been lost on executive producer Russell T Davies. Added to his penchant for little teasers, he is set to really go for it next season. In fact, we can now exclusively reveal the episode titles and brief synopses for season fourâ€¦
Episode 1 â€“ Ice Ice Baby
The Doctor encounters the Ice Warriors as they plot to take over the world by enforcing a second ice age.
Episode 2 â€“ Revolution Baby
The TARDIS lands in France in 1789 and the Doctor gets involved in the storming of the Bastille.