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Audio visionary Delia Derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire’s Adventure in Space and Time?

The Doctor Who theme tune is one of the most iconic tunes in the world – and the woman who created it is being celebrated by the BBC in the biopic, An Adventure in Space and Time.

Delia Derbyshire 2

Delia, who died in 2001, will be played by Sarah Winter in the Mark Gatiss-penned drama, which will also star David Bradley as William Hartnell, Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert and Claudia Grant as Carole Ann Ford.

Delia worked for the Radiophonics Workshop for almost a decade, created to provide sound effects and special music for the BBC. Her creation of the Doctor Who theme tune is her best-known piece, and she inspired many musicians, including members of the bands, Portishead and Orbital.

Sarah Winter

Peter Kember, who was the last musician to work with Delia, tried to inspire her back into the industry, and said:

The funny thing was that the bleeping noise she enjoyed using was very similar to her laugh. She was incredibly sweet and generous, but lonely, I think. She was back to getting revved up by it.

David Bradley as William Hartnell

The Independent notes that:

She and fellow Radiophonic colleagues were denied credit for their work because the BBC deemed them to be “engineers”. Ron Grainer, the composer of the Doctor Who theme, which Derbyshire “realised”, fought for dual credit for her, but was denied. On hearing the piece, Grainer is said to have remarked, “Did I write that?” Derbyshire replied, “Most of it.”

An Adventure in Space and Time is due for broadcast later this year, presumably around the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who in November.


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates (Kasterborous' Assistant Editor) pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

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