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Death to the Daleks

Death to the Daleks
TV serial
Series Doctor Who
Date of composition January 1974
Opus number (No opus number)
Type of work Music for an episodic television series
Duration 20 mins
Musical forces Soprano/E flat Saxophone, B flat + Contrabass Clarinets/Basset Horns, E flat/Alto Saxophone + B flat Clarinets/Basset Horn, Tenor Saxophone/Flute/B flat + Bass Clarinets/Basset Horn, Baritone Saxophone/B flat and Bass Clarinets, Perc. and solo Tenor Voice
Commissioner BBC-tv
Writer Terry Nation
Producer Barry Letts
Director Michael E. Briant
Recording session 1974
Session information Recorded by Mostyn Evans (tenor) and the London Saxophone Quartet
Publication status Manuscript
Archive location British Film Institute (BFI)
Archive contents
  • Original loose and bound music manuscripts
  • BBC rehearsal scripts for episodes I–IV
  • Notes Serial in four 25-minute episodes; parts of the music were treated by the Radiophonic Workshop, including the solo voice, used as the basis for massed choral chant; music played by the London Saxophone Quartet
    More info… See the dedicated section about Death to the Daleks


    …another remarkable score…

    Hilton Gough, BFFS Film magazine, no 25, April 1975

    All in all, a highly original score which stood out in sharp contrast to the usual radiophonic blancmange which accompanies the majority of Doctor Who serials.

    Hilton Gough, BFFS Film magazine, no 25, April 1975

    A brilliant touch … was that the music associated with the Daleks sounded like Dalek music—it had the same quality and ‘wobble’ as Dalek speech. This was one of the few radiophonic touches in the whole score: in the hands of a master, a little does indeed go a very long way.

    Hilton Gough, BFFS Film magazine, no 25, April 1975

    I for one appreciated what I can only describe as the ‘Exxilon Chant’—a most hypnotic kind of primitive chant based on what seemed to be some sort of dog Latin text: I understand that this imposing edifice of choral sound was built up entirely from a solo voice … another example of a little going a long way, with a vengeance!

    Hilton Gough, BFFS Film magazine, no 25, April 1975

    …he had a brilliant way of making weird noises with conventional instruments. …you had them chanting and doing that fantastic tune … That was the first thing I ever learnt to play on an instrument, you know that? … Most people learn London’s Burning, but I learnt that!

    Nick Briggs, Executive Producer, Big Finish, Beneath the City of the Exxilons (documentary), BBCDVD 3483, 2012