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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Dr. Who & The Daleks/Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.
Music by Malcolm Lockyer/ Music by Bill McGuffie
37 Tracks 75:23 mins

I was still a young boy in primary school when the BBC's Doctor Who captured the imagination of the nation, and particularly the Time Lord's chief adversary, Terry Nation's robotic (though actually peopled by shapeless aliens) Daleks. It's all too common these days for a sci-fi/fantasy production to have plenty of merchandise available for kids and older fans to buy, but Dalekmania was an early example of this. I, myself, had plastic Daleks off varying sizes, from little ones that were propelled by a metal ball in their base, to large ones with plastic wheels, and even battery-operated ones with flashing lights. Their popularity was such that two feature films were made; firstly, Dr. Who & The Daleks in 1965 which, for me, remains the better of the two, set on the Daleks' home planet of Skaro, and boasting imaginative and futuristic set designs (a long way from the sticky tape and cardboard sets of the TV show). One thing however didn't sit well for me (or for many other fans) was the changing of the Doctor's character from that of an almost invincible Time Lord to that of a doddery human grandfather (with granddaughter in tow), though of course Peter Cushing did his best to fulfill his employers' vision of the role. Cushing was retained for the following year's sequel, Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., which saw the time-travelling would-be-conquerors enslaving the world of the future (like the Doctor, they could turn up anywhere or any when, even appearing on a galleon at sea in one story, I seem to remember). Whilst the initial premise was shocking, the film unfortunately suffered (rather like the series, particularly in later years) from too much quarry-based action.
But what of the music for the films, presented here for the first time? Well, whereas the TV show was scored experimentally with electronics, a symphonic approach was decided upon for the big screen, composed of course in the pop-influenced style of the time. Malcolm Lockyer, a gifted amateur musician, who originally trained as an architect, but went on to work for the BBC, after service in the RAF, was chosen to score Dr. Who & The Daleks and his score, rescued from the vaults of Lumiere at Pinewood Studios, and which here features music not used in the final film, commences with a brassy fanfare before going into the somewhat jazzy electric guitar and drumkit driven main theme (a kind of Tardis Named Desire, if you will), a softer orchestral version of which follows. The whimsical "The Petrified Jungle" gives way to the first hint of drama in "The Petrified Creature and the City," the latter receiving its own brief fanfare. Romantic strings pervade "Four Return to Tardis," but only very briefly before being swamped by more dramatics. "The Medicine Box and the Climb to the City" mainly consists of string variations on the main theme and Lockyer's secondary theme, which is yet to be fully developed, and of which more later. "City Corridors" is suitably sneaky and suspenseful, giving way to more dramatics for "Captured by the Daleks," where the trudging secondary theme, mentioned before, is again heard, receiving an ominous march-like treatment in "Susan Leaves the City." "The Jungle at Night" is suitably suspenseful and threatening, with "Susan Returns to the City" and "Escape from the Cell" again featuring variations on the secondary theme; the latter also presenting a touch of the romantic theme, before being swept away by action and then march-like variations on the secondary theme, continuing into "The Trap," where it is overtaken by swirling strings at the end.
Both "The Swamp" and "The Mountain" again feature the secondary theme, which receives its boldest treatment thus far in the latter, before ending in the drama of "The Cave." The tense "The Jump" follows, leading us into the dramatic finale, encompassing "The Thals Approach the City," "The Countdown" and "The Countdown Stops," all of which have their share of action, based largely on the secondary theme. After a big dramatic ending, a strings-lead variation on the main theme brings the score to a close.
At the end of the day, it's not the misjudged main theme, but the secondary theme, which could easily have graced any number of Italian Peplum movies, that is the single most memorable element of the score.
The films' co-producer Milton Subotsky didn't care for Lockyer's score for the first film, so instead turned to pianist and composer Bill McGuffie for Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. His score opens with a jazzy arrangement of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor for "Smash and Grab." Unfortunately the original music tracks to the film have been lost, so what we have here is a mix of music and sound effects, which are of course intrusive, but bearable (at least there's no dialogue). McGuffie's "Opening Titles" are again jazzy, but much more uptempo and adventurous than Lockyer's theme. "Daleks and Robomen" introduces a diabolical march, which alternates with jazzy action music, and actually becomes quite slapsticky later on in the track. "The Mine Workings and the Cottage" starts suspensefully, but ends poignantly. "Smash and Grab (Reprise) further develops the Bach piece, before the pacy main theme returns to close the score.
Of the two scores, I prefer Lockyer's effort, which sits more comfortably with the film than McGuffie's (at times) overly jazzy sounds which seem a bit out of place in the futuristic Daleks Invasion, though his villainous march, when played straight, is as effective as that featured in the first film.
It should be noted that in addition to Lockyer's and McGuffie's music for the films, Barry Gray (of Thunderbirds fame) also contributed electronic effects, some of which can be heard separately and within the selections from Daleks' Invasion Earth, and also on three bonus tracks at the end of the album. But, just prior to the bonus tracks, we have the singles the composers released at the time: "The Eccentric Dr. Who," "Daleks and Thals" and "Fugue For Thought," presented of course in suitably pop-styled arrangements.
I'm really pleased Silva Screen have managed to resurrect this music and, along with their Gerry Anderson Productions releases, I can give them all a spin, close my eyes and drift back to more innocent times.
Accompanying the disc is a very attractive and informative booklet, filled with colour stills from the films and collectible artwork from adverts etc. of the time; together with notes by Marcus Hearn and album producer Mark Ayres, and composer biographies by David Ades.
Released on 5th October, go to to preview the tracks, download them or order the CD.


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