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After learning the piano and drums from a very young age, composer Segun Akinola later turned his attention to composition, graduating from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with first-class honours and the National Film and Television School with an MA in Composing for Film and Television. He was a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2017, with the composers other works including the scoring of BBC Two’s landmark four-part series Black and British: A Forgotten History, written and presented by Historian David Olusoga OBE. Regularly collaborating on BBC projects, he completed the scores for the major three-part series The Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed and two-part series Expedition Volcano, both for BBC Two and PBS. He is better known for his music in the latest series of Doctor Who, series 11 and 12, which feature the first female Doctor, portrayed by Jodie Whittaker. 

Can I start with series 11 of DR.WHO which is when you began to score the show, How did you become involved on the show and did you like so many of us watch the series when you were younger, and were you given any specific instructions as to what style of music you should compose for it?

Chris Chibnall was looking for a new composer for the show and had come across my work, so we started to talk from there. I had not watched the series, but I’d always been very aware of its musical history, particularly the ground-breaking work of Delia Derbyshire and the Radiophonic Workshop. My remit was to start from a clean slate musically, bring my personality to it and to take it in a new direction.

 Are any of your family musical in any way, and can you remember the first piece of music that you took notice of?

My sisters both learned instruments during their teenage years and my mum always sings around the house but that’s it really! What I can say is that my family love music and it’s always been a big part of everyday life. Sadly, I have no idea what the first piece of music I took notice of was, but I do know that I always enjoyed it.

When you began to work on DR. WHO were you aware of the style of the previous scores and was it a little unnerving creating a new arrangement for that familiar theme?

I was very aware of all the music that had come beforehand. For the main score, I had so much creative freedom to come up with a new sound world, which was a lot of fun. The main theme was of course daunting to tackle but, once I’d figured out the overall sound world for the series, it made the main theme much easier to approach.

Do producers use temp tracks at all on TV shows to let the composer know what kind of music they want if so, do you find this practise helpful or distracting?

Yes, they definitely use temp music which can be incredibly helpful and can also be a little limiting but it depends on the particular situation and I’ve certainly experienced both. Fortunately, I’ve found that a lot of the people I work with really do see it as a guide and they’re very happy going in a different direction that works for the storytelling or, are happy to do something that fits better with their overall desire for the score, or, are happy to take general ideas from the temp music without becoming too attached to it.

The scores for the series 11 and 12 I think have been amazing, so atmospheric and they really do give the series storylines a great lift and create an even higher level of intensity and atmospherics, what size orchestra do you tend to utilise for the series and what percentage of the instrumentation is made up of electronic or synthetic elements?

With the change of sound world that arrived with series 11, there was also a change in approach. As the stories each week took place in different locations and time periods, the intention was also for the music to change with the story whilst maintaining a core, recognisable series sound. As such, the instrumentation changes almost every episode! There’s usually at least one live instrument in the score unless the specific musical approach for an episode really doesn’t call for it and an orchestra is only used on select episodes too. I’ve created a number of bespoke sounds, synths and atmos that are used throughout the series so there’s a healthy blend of acoustic instruments, synths (both created from synthetic and acoustic sound sources) and electro-acoustic experimental elements too.

I noticed that even when there is an action cue on the soundtrack, it still maintains a level of thematic content, do you think it is important for films and TV shows to have a theme or themes that the audience can identify with and do you think that the main title as we knew it is now a thing of the past in movies?

Thematic material is (generally) very useful in the storytelling but that doesn’t mean that a theme has to be melodic. It could be a sound, a motif, a harmonic progression, a texture – anything goes! The most important question is: how can the music best serve the storytelling? A lot of the time, themes will be part of the answer but that’s not always the case.

What in your opinion is the purpose of music in film and TV?

At its core, it’s quite simple: the purpose is to help tell the storytelling being depicted on screen in the best way possible in conjunction with any other sound e.g. sound design.

When you are asked to work on a project do you like to see the film or show a number of times to allow you to become familiar with it and then start to figure out what style of music is required and also where it should be placed?

This depends on when I’ve been brought onto a project, but I don’t tend to watch it a great deal of times before I start writing. At the moment, I generally get brought on early enough to write some sketches based on the script or on conversations with the director and then when there’s a rough cut ready, I can watch that through and have a spotting session with the director and possibly the editor and/or producer too, to figure out where music is needed and what it should be doing.

There is a cue entitled MI6 in series 12, which sounds a little 007, was this something that you did consciously, or did it just develop as the scoring process progressed?

It was very intentional! That particular piece is from the first episode of series 12 which was titled ‘Spyfall’ so it of course required an equally Bond-influenced score throughout which was enormous fun!

Do you score the episodes for DR WHO in sequence, and how long approx: does it take to score an episode?

This depends on the production order and when the edits get completed. Sometimes I follow the order they are aired in and other times I’m jumping around the series. As for how much time it takes, this can vary quite a lot and it’s very much a question of how much time I’ve been given! For series 12, I was usually working on different stages of two or three episodes across a two-week period on average, but usually that time shrinks a bit the further into the series we get.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 15/12/2019 – Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 12 – TX: n/a – Episode: Launch (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: TARDIS INTERIOR **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 15/12/2019 00:00:01** Tardis Interior – (C) BBC – Photographer: James Pardon

How do you work out your musical ideas, maybe straight to manuscript or via PC or keyboard, and is there a particular routine that you have when scoring something, ie; main title to end title, central theme first and build the remainder of score around this etc?

Because of time limitations, I generally work straight into my computer. If I have time and I’m working on quite a traditional or classical-based score or theme, then I’ll sketch it out first and that may be on manuscript paper but that’s quite rare at the moment. The approach I take depends on what I’m working on so I don’t have a routine as such but I do like to figure out the central theme, idea or whatever the heart of the score will be, before I get into the rest of the score.

Do you work on the orchestrations yourself or is this sometimes not possible due to schedules, also do you conduct at all or do you prefer to have a conductor so you can monitor the scoring process from the booth?

With the time constraints and everything else to keep on top of in this line of work, an orchestrator is very handy! Orchestration is incredibly important to me and I write into my computer exactly as I’d write on manuscript paper, so all the same detail is there. I work with a great orchestrator who also conducts my scores, this way he already knows the music and my intentions and I get to sit in the booth very much with a composer-producer hat on rather than a composer-conductor hat on. I really enjoy conducting and take every opportunity to do it but when I’m recording, I prefer to be in the booth.

What artists or composers would you say have influenced you or inspired you and was writing music for film and TV something that you always looked at as a career?

I’m very influenced by a wide range of artists, composers and producers so there’s a very, very long list. I think some of my key influences are Earth, Wind and Fire, Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer, Brian Tyler, John Williams, John Powell, Xenakis, Walter Afanasieff, Leonard Bernstein, Holst, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Foo Fighters, Snarky Puppy and many, many others. I was particularly influenced by arranger-producers so from a young age I wanted to be a record producer but, as I watched more films and read more and more books, that slowly morphed into film/TV composition, at which point it definitely became my focus.

You have been presenting a show on Sundays for Scala radio which is called TV ON THE RADIO it’s been brilliant to listen to, do you compile these shows and when will you be returning as I think it’s now finished?

It’s so good to be able to celebrate the brilliant work of many composers, it’s a real joy. I do compile the music along with the producer and we work really hard to put together a list of some of the best music around from many different TV shows and composers in different stages of their career. For now, I’m just grateful I was asked to come back for a second series!

What are you working on at the moment, and has the pandemic affected your work schedule a great deal?

Yes, the pandemic definitely affected my work schedule as projects were temporarily put on hold but thankfully things have picked up again and I’m currently working on the Doctor Who festive special and a feature-length documentary.


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It is probably true to say that composer Ron Grainer was one of the most underrated composers of film and TV music of all time, his output was great and always in my very humble opinion excellent.





Grainer was born in Queensland Australian August 11th 1922. He inherited his musical interests from his Mother who played piano and the young Ron Grainer soon became addicted to the instrument himself beginning to play at the age of 2 years. He was hailed as a musical genius and soon began to perform at concerts and recitals locally in his home town of Atherton from the age of 6 years. Grainer also showed interest in the violin from the age of just 4, and would practise constantly. By the time that Grainer had reached his teens he had become well versed in piano and also violin during his childhood his parents and teachers would not let him partake in any sports or games because they feared that he would injure his hands or fingers, thus possibly putting an end to his career as a musician, consequently he was at times a lonely child, he concentrated on his music and also would immerse himself in academic pastimes and lessons and excelled in maths.


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He began to study at the Sydney Coservatourium of Music under the watchful gaze and guidance of Sir Eugene Goosens, but these studies were soon to be brought to an abrupt end with the outbreak of WWll, Grainer was conscripted into the Australian army and served fighting against the Japanese, it was during the war that he was seriously injured and received a crush injury to his leg, he did not loose the leg but it resulted in painful surgery and also years of further treatment.  After the war ended Grainer returned to the Sydney conservatorium and continued to study, but he decided to concentrate upon composition rather than carry on with his violin and piano studies. After completing his studies and also meeting his first wife Margot he relocated to England in 1952, at first Grainer found work as a pianist and toured the country as part of THE ALIEN BROTHERS AND JUNE, where he came into contact with various other performers and artists, Guy Mitchell, Frankie Laine and Al Martino to name but a few and soon made a name for himself as a pianist. It was during this time that Grainer began to make his first recordings, at first this was as an accompanist working with various vocalists. He started to become interested in unusual or vintage musical instruments and after a while started to write music especially for them, and wrote a jazz ballet score which included the Ondes Martinot.

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 Soon Grainer started to become a regular musical director for the independent television channel in the U.K and also become a much in demand pianist working for the BBC. In 1960, Grainer composed the now well known theme for MAIGRET, which starred Rupert Davies and for this employed a line up of unusual instrumentation, that included harpsichord and banjo. The theme that Grainer penned for the series was a chart hit when recorded by Joe Loss and his orchestra. After the success of Maigret, Grainer began to compose theme s for television on a regular basis, COMEDY PLAYHOUSE, STEPTOE ANDSON the latter’s OLD NED theme garnering the composer an Ivor Novello award in 1961. Film score commissions soon followed Grainer working on various productions during the early part of the 1960,s, which included, LIVE NOW PAY LATER, THE MOUSE ON THE MOON and A KIND OF LOVING.



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In 1963 Grainer received a commission to compose the theme for a “children’s” science fiction series entitled DR. WHO, this again was a huge success for the composer and the basic theme is still being utilised by the series today and is probably one of the most familiar and popular themes from TV ever written.

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The rest as they say is history, Grainer becoming a busy but still in many views an underrated composer and musician. He divorced his first wife Margot in the early 1960,s and moved with his new partner to the Algarve because of his failing eyesight, later he moved to Albufeira and started an organic farm. But he still continued to write music and work on various projects among these was the musical ON THE LEVEL, and later in 1967 he returned to TV with his infectious theme for MAN IN A SUITCASE and also in the same year penned the unforgettable theme for THE PRISONER and worked on the score for TO SIR WITH LOVE. 1968 was also a fruitful year for Grainer with him working on ONLY WHEN I LARF,THE ASSASINATION BUREAU and the film version of LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS, which was based on the original stage show that contained music and lyrics by Laurie Johnson and Lionel Bart with Grainer providing the score. Grainers musical talent was undeniable and he continued to work steadily through the 1970,s providing the soundtracks to numerous films and also composing haunting themes for TV as well as working on theatre productions and BBC adaptations of books and plays.


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In 1971 he scored the Charlton Heston sci movie THE OMEGA MAN, which also brought much acclaim from critics, peers and fans alike. He passed away on February 21st 1981, in Cuckfield Hospital Sussex England he was 58 years of age.  



The music that Murray Gold has written for the Dr Who series is magnificent; it would be hard I think to select any one score and even harder to pick a particular cue that I could name as my favourite or preferred listen. His scores are so varied and fresh, like the series itself.  The composer reinvents his music on every outing and maintains a high standard and consistent quality within his vibrant and highly dramatic soundtracks that accompany the Doctor on his time travels encountering strange and often malevolent aliens and beings. This latest release from Silva Screen has made it even more difficult to say this is my favourite cue etc, simply because there is so much music crammed into the two CD set, it includes music from no less than 13 episodes from the seventh series of the programme, and I have to say it is a very impressive collection of tremendously melodic, poignant and also dramatic sounding music. The composer I have always said should be working on big budget movies, his music for Dr Who, surely must have reached the ears of Hollywood film makers or European directors and producers. I was particularly pleased that A TOWN CALLED MERCY was represented on the disc, as I for one enjoyed this immensely. Gold makes more than a gentle nod in the direction of Morricone and also parodies Elmer Bernstein’s now classic Magnificent seven theme briefly within the six cues that represent this particular episode. He also brings into play a robust and equally expansive sounding western theme which although short lived is certainly attention grabbing, then he launches into a more Italian or spaghetti sound, in the track GUNSLINGERS, which includes choir and horns that are all brought together and underlined by an upbeat backing track giving it a slightly more contemporary atmosphere. Then we have the excellent and haunting cue THE SALVATION OF KAHLER JEX, which has again the sound of spaghetti about it, but also Gold enhances this with his own highly original style to create a piece that makes the listener sit up and take notice, female vocal is supported by sparing use of banjo and percussion, and as the track progresses the composer adds strings and brass plus he increases the tempo and underlines this with rumbling percussive elements which culminates in a rousing and highly effective crescendo of sorts.

English: Murray Gold in his studio.
Murray Gold in his studio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The composer’s utilization of voice within his scores for the Dr Who series in particular has created a wonderfully ethereal atmosphere to his music and also has indeed created some magical and at times shuddering and icy moments. I think that this is demonstrated to a higher degree in Gold’s superbly effecting music for THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN, this particular score for me demonstrates the composers ability to write quite large scale pieces and also within this episode I felt that he provided a highly vibrant soundtrack that in many ways evoked the work of Jerry Goldsmith within the action led sections and also echoed the melodic style of John Barry at the same time. Track number 28, TOGETHER OR NOT AT ALL-THE SONG OF AMY AND RORY is a sheer delight, tender and emotive but in the same instant  it is proud and brimming with drama, plus track number 29, GOODBYE POND, is heartbreakingly beautiful and filled with so much emotion and melodic lushness, one cannot fail to be moved by its overwhelming and captivating presence. But let us also not forget to mention the opening section on disc one, ASYLUM OF THE DALEKS,a great storyline for this particular outing of the Doctors most dreaded enemy, and the composer underlines this with a score that reflects perfectly the ominous and fearsome foe that the time lord must face. The opening track, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE, is certainly a dark and fearsome piece, which at times again evokes a certain Barry-esque persona, with Gold employing faraway sounding horns, but in a threatening fashion rather than a subdued or melodic way. Track number 3, DALEK PARLIAMENT is a manic and furious sound, which is urgent and inescapable; strings, percussion and jagged brass combine to generate this wild and uneasy piece. This latest release from Silva Screen is a Dr Who fans dream come true and also a real treat for any film music enthusiast. There are so many themes here, in fact this is a Tardis like release because it is amazing that there is so much musical wealth contained on just two discs. I urge you to buy this it is a treasure trove of thematic excellence, and one that should be in every film music fans collection.



Composer Murray Gold just gets better and better each time I hear his compositions, the first two Dr Who CD soundtracks were excellent and this addition to the Silva screen catalogue is no exception, in fact I would go as far as to say it is a more polished and accomplished sound that the composer has realised overall. The Compact disc begins with Gold’s arrangement of Ron Grainer’s iconic theme for Dr Who, Gold infusing an almost urgent, expectant and fearful energy into Grainer’s original composition that is the opening for each episode of the series, this familiar sounding theme paths the way for a rollercoaster ride of excitement, danger and high emotions and in this case some original and haunting musical cues. I don’t know what it is about this composers work on this series, but it just seems right, correct and quite perfect in almost every way! Now I sound like Mary Poppins! Track 2 is for the character portrayed by actress/comic Catherine Tate who just like Gold’s music fitted into the series like a glove, A NOBLE GIRL ABOUT TOWN has a cheeky sound to it, which is as hair brained in its style as the Donna Noble character is. Track 3, LIFE AMONG THE DISTANT STARS is a poignant and quite tender piece which was used to underline the character of Donnas Grandfather, who was an amateur stargazer. It is a heartrending cue, that begins with touching slow adagio like strings which accompany light use of piano until after a gradual build it eventually reaches an emotional climax where the composer utilises swelling strings bolstered by shimmering percussion enhanced by brass. Track 4 CORRIDORS AND FIRE ESCAPES, it is here we get our first real taste of Murray Gold in full swing and in action mode, this is a powerful and driving composition that accompanied the Dr and companion in various chases and escapes. Murray Gold’s notes in the CD refer to the music as breathless, I would add to that breathtaking, unrelenting and high octane. There is so much music on this CD it is a real fest for lovers of quality film and TV music, and we have to remember this is a TV score and not from a motion picture, not that nowadays this makes a difference, years ago I remember there was a certain amount of snobbery amongst collectors of film music regarding TV scores, I always thought that if the music was good did it really matter if it came from a movie a TV series or a stage play, if the score was good then hang it all buy it.
I would have to say that this is probably the strongest out of the three CDs that are so far available in the Dr Who series, all the selections on this disc are taken from series 4, which again is probably the most interesting in the series of four. The composers ability to produce mesmerising and enthralling compositions that match the action on screen and also stand alone as entertaining and captivating works is at times unbelievable, Gold jumps from hard hitting action cues to full blown lush compositions complete with heavenly choir and pulsating strings embellished with dazzling brass and also solo voice in places with consummate ease. There is no doubt that Murray Gold is a force to be reckoned with, and I am waiting with baited breath for his first large scale score for a major motion picture, surely this has to come very soon, to be honest listening to some of his upbeat action cues within the Dr Who scores he would not be out of place working on a Bond movie, his music has a sound and style to it which at times evokes John Barry’s more bombastic work for the 007 films, hard hitting exhilarating full on power scoring. Two particular stand out tracks on this CD are the mournful but melodic SONGS OF CAPTIVITY AND FREEDOM (track 6) which possesses a style akin more to Morricone, where the composer creates an attractive yet sad sounding tone poem utilising solo violin and male soprano Mark Chambers. Then there is the impressive and accomplished suite from THE VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED, which I know will be listened to over and over again, as it is an infectious and powerful collection of that episodes many themes condensed into an entertaining 11 minute suite. I cannot recommend this CD highly enough, if you do not purchase this you will be sorely disappointed.



Since the musical reins for Dr Who have been held by composer Murray Gold, I think I am right in saying that there has not been a wrong note put to manuscript. With each episode or special the music does not improve because how can you improve on something that is practically perfect in every way, (sorry wrong movie). Seriously though, the musical scores for the adventures of the Doctor just seem to get better on each outing. This special from Christmas 2010, is in my ever so humble opinion Gold’s best yet, it is not only eloquent, exciting and gloriously haunting, but a work that further establishes the composer as one of the best in the business and hopefully soon he will score a major blockbuster and take his rightful position as an A lister film music composer. The Disc opens with an impressive almost Barry-esque cue entitled COME ALONG POND, getting events off to a high octane and fast paced start. I describe it as Barry-Esque because of the composers use of horns and other brass in this particular cue, the sound achieved here could easily be mistaken for something out of any of the BOND movies, it is rhythmic, bombastic, up front and highly entertaining, creating a real sense and atmosphere of daring do and danger. Driving strings support the brass throughout and percussion is also utilised to add depth and power to the proceedings. Track 2, HALFWAY OUT OF THE DARK, is more of a down beat cue, its sound is almost unworldly at the offset, the composer employing chorale work that is at times reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s technique in scores such as EDWARD SCISSOR HANDS and maybe touching upon Alan Silvestri’s style of composition in THE ABYSS. After a short introduction however, the composition segues into a slightly melancholy sounding arrangement, performed by strings and also choir who execute in unison the main thematic property of the composition supported and embellished by subtle use of percussion and strategically placed brass flourishes that peak and ebb giving the piece a rich and proud sound that is luxurious and haunting. This is a score of great presence, of wistful and articulate themes, a score that is pure action, unadulterated romanticism, and a score that that sums up perfectly the ethos of DR WHO. Mysterious and adventurous at every turn, as in Tracks, BIG COLOUR, THE PLANET IS OURS and EVERYTHING HAS TO END SOMETIME. Poignant and enriching too, both of which can be heard in cues such as, the heartrending and emotive I CANT SAVE HER, the pleasing ABIGAIL’S SONG (SILENCE IS ALL YOU KNOW) performed by Welsh born Diva Katherine Jenkins, and the understated but striking MEMORIES. Plus it is at times unpredictable and surprising as in, SHARK RIDE and CHRISTMAS DINNER. The composer has taken relatively simple themes and orchestrated and arranged them to elevate and convert them into compositions that are inspiring and memorable. This is a compact disc for discerning collectors of film and television music and also one for those who love Dr Who and of course those of us who just love good music. Dr Who without Murray Gold is now something that is unthinkable, as the composer is not just the musical voice of the time lord but his very soul… Recommended.