Doctor Who News
November 5, 2017
One of the most prolific contributors to Doctor Who, Composer Dudley Simpson has died at the age of 95.
Dudley Simpson worked on at least 290 episodes of Doctor Who, writing the score to over 60 stories. His music provided the soundtrack to the majority of the adventures of the first four Doctors as well as contributing some of the most iconic TV Theme tunes, writing the title music for Blake's 7 and The Tomorrow People.
Dudley Simpson was born in Australia on the 4th October 1922. He served in World War II before studying orchestration and composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He worked for the Borovansky Ballet Company, the predecessor to the Australian Ballet, before moving to the UK, where after a season as guest conductor at Covent Garden, he became Principal Conductor of the Royal Opera House orchestra for three years.
He first wrote music for television in 1961, working on a BBC drama called Jack's Horrible Luck, directed by Gerard Glaister. It was his work on the drama Moonstrike which brought him to the attention of Doctor Who's Associate producer Mervyn Pinfield, who recruited him to write the music for the First Doctor story Planet of Giants.
Over the next 15 years, he would contribute more to Doctor Who than almost any other person. His role call is incredible. Following Planet of Giants he wrote the score to The Crusade; The Chase; The Celestial Toymaker; The Underwater Menace; The Evil of the Daleks; The Ice Warriors; Fury From the Deep; The Seeds of Death; The Space Pirates; The War Games; Spearhead From Space; The Ambassadors of Death; Terror of the Autons; The Mind of Evil; The Claws of Axos; Colony In Space; The Dæmons; Day of the Daleks; The Curse of Peladon; The Three Doctors; Carnival Of Monsters; Frontier In Space; Planet of the Daleks; The Green Death; The Time Warrior; Invasion of the Dinosaurs; The Monster of Peladon; Planet of the Spiders; Robot; The Ark In Space; The Sontaran Experiment; Genesis of the Daleks; Planet of Evil; Pyramids of Mars; The Android Invasion; The Brain of Morbius; The Masque of Mandragora; The Hand Of Fear; The Deadly Assassin; The Face of Evil; The Robots of Death; The Talons of Weng-Chiang; Horror of Fang Rock; The Invisible Enemy; Image of the Fendahl; The Sun Makers; Underworld; The Invasion of Time; The Ribos Operation; The Pirate Planet; The Stones of Blood; The Androids of Tara; The Power of Kroll; The Armageddon Factor; Destiny of the Daleks; City of Death; The Creature from the Pit; Nightmare of Eden; and The Horns of Nimon.
His one appearance in the series came in 1977 when he played the Conductor in Episode 4 of The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
Simpson's last score for the series would be for the lost story, Shada. With the advent of a new producer, John Nathan Turner, who wanted a fresh sound for the programme, his services were dispensed with.
Dudley Simpson's work on Doctor Who brought him to the attention of other TV producers and in the 1970's his talent could be heard providing the soundtrack to many much-loved series. He wrote the music to The Brothers, the 1972 drama that dominated the ratings on Sunday evenings and introduced Colin Baker to the country. He wrote the theme to The Tomorrow People, the ITV Science Fiction series for children. And he wrote the spectacular theme to Terry Nation's Blake's 7 and provided incidental music for 50 out of the 52 episodes made.
Other series included Moonbase 3, The Ascent of Man, Target, A Little Princess, Paul Temple, Lorna Doone, Kidnapped, Curtain of Fear, Triton, The Man Outside, A Pin to See the Peepshow, Microbes and Men, Madame Bovary, North & South, Katy, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Legend of King Arthur, Stalky & Co, Dombey & Son, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Diary of Anne Frank, Super Gran and several plays in the BBC Television Shakespeare series.
Dudley Simpson retired in the 1990's and returned to his native Australia. He returned to the UK in 2013 to help celebrate Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary
Dudley Simpson died on Saturday 4th November in Australia.
SIMPSON, Dudley (Dudley George Simpson)
Born: 10/4/1922, Malvern East, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died: 11/4/2017, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dudley’s Simpson’s westerns – composer:
The Last of the Mohicans (TV) - 1971
Hawkeye, the Pathfinder (TV) - 1973