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Silva Screen Records: "DOCTOR WHO: THE SUN MAKERS" music by Dudley Simpson

The Sun Makers is the first commercial release of Dudley Simpson’s distinctive Doctor Who score, to be made available in physical, digital and vinyl formats.

Famously, the Christian conservative campaigner Mary Whitehouse misunderstood Doctor Who to be a children’s programme and thanks to her relentless fight, the BBC was forced to replace the programme’s original production team. The new team was under orders to curb the violence and replace it with a more playful and comedic fantasy tone. The result was The Sun Makers, featuring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor and Louie Jameson as his assistant Leela. Robert Holmes's story was a clever and amusing spoof of bureaucracy and the tax system, played out on a low budget set of Pluto, which was, in fact, a factory roof in Bristol. The composer was Dudley Simpson and the series was first broadcast in four weekly parts on BBC1 from 26th November to 17th December 1977.

Dudley Simpson was a classically trained Australian composer, well known for his work on Doctor Who, Blake 7 and Tomorrow’s People. Dudley scored The Sun Makers for six musicians - two clarinettists, 2 French Horns, one percussionist playing timpani, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba, cymbals, tambourine and more and Yamaha organ. The organ provided additional woodwind and brass textures (particularly tuba), faux strings, sustains and additional percussion, and tremolo effects (the lovely Yamaha “repeat” effect). Dudley tended to arrange his sessions around the availability of percussionist Tristan Fry and organ player Leslie Pearson. The scores were recorded “as live”, with minimal retakes and overdubs were rare. The end result turned out to be a brilliantly playful, idiosyncratic score with wonderful use of instrumental colour and memorable leitmotifs.

Doctor Who - The Sun Makers, produced by Mark Ayres, archivist of BBC Radiophonic Workshop, will be released, together with the score for Doctor Who - The Visitation on 1st May, 2020.

Jeremy [Six Strings]

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