Monday 4 December 2023

TV On The Radio #21: Doctor Who

It can't have escaped your notice that Doctor Who celebrated its 60th anniversary last week, blasting its way back onto screen with an old face and a Disney+ budget. Like most British kids, I grew up with The Doctor, and your first Doctor will always be your favourite. Which means you can't beat Tom Baker in my eyes. 

The Human League - Tom Baker

Number twelve, there's Amy Chan
Writing down a line for the candy man
About the time she saw Tom Baker
Drinking down the Hat and Fan

Saint Etienne - Milk Bottle Symphony

Still, I have a great fondness for most of the other Doctors, including the modern incarnations (although Huddersfield lass Jodie Whittaker was let down during her tenure by terrible scripts). They say we spent large parts of our youth hiding behind the sofa to avoid the show's scarier bits... and I do have vivid memories of being behind that old red leather sofa in our living room on a Saturday night... but I'm pretty sure I was acting out the adventures I'd just seen on screen rather than escaping in terror.  

Here then is a special edition of TV On The Radio dedicated to all the Doctors. 

Search for songs that include the words "Doctor Who" in that order and you're on a hiding to nothing. Unless you want to hear a load of tunes that have nothing to do with Timelords such as this...  

She sent me to the doctor who sent me straight to bed

Elvis Presley - I Gotta Know

Or this...

Well, Janey's got a doctor who tears apart her insides

Bruce Springsteen - Janey Needs A Shooter

I had far more luck searching for words that were unique to the Whoniverse. Such as TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, as I'm sure you will recall).

Here's someone who would look right at home in an episode of Doctor Who... Thom Yorke.

I'm stuck in the TARDIS
Trapped in hyperspace
One minute, snake charming
The next in a motorcade

Radiohead - Up On The Ladder

Meanwhile, Alison Goldfrapp is having a dreary evening...

I search alone on empty glasses
The lights come on illuminating
A nowhere bar that's like a TARDIS
It's the longest night I've ever known

Goldfrapp - I Wanna Life

And Paul Heaton has managed to incorporate a TARDIS into his chat-up lines...

This heart was like a TARDIS
I went and lost the key in a fight
I've never found a locksmith
Will you be my locksmith tonight?

The Beautiful South - How Long's A Tear Take To Dry?

As Doctor Who's budget has grown, the amount of baddies he has to defeat has multiplied. Yes, there are times when he does face a Massive Attack...

The blues get big, Massive are even larger
Save 'nuff space into the Tricky TARDIS

Massive Attack - Blue Lines

Step outside the TARDIS and you may encounter some of The Doctor's greatest enemies. For reasons explained above, I didn't bother looking for The Master, and only found the odd song that mentioned Cybermen... but the Daleks were all over the place. 

The Art Attacks - I Am A Dalek

You must remember that time The Clash turned into Daleks?

Repression, gonna start on Tuesday
Repression, gonna be a Dalek
Repression, I am a robot
Repression, I obey

Kirsty, meanwhile, is trying her hand at online dating... with less than desirable results...

He says the camera is on and
Can I see him yet?
I say "Babe you look like a ghost
And sound like a Dalek to me"
So let's go back to the written word
Even though we both know it's absurd

And Scots favourites The Supernaturals are having a bad day... cheer up, lads!

I feel like a Dalek inside,
Everything's gone grey but used to be so black and white

Then there's this... which I suppose I'll allow as it's just turned December (still a little early for me).

As previously established, that isn't the Go Gos we all know know.

Even Siouxsie was a fan...

The Dalek drones are drowning
We're flying, we're climbing
Cars sit corroding
As we soar away

A few more, because Daleks usually travel in troops...

Daleks in high collars 
Monologue and I outsmart them 
With a ray-gun and a tweet

Will Wood - The Main Character

Dave Balfe and Alan Gill from The Teardrop Explodes formed the most famous band to be named after the psychotic pepper pots, possibly my favourite science fiction bad guys (the Daleks, not Balfe and Gill).   

Dalek I Love You - Horroscope

Despite my difficulties in searching for "Doctor Who" songs, I still found quite a few that mentioned the Timelord by name (or, not actually by name, since Doctor Who isn't actually his name, is it?). Although many of them fall into the category that causes serious musos to gnash their teeth to the gums... comedy or novelty records.

Mitch Benn - Call Me During Doctor Who And I'll Kill You

Frazer Hines was a minor Yorkshire celebrity due to his role on Emmerdale Farm in the 70s and 80s (back when my dad used to watch it because they had actual farmyard scenes). Prior to that, Frazer was an early Doctor Who assistant when he recorded this...

Frazer Hines - Who's Doctor Who?

Far more impressive is this offering from the Third Doctor, old Wurzel Gummidge himself...

The closest we've come to that in the modern era is this comic ode to the showrunners who resurrected The Doctor in 2005...

David Tennant, John Barrowman & Catherine Tate - The Ballad of Russell and Julie 

Meanwhile, Dean Gray is keen to note the similarity between the Doctor Who theme tune and Green Day's Holiday...

Dean Gray - Dr Who on Holiday

Next up, Space... well, The Doctor does spend a lot of time there, doesn't he?

Your bank balance took a dint
And now you're Rupert Grint
Nappies cost a bob or two
You wish you were Doctor Who

Space - Fortune Teller

And here's a brand new tune from the band with the best name going. (Not that I'm biased.)

Damned if you do, damned if you don't
Doctor Who and doublethink
The path not took, fork in the road

English Teacher - Mastermind Specialism

And of course, the great Nigel Blackwell has an opinion on Doctor Who fans...

Weekends, vintage car show, Doctor Who aficionado
No wife, no kids, no way juke box
I get sent the Belstaff catalogues

Half Man Half Biscuit - CAMRA Man

Once All About Eve were done, lead singer Julianne Regan formed Mice. Here's a little timely advice for any of you who might be considering running off with a stranger in a blue police box...

He's my blue sonic boy
I believed in his watery lies
And his half-arsed scheme to rule the world
But you know it isn't easy hanging out with the timelords
When you're a Dalek and can't even climb up the stairs
So when you wake tomorrow, stick a bell in your van

Mice - Blue Sonic Boy

There were lots of artists I discovered during this search who looked like they'd only ever get a gig at Comicon, but these guys deserved a special mention, for enthusiasm, if nothing else...

Graham Bodenham & Leonora Winstanley - Call The Doctor

Nipping on the heels of today's obvious winner, here's a band named after an insult from Star Wars. Wrong galaxy, right tune.

Nerf Herder - Doctor Who

But there was only one song I could choose to close this post, from the insane genius of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, The KLF, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and The Timelords... with a little help from The Sweet and (whisper it now) Gary Glitter. A Number One smash that Melody Maker described as "pure, unadulterated agony" and "excruciating", while Sounds called it "rancid" and "a record so noxious that a top ten place can be its only destiny". What's not to love?


  1. Excellent contrived Massive Attack pun.

    Pertwee was my first doctor but you can't beat Baker (T).

  2. Excellent stuff! Wow,, so much there but of course it had to be The Timelords to close. Patrick Troughton was my very first (and most scary) but Pertwee and Tom Baker the most memorable. I also met Tom Baker, plus Dalek, opening a new newsagents in town when I was about 12 and got his autograph (but I was highly embarrassed because I had impetigo on my chin at the time, funny how you remember these things...)

    Mr SDS also informs me that there was a record out by Roberta Tovey, granddaughter Susan in the Dr Who films, which he remembers hearing on the radio as a kid - 'Who's Who?'
    Sweet lyrics! -
    He's quite at home in a big spaceship
    While sitting on top of a horse
    He's been to the past and future
    And whatever he may do
    He'll always be a friend of mine (who?)
    Dr. Who

    1. When I worked in radio, we used to use Tom Baker for voiceover work from time to time. So I have spoken to him down an ISDN line (connecting our studio in Bradford to his in London) but never met him face to face. He is a very funny man.

      Thanks for the Roberta Tovey song; I wouldn't have found that on my own.

    2. I bought a whole CD of the stuff, including the Fraser Hines and Roberta Tovey singles, for my friend about 20 years ago. I have a digital copy but the shiny disc is worth a fair bit now.

    3. Excellent. I love it when such things get collected like that.

  3. And here is the Mandatory Reggae Version of the theme tune:

    1. Of course. Thanks, Ernie.

    2. And I wouldn't be worthy of my blog name if I didn't include this one

  4. In the modern era my favourite doctor has been David Tennant so good to have him back (not looking much older I must say) but my childhood doctor was very much Jon Pertwee who along with the Brigadier saved our little planet from all sorts of extraterrestrial threats.

    Looked like an exhaustive list there as you found so many then C comes along with another entry. The Timelords song not as bad as I remembered from back in the day actually.

    1. I'm still getting used to seeing your name at the bottom of everyone's blogs, Alyson!
      Pertwee for me too, every time. Tho' Eccleston made a good fist of it.


    2. I'm biased as I love 'em all (yep, even Peter Cushing) although it was a shame that Jodie was ill-served during her tenure. Without Christopher Eccleston, the return may have fallen flat on its arse, but here we are. I've enjoyed Tennant & Tate's return so far but also looking forward to seeing what Ncuti Gatwa brings to the role.

    3. I liked when they got John Hurt in for a couple of episodes. Wish he'd had a chance to do more.

  5. Piers, Tom's son, owns The Bath Inn - one of my favourite pubs in town. He's a real nice guy - talks just like his dad - and can be found in there most nights (it's not just a hobby for him). I took some pictures in there not long after he took it on and one of them, with him and the customers at the bar, is hanging on the wall.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...