There is absolutely no doubt that Ron Grainer’s theme for DOCTOR WHO has stood the test of time. Composed by Grainer and arranged and recorded by Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, it was the very first electronic theme song for television, way back in 1963.
And all of the iterations since have merely rearranged some notes or — in more recent years — recorded the tune using real instruments instead of cut-together snippets of sounds. John Debney’s orchestral theme from the 1996 TV Movie is surprisingly good, and lends the program the epic feel of a movie event.
My favorite? It’s a toss-up between Grainer’s 1963 original (which is so darn mysterious with all that hissing) and Murray Gold’s latest, the 2010 version.
Have a listen for yourself in this wonderful clip:
*barring the occasional minor tweaks and rearrangements that didn’t count as real overhauls of the theme, and those not intended for broadcast with the main series (i.e Big Finish audio plays, Doctor Who proms, soundtracks, compilation clip shows, Dimensions in Time, etc.).