‘Doctor Who’ Christmas specials soundtrack album review

snowmen

With a recent stash of missing episodes recovered, Doctor Who fans may feel their Christmas has come early. But the real thing hasn’t yet. So put down that cracker. Don’t let those advent calendars in the shops fool you: Noddy Holder won’t be defrosted from his regenerative slumber for at least another month.

Whatever the time of year, it’s difficult to Scrooge at a new Murray Gold album. And there’s something so very Doctor-ish about Christmas music arriving in October. Something excitable and impatient and difficult to resist. Christmas? Now? Yes, why not! Hard down on the helmic regulator; December 25th here we come!

Hot on the heels of last month’s Series 7 album, this new release collects the last two Christmas Specials – ‘The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe’ and’ The Snowmen’ – into a bumper selection box of festive fun. Neither match the tuneful tinsel explosion of ‘A Christmas Carol’s score, but in the same way Dickens captures the excitement and eeriness of the festive season through writing, so Gold does through music.

It’s not a competition, but ‘TDTW&TW’ feels like the bigger and best present, with a soundscape that rolls from a brassy cheek familiar to Scott Bradley’s slapstic Tom & Jerry scores, to haunted waltzes that echo composer Danny Elfman’s Tim Burton era work.

There are even a couple of musical stocking fillers from the show’s recent history tucked away inside the tracks. Listen closely and you’ll hear snippets from Series 3 favourites ‘Voyage of the Damned’, ‘All the Strange, Strange Creatures’, and ‘Martha’s Quest’. And to wrap it all in a bow there’s the signature heroic flare of the Eleventh Doctor’s theme. It’s going to be a bittersweet Christmas this year, hearing that for the final time.

‘The Snowmen’ sounds more like something out of a twisted period drama (which is what the episode was, really), with a lugubrious, utilitarian feel that suits its Victorian setting and its bleaker mood. That restraint means Clara’s theme stands out all the more; twinkling like starlight against the darker tones reflecting The Doctor’s seasonal affective disorder.

Whatever time of year you come across Doctor Who‘s latest Christmas soundtrack, ’tis the season to be jolly.

We at CultBox have been good all year, so we hung up our stocking and filled it with our 5 favourite tracks…

‘Geronimo

We are suckers for a variation on the Eleventh Doctor’s theme, and if you are too then the first track on the album is one to add to your ‘Epic Running for the Bus’ playlist. Especially if you’re running for that bus after plummeting from an exploding spaceship. Mondays, eh?

‘Flying Home for Christmas’

As The Doctor, Madge, the kids, and an entire forest fly through the time vortex, the rousing ‘Flying Home For Christmas’ accompanies them. Suddenly, rising from the triumphant swell, a section from Series 3’s theme ‘Martha’s Quest’ emerges, and all at once you’re in your own time vortex of recollection, remembering a balmy Saturday night teatime and John Simm wagging his laser screwdriver like a man possessed. Crazy days.

‘Never Alone at Christmas’

The Doctor loves Christmas, but deep down it’s always a bittersweet experience for him. ‘Never Alone at Christmas’ perfectly articulates those emotions into sound, starting with a thoughtful meander that breaks into the brass-led recall of the Eleventh Doctor’s theme.

‘A Voice in the Snow’

The twinkly opening notes to ‘The Snowmen’ has a chilly fairytale feel that’s soon overcome by a Soviet-harsh choral blast that bellows at your ears like a tundra gust. If you don’t feel the need to put on a scarf while listening to this then you must have hot tomato soup running through your veins, you delicious freak of nature you.

‘Sherlock Who?’

Simultaneously poking fun at something and paying homage to it is a ‘patting your head and rubbing your tummy’ kind of talent. Murray Gold manages to pat, rub, and compose all at once to create a cheeky pastiche of David Arnold’s score for the other Moffatized, more Cumberbatchy, TV juggernaut.

Released on Monday 21 October 2013 by Silva Screen.

> Buy the album on Amazon.

Listen to samples of every track on the album…


Which of Matt Smith’s Christmas specials is your favourite? Let us know below…

> Order the 50th anniversary special on DVD on Amazon.

> Order the 50th anniversary special on Blu-ray on Amazon.