Two Important Women of Dr. Who

Photo credit: Delia Derbyshire in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Photograph: BBC Photolibrary

In the beginning, there is this iconic music that signals the start of the Dr. Who adventures. The person who created that theme, but who didn’t get credit for it until very recently, was Delia Derbyshire.

The Guardian had a brief feature, Doctor Who theme’s co-creator honoured with posthumous PhD. From the article:

The under-appreciated electronic music pioneer behind the Doctor Who theme is to be honoured posthumously with a doctorate from her hometown university as the programme gears up for the debut of its first female lead. […]

Born in Coventry in 1937, Derbyshire’s unique sonic palette was shaped by sounds of the Blitz and the air raid sirens that surrounded her as a child. Highly academic, she won a scholarship to study maths and music at the University of Cambridge, where she immersed herself in sound.

After graduating, Derbyshire struggled in what was predominantly a man’s industry, being told by Decca Records that it did not employ women in its studios. She turned to teaching but refused to give up and eventually found work as a trainee studio manager at the BBC.

It was here, in 1962 that she gained access to the experimental Radiophonic Workshop, developing an entirely new type of music by playing notes on tape and then speeding them up or slowing them down. She went on to transform a written score by Ron Grainer for a new TV series, Doctor Who, into an iconic piece of electronic music.

Well done Delia, nice work–and about time you were recognized!

Jodie Whittaker as Dr. Who

Photo credit: BBC

In another sign of these times, the next in a long line of Doctor Who characters is being played by Jodie Whittaker. Also from The Guardian, Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker to be 13th Doctor – and first woman in role:

She is the first woman to take on the role, playing the 13th Doctor in the BBC1 drama. Whittaker, who rose to fame in ITV’s crime drama Broadchurch, had been touted as one of the contenders.

Debate has been whirring over who would play the Doctor ever since Peter Capaldi announced in January that he was leaving the programme.

Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who’s new head writer and executive producer, said: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.

“I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away.

“Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The 13th Doctor is on her way.”

A special shout-out and thank you to The Guardian for covering these stories.