‘Doctor Who’ composers to transform internet into musical instrument

The Radiophonic Workshop have been inspired by Zoom calls during the pandemic

The composers behind the Doctor Who theme tune are set to turn the internet into a big musical instrument.

The Radiophonic Workshop features musicians from the original BBC group, who created the themes for most shows on the network between the ‘60s and ‘90s.

Now, the composers have found inspiration in Zoom calls during the pandemic, using the natural lag of online calls to make “a loop of music”. “The sound gets sent to someone and they add to it, and it keeps going round,” Bob Earland explained to the Guardian. “So you’re not relying on everyone being on the same clock.”


Roger Limb said the loop presented a new way of responding to what he previously came up with. “What I enjoyed was waiting to hear what I’ve done on the previous round, coming up in about five seconds, listening to it, and then reacting to myself,” he said.

The Workshop’s Peter Howell added: “The idea [of playing the internet] reflected our time. We’re all subject to the internet now in a way that we never thought we would be. And Bob and Paddy [Kingsland] came up with an idea that is literally using what we’re all relying on for a creative purpose, using something that we’ve all taken for granted but in an artistic way.”

The Radiophonic Workshop will perform the piece titled ‘Latency’ – a word used to describe the delay in a transfer of digital data – alongside other compositions on their YouTube channel next week. The performance will take place at 8pm GMT on November 22.

In 2009, the Doctor Who theme tune was voted the best sci-fi theme tune in an online poll. It was originally composed by Ron Grainer in 1963, before being arranged by The Radiophonic Workshop’s Delia Derbyshire.