Issue 574 of Doctor Who Magazine is out now, and includes my interview with Jess Jurkovic, a jazz musician who has recently been recreating the ‘lost’ Doctor Who soundtracks composed by Dudley Simpson in a popular series of YouTube videos. Written and recorded to be used once in the background of television programmes, few of Dudley Simpson’s compositions now exist either as master tapes or sheet music, and can only be heard in their original broadcast context, where they were quite often considered very much secondary to everything else that was going on. As a consequence of this, some of Doctor Who‘s most memorable incidental cues cannot be listened to in their full glory – which is why Jess has embarked on a not always particularly straightforward quest to decode and re-record what actually went in to those compositions way back when.
As well as discussing the thrills, difficulties, highs, lows and triumphs of the complicated process of transcribing decades-old music hidden underneath unsubtly mixed dialogue and sound effects, and then figuring out how to play them and allowing them to be heard in their own right once more, Jess also talks about his background both as a Doctor Who fan (with a priceless story about attempting to play the Doctor Who theme live) and as a musician and a member of some of the most critically acclaimed jazz ensembles currently playing the New York clubs, as well as how he has reacted to the unexpected celebrity status that his efforts have brought him amongst Doctor Who fans – and given that Jess was already something of a name in his own field, it’s surprising just how exciting a different kind of recognition can be…
You can get Issue 574 of Doctor Who Magazine from all good newsagents or directly from the magazine’s website as a print edition here or a digital edition here. You can find Jess’ YouTube channel here.
Dudley Simpson’s score from the 1967 Doctor Who story The Underwater Menace gets a sizeable mention as part of my look at the partially lost story, which you can find in Well At Least It’s Free – available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.
Meanwhile, if you want to hear me talking to Emma Burnell and Steve Fielding about Doctor Who‘s sometimes complicated ideological legacy on the politics and pop culture podcast The Zeitgeist Tapes, then you can find that here.
© Tim Worthington.
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