Poignant, beautiful and heart-breaking, The Caves Of Androzani is Doctor Who at its very best – voted as the best story ever in a previous Doctor Who Magazine poll and rarely seen outside the Top 5 – and it was given a score to match from Roger Limb.
While arguably it would have benefited from an orchestral arrangement, the music he produced punctuated the narrative with musical cues that have huge dramatic impact without drowning out the drama of the story.
This remastered edition from Silva Screen, released on CD and then as a 2-LP purple vinyl back in 2013, has been given a bit of a polish by Mark Ayres, who has added some slight stereo to the mix (the BBC insisted back then that if shows were made in mono so should the score be) and has many stand-out moments. Apart from the “Opening” and “Closing Doctor Who Theme”, the disc is packed with highlights such as the sinister “Sharez Jek”, the pounding “Next Time It’ll Be Real”, and the spine-tingling “Nobody Lives For Ever”. “Two Kilos All The Way” underlines the story’s darkness with a drum marching it along which floats into the next piece, “The Magma Beast”. This theme is also reflected in “The Girl Will Be Alone” with its rattlesnake edge making it a slightly uneasy listen. The rattlesnake effect also opens “Do You Think I’m Mad?” which is the musical equivalent to an icy cold hand on your shoulder in the middle of the night.
The final few tracks are where the score turns an even darker corner and takes us to the last few moments of Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor. “Not Beaten Yet”, “Milk Of The Fruit Bat”, and “Return To The TARDIS” have a touch of death to them – at times, a tolling bell can even be heard. “Is This Death” is the most memorable piece, a deep and droning electronic choir signals the end for our hero (sort of) and the slow build up stomps its way into a cataclysmic musical sting before an explosion brings us to the closing theme.
Listening to it brings back memories of dark winter nights when my love for the show was at its peak. It’s the perfect choice for Silva Screen Records’ first re-release soundtrack from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
Roger Limb’s 35-track soundtrack to The Caves of Androzani is out now.
(Adapted from an article originally published on Kasterborous in April 2013.)