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Delia Derbyshire


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Coventry, England

Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001) was an musician from Coventry, England, best known as member of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the performer of the original theme song for “Doctor Who” (Tardis - Dr Who which was composed for the series by Ron Grainer). She was also a member of the electronic music group White Noise with other BBC Radiophonic Workshop musicians.

Derbyshire was educated at Barr’s Hill Grammar School & Girton College (Cambridge) - She was awarded a degree in mathematics & music. In 1959, on approaching Decca, Delia was told that the company did not employ women, in their recording studios. Thus, she went to work for the United Nations (Geneva), before returning to London - working for music publishers Boosey & Hawkes.

In 1960 Delia joined the BBC, as a trainee studio manager. She excelled in this field, but when it became apparent that the fledgling BBC Radiophonic Workshop was under the same operational umbrella, she asked for an attachment there - her extraordinary request was granted. Delia remained ‘temporarily attached’ for years, regularly deputising for the Head & influencing many trainee colleagues.

To begin with Delia thought she had found her own private paradise where she could combine her interests in the theory and perception of sound; modes and tunings, and the communication of moods using purely electronic sources.


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