Episode 28 – Series 21, Part I – Revelations of Roger Limb’s Androzani – Part II – Roger Limb Interview

In this episode we’ll be looking at the music of BBC Radiophonic Workshop composer Roger Limb focusing on his work on Doctor Who. This interview with Roger Limb was recorded on the 9th of May, 2011.


ABOUT YOUR HOSTS – DR. LOU: I am an Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Nevada, Reno, where I write about and teach classes on avant-garde and popular music of the post-war era, focusing on musics that bridge the categories of high and low culture in society through media technology. In other words, I write about pretty music made on complicated equipment used in television and radio. Most of my stuff tends to be about music in the UK, although I have also written about American science fiction. My most recent publication is a history of the BBC’s electronic music studio, the Radiophonic Workshop, for Oxford University Press. Before becoming chair of the music department in Reno, I taught classes about television music, film music, music and gender, and popular music, as well as the more standard classical music history courses. After getting my undergraduate degree in singing from the University of Iowa, I spent a few hazy years bartending in nightclubs, listening to lots of dance music, and traveling as much as possible to England. Eventually, I decided I needed a career and did a Masters degree in musicology at the University of Texas at Austin, writing a thesis on music in Doctor Who. After that I moved to Los Angeles and did a PhD at UCLA in musicology, studying with Susan McClary and Philip Brett, among other amazing scholars. At UCLA I wrote what would become the first half of my Radiophonic history as my dissertation.

I also, like Dr. Phil, am a performer of early music. But unlike him, for me it is purely a dilettante pursuit. I have sung early music since 1989, and at UCLA was the director of their early music ensemble, Musica Humana. Upon moving to Reno, I founded REM (Reno Early Music), Reno’s premiere early music group. Actually, we are Reno’s only early music group. But it’s fun. I also run the Reno Time Team, a local group making our way through all of classic Doctor Who. For more information on Louis Niebur, visit http://www.unr.edu/cla/music/pages/bios/niebur.htm, and for information on Reno Early Music, visit http://wolfweb.unr.edu/homepage/boardman/music_REM.htm. For more information on Special Sound: The Creation and Legacy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, visit http://www.unr.edu/cla/music/publications/special_sound.htm.

ABOUT YOUR HOSTS – DR. PHILL: My name is Dr. Phillip Serna – you can call me Dr. Phill as many of my colleagues, friends and students do. I’m a performer and teacher here in the Chicago area where I received my Master & Doctoral degrees in Music at Northwestern University. On double bass I perform solo, chamber, orchestral and contemporary literature. I am also a performer of Early Music on viols – or violas da gamba – a family of bowed guitars that were popular in Europe from the 15th through the late 18th centuries.

On double bass, I perform with many ensembles including the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonic Orchestra, Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, the Northshore Camerata, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and many others. In Early Music, I regularly perform on violas da gamba (treble viol, tenor viol and bass viol), period double bass/ violone and vielle with modern orchestras such as the Concord Chamber Orchestra and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, as well as with period instrument ensembles such as Ars Antigua, the Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne, the Callipygian Players, the Chicago Early Music Consort, Duo fantaisie en Echo, the Madison Bach Musicians, the Newberry Consort, the Oriana Singers, the Second City Musick, the Spirit of Gambo – a Chicago Consort of Viols, the Third Coast Viols and many others. In performance, I’ve appeared on Chicago’s 98.7FM WFMT, Wisconsin Public Radio and Milwaukee Public Radio. My Early Music Outreach program ‘Viols in Our Schools’ was the recipient of the 2010 Early Music America Outreach Award, which honors ensembles or individual artists for excellence in early music outreach and/or educational projects for children or adults. For more information, visit http://www.violsinourschools.org/About.html or http://www.phillipwserna.com/.

ABOUT OUR THEME: The theme to ADVENTURES IN TIME, SPACE AND MUSIC is a remix by Isaac Arsenault. Isaac started mashingup music in the winter of ’09, After reading Jordan Roseman’s “Audio Mashup Construction Kit.” Working with sound Equipment and being technical leader for two bands he opened his taste for music by studying it mathematically and learning the science behind it. To find out more about Isaac’s work, visit http://www.twitter.com/drautobob.

ABOUT OUR SERIES GUEST: Roger Limb is a British composer, specialising in electronic music. He is best known for his work on the television series Doctor Who whilst at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. He joined the BBC as a studio manager, before going on to become a television announcer. In 1972 he left this position to join the Radiophonic Workshop, where he remained until 1995. Although he had received formal music training, he also spent much time in pop and jazz bands, the influence of which can be heard in much of his music. Limb is best known for his work on Doctor Who, for which, between 1981 and 1985, he composed the music for the serials The Keeper of Traken, Four to Doomsday, Black Orchid, Time-Flight, Arc of Infinity, Terminus, The Caves of Androzani and Revelation of the Daleks.

Limb also contributed music to the television series The Justice Game, Aliens in the Family, The December Rose, Thinkabout, The Box of Delights, Kevin and Co, Martin Luther: Heretic, Storytime and the Look and Read serials “Fair Ground!”, “Dark Towers”, “Sky Hunter”, “The King’s Dragon”, “Cloud Burst”, “Geordie Racer”, “Through The Dragon’s Eye” and “Earth Warp”. For the latter programme he also composed the cult favourite “Magic E” song as well as the popular education songs “Bill the Brickie”, “Dog Detective” and “The Punctuation Song”.

He also composed and played “Swirley”, a cheerful piece of electronic music that was used as the theme to the BBC’s Service Information news bulletins in the late 70s/early 80s, and arranged the songs for several series of the BBC Schools programme You and Me, featuring Cosmo and Dibs. His recording “Passing Clouds” was included on the 1976 LP Out of This World, a compilation of sound effects. This track was used by Prince (musician) at the beginning of “Eye No”, the opening track of 1988’s “Lovesexy”. Out of This World was reissued in 1991 on CD as the “Essential Science Fiction Sound Effects, Volume 2”

Since leaving the BBC during the purges of the 1990s, he has been regularly in demand as a jazz musician and accompanist playing at Ronnie Scott’s, the Jazz Café and the Isle of Wight Jazz Festival. He recently performed at a concert featuring the Radiophonic repertoire at a sell-out concert at London’s Roundhouse. And he continues to write; a musical ‘The Bonnie Prince’ was written and performed in 1999 and he has written several songs for his regular ensemble ‘Jazz Culture’. Working with Aydenne Simone for some 14 years both as a permanent member and Musical Director of Jazz Culture, Roger Limb is one half of the perfect Jazz Duo for many delighted audiences including Queen Elizabeth II.

NOTE: Portions of this interview aired on THE FLASHING BLADE PODCAST on Saturday, 30 July, 2011 –  http://flashingblade.libsyn.com/the-flashing-blade-podcast-1-103-doctor-who-podcast


Roger Limb – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Limb

Roger Limb – Roger Limb with the Radiophonic Workshop at the Roundhouse – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytYmQxT60H8&feature=related

Roger Limb – Voices in Performance – http://www.voicesinperformance.com/members.htm
Roger Limb – Jazz Performances with Aydenne Simone – http://www.aydennesimone.co.uk/
Roger Limb – Jazz Performances with Aydenne Simone – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DlE-ctNfUE

Stories Mentioned – Arc of Infinity – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_of_Infinity
Stories Mentioned – Arc of Infinity – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/Time-FlightArcOfInfinity.htm
Stories Mentioned – Black Orchid – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Orchid_(Doctor_Who)
Stories Mentioned – Black Orchid – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/Black%20Orchid.htm
Stories Mentioned – The Caves of Androzani – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caves_of_androzani
Stories Mentioned – The Caves of Androzani – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/androzanidvd.htm
Stories Mentioned – Four to Doomsday – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_to_Doomsday
Stories Mentioned – Four to Doomsday – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/FourToDoomsday.htm
Stories Mentioned – The Keeper of Traken – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeper_of_traken
Stories Mentioned – The Keeper of Traken – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/NewBeginnings.htm
Stories Mentioned – Revelation of the Daleks – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revelation_of_the_Daleks
Stories Mentioned – Revelation of the Daleks – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/revelation.htm
Stories Mentioned – Terminus – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminus_(Doctor_Who)
Stories Mentioned – Terminus – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/BlackGuardianDVD.htm
Stories Mentioned – Time-Flight – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-Flight
Stories Mentioned – Time-Flight – http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rtwebsite/Time-FlightArcOfInfinity.htm


Recordings – Roger Limb – Doctor Who – The Music (1983, Reissued by Silva Screen Records in 1992) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_-_The_Music
Purchase Doctor Who – The Music (Silva Screen Records 1992 Reissue) – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dr-Who-Best-Doctor-Doctors/dp/B000004BP6/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1299556281&sr=1-3 (UK) & http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Who-Best-Doctor-Doctors/dp/B000004BP6/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1299556281&sr=1-3 (US)

Recordings – Roger Limb – Doctor Who – The Music II (1983, Reissued by Silva Screen Records in 1992) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_-_The_Music_II
Purchase Doctor Who – The Music II (Silva Screen Records 1992 Reissue) – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Doctor-Who-Classics-Vol-2-Doctors/dp/B00004TVV6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1299556544&sr=1-3 (UK)


If you would like to find out more about my other projects, specifically on viols, please visit thegambacast.org orviolsinourschools.org.

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‘Adventures in Time Space and Music’ is not endorsed by the BBC in any way and is intended for entertainment and educational purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended.

The Official Doctor Who site can be found at http://bbc.co.uk/doctorwho.

Doctor Who, all associated logos, names and references to characters, vehicles and any other Doctor Who related items are registered trademarks and/or copyrights of the BBC, or their respective trademark and copyright holders.

All original content of this podcast, both musical and textual, is the intellectual property of the podcast – unless otherwise indicated. © Copyright 2011

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