In this clip from “Masters of Sound,” a feature on the Doctor Who: The Beginning Box Set, studio manager Dick Mills and engineer Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop describe how they brought the iconic theme of the Doctor Who series to life.
Now, most tunes have got a three-part structure: you’ve got a rhythm, you’ve got a melody and you’ve got the twiddly bits on top so we created three separate tapes, put them onto three machines and stood next to them and said “Ready, steady, go!” and pushed all the ‘start’ buttons at once. It seemed to work. In those days it was obvious this was a wrong note. How to find out: you simply unrolled all the tape down the floor, walked along the sticky tape joins and where two sticky-tape joins weren’t next to each other, that was the wrong note. So that was that!