Why Don’t You… Celebrate Delia Derbyshire Day?

Posted on January 9, 2013


Manchester’s Band on the Wall is hosting a special event this Saturday (12 January) to celebrate the life and influence of a pioneering electronic music composer, Delia Derbyshire. Perhaps best known for her work in realising the iconic Doctor Who theme tune, she unashamedly spearheaded a musical revolution.

Following her intense interest in the mechanics of music, she persisted in wanting to join the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Peppered in with her astonishing achievements whilst at the Beeb, Derbyshire reportedly bemused Doctor Who composer Ron Grainer with her realisation of the theme tune. He was so impressed, he fought (and sadly failed) to get her a co-composer credit. 11 years and 200 programmes at the Radiophonic Workshop later, she quit in favour of other roles, retreating from the music scene until a resurgence towards the end of her life as those who had grew up worshiping her music now sought her advice.

The event is split in two with a daytime screening and debate and evening premieres of new commissions inspired by Delia’s archive (now held at the University of Manchester) and a fusion of ‘Delian’ sounds and images.

Central to the day is the morning session that will be hosted by well-known Manchester blogger Cath Aubergine. She will lead a varied programme that looks at the music and life of this remarkable lady. There will a rare chance to see a screening of Kara Blake’s film The Delian Mode. Winner of the 2010 Genie award for Best Short Documentary, Blake will also be taking part in a discussion panel.

Other panelists will include Dr. David Butler, curator of the Derbyshire archive (University of Manchester), BBC Radiophonic Workshop archivist Mark Ayres and Teresa Winter, a PhD student specialising in Delia’s methods. There will also be a special set of listening performances focusing on specific areas of Delia’s work, which informed the new pieces that will premier in the evening session.

Something of an enigma, this is a rare chance to hear from those influenced, inspired and awed by this musician, the likes of which we may never hear again.

More information and tickets for both the whole day, or just the morning/evening sessions are available from Band on the Wall. You can also see the latest news and updates on the Delia Derbyshire Day blog. After it’s Manchester stop, the Delia Darlings go on tour to Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle. More details over on the Delia Darlings on Tour page.