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The Alchemists of Sound

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A documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, responsible for creating some of the most memorable television and radio music in British popular culture, including "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and Doctor Who (1963).

The BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop was set up in 1958, born out of a desire to create ‘new kinds of sounds’. The Alchemists of Sound looks at this creative group from its inception, through its golden age when it was supplying music and effects for cult classics like Doctor Who, Blake’s Seven and Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, and charts its fading away in 1995 when, due to budget cuts, it was no longer able to survive.

There are interviews with composers from the Workshop, as well as musicians and writers who have been inspired by the output. Great archive footage of the Workshop and its machinery is accompanied by excerpts of the, now cult, TV programs that featured these sounds.


Type: Documentary
Year: 2003
Total Time: 58 mins
Styles: Experimental, Jazz, Minimal, Musique Concrète, Soundtrack
Formats: Television
Liscense: Copyright
Dick Mills
Adrian Utley
David Cain
Delia Derbyshire
Malcolm Clarke
Peter Kember
John Baker
Milton Babbitt
Huw Wheldon
Robert Popper
Peter Serafinowicz
Wendy Carlos
Peter Howell
Paddy Kingsland
Elizabeth Parker
Director: Roger Pomphrey
Producer: Victor Lewis-Smith, Ned Parker, Graham Pass, John Warburton
Cinematography: Oli Hallowes, James Saligari
Sound: Richard Ashley, Matthew Johns
Studio: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Distributor: BBC Two UK TV
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