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The Delia Derbyshire Archive | Podcast

British Electronic Music Pioneer By Caro C
Published November 2023
The Delia Derbyshire Archive

In celebration of Delia Derbyshire Day 2023 and the 60th Anniversary of the Doctor Who theme, Caro C is joined by fellow devotees Mark Ayres, David Butler and Cosey Fanni Tutti to discuss the Delia Derbyshire archives and the importance of her contributions to the development of electronic music.

Show Notes


00:00 - Introduction
01:26 - Delia Derbyshire Archive
Mark Ayres
03:15 - Mark Ayres Introduction
07:44 - The Beginnings Of Electronic Music
10:12 - Electronic Sound Sources
13:10 - The Delia Derbyshire Archives
18:40 - Favourite Piece: The Makeup Tape Of Blue Veils
22:21 - The Future Of The Archives
David Butler
24:38 - David Butler Introduction
28:59 - The Contents Of The Archives
33:17 - Building A Network Of Collaborators
35:03 - Methods And Techniques Revealed
36:59 - Manipulating The Voice
39:05 - Favourite Piece: Two Houses And Demo Cue
Cosey Fanni Tutti
41:42 - Cosey Fanni Tutti Introduction
43:42 - Delia Derbyshire Musical Influences
45:24 - A Background In Physics
48:50 - Favourite Piece: Amor Dei
53:34 - The Importance Of The Archives

Delia Derbyshire Biog

Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001) was a key figure in the development of electronic music in the UK. Born in Coventry but evacuated to Preston during the Blitz, Delia cites the sound of air raid sirens as inspiring her interest in electronic sound. She went on to study Maths and Music at Cambridge University and launched her career at the BBC in 1960 as a trainee Studio Manager. She moved to the Radiophonic Workshop in 1962, where she spent the next 11 years developing experimental sounds and music for their TV and radio shows, in addition to working as a freelancer on film, theatre and other live projects. Her most famous work is her electronic arrangement of Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme, created in 1963.

Delia Derbyshire at the BBC Radiophonic WorkshopDelia Derbyshire at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Delia composed and produced electronic music using tape, plus early synthesis and sampling methods before specific instruments were created for these purposes. Her work has influenced and inspired many modern artists including The Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin, Portishead, Nainita Desai, Amon Tobin and Cosey Fanni Tutti, while Pink Floyd, Orbital and Hannah Peel have reinterpreted her work.

Mark Ayres Biog

Mark Ayres is a composer, arranger, sound designer, mixer and mastering engineer. Mark wrote incidental music for Doctor Who in the 1980s. More recently he wrote the music for, sound-designed and mixed the reconstructed 'lost' Tom Baker adventure, 'Shada', and a celebratory feature length version of the original 1963 'Daleks' serial transmitted on BBC4 on 23rd November 2023, Doctor Who’s 60th birthday. He has also composed for television and film including scores for the 1996 feature 'The Innocent Sleep' and the more recent 'Scar Tissue'.

Mark was involved in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s final days and went on to become their archivist. A personal friend of Delia Derbyshire, he was entrusted with her personal archive after her death in 2001, which is now on permanent loan to the University of Manchester John Rylands Library and accessible for study. Mark is a Trustee of the Delia Derbyshire Day Charity.

Mark Ayres at GlastonburyMark Ayres at Glastonbury

His devotion to the Workshop after Doctor Who ceased broadcasting in 1989 proved vital in regenerating interest in their work, and he is now the driving force behind their live revival on the festival circuit and in the creation of new works, including the score for Matthew Holness' disturbing psychological horror film, 'Possum'. He has produced and mastered many recordings for Silva Screen Records and others, and his work remastering classic television programmes including Doctor Who, Quatermass, and the films of Ken Russell and Alan Clarke for broadcast, DVD and Blu-ray, including 5.1 remixes of many titles, has been highly acclaimed.

X - @MarkAyresRWS

Instagram - @markayresrws

David Butler Biog

David Butler is a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Film Studies at the University of Manchester. He helped to bring the Delia Derbyshire Archive to the John Rylands Library, Manchester in 2007 and is one of the archive's lead researchers and curators. David is the chair of trustees for Delia Derbyshire Day and helped set up the charity in 2016.

David Butler, Delia Derbyshire Archive CuratorDavid Butler, Delia Derbyshire Archive Curator

Cosey Fanni Tutti Biog

Cosey Fanni Tutti is a musician and writer, best known for her part in experimental electronic bands Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey. Cosey interacted with the Delia Derbyshire Archive when she composed the soundtrack for Caroline Catz's film Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And The Legendary Tapes and in the writing of her book 'Re-Sisters: The Lives and Recordings of Delia Derbyshire', by Margery Kempe and Cosey Fanni Tutti published by Faber in 2022.

Cosey Fanni Tutti Cosey Fanni Tutti

Also see Caroline Catz's film ’Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And The Legendary Tapes’ on the BBC website.

Interviewer: Caro C - Biog

Caro C portraitDescribed as a "one-woman electronic avalanche" (BBC) and a "sonic enchantress" (BBC Radio 3), Caro has been making her own brand of sensual electronica since the late '90s, reared on a diet of black music, Warp Records and Björk.

Caro currently finds herself in ample musical mischief in the Manchester creative mycelium and beyond — making music, teaching, producing podcasts as well as being the instigator and project manager of electronic music charity Delia Derbyshire Day.
X: @carocsound
Instagram: @carocsound

Delia Derbyshire Day Charity:

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