Friday, 12 December 2003

Malcolm Clarke


December 12, 2003  •  Posted By Shaun Lyon
Composer Malcolm Clarke passed away yesterday, December 11. Says Mark Ayres, himself a Doctor Who composer and current member of the Restoration Team: "Malcolm was undoubtedly one of the most colourful characters ever to work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, joining in 1969. Fuelled by his keen interest in the visual arts, his music - always anarchic, never boring - holds a special place in my affections." Clarke composed the incidental music for seven Doctor Who stories, including the very haunting and memorable score for "The Sea Devils," the ghastly cybernetic tones of "Earthshock" and the high-seas-adventure movements of "Enlightenment," as well as "Resurrection of the Daleks," "The Twin Dilemma," "Attack of the Cybermen" and "Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids." "His work for ... 'The Sea Devils,'" says Ayres, "is a benchmark in 'doing it your own way and hang the consequences' and made a deep impression on at least one young would-be composer. His award-winning 'August 4th 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains' (1976) is a beat-perfect lesson in pure radio." Clarke was one of the last to leave the BBC Radiophonic Workshop when it was dismantled in the mid 1990's and had been studying for a PhD in music ("at last he would be qualified to do what he had spent his life successfully doing," Ayres joked). Selections from his work were made available on a variety of CDs from Silva Screen and the BBC Radio Collection. (Thanks to Mark Ayres)