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Time for The Visitation from Silva Screen
By James Whittington, Sunday 15th March 2020

The Visitation is the first commercial release of Paddy Kingsland's vintage Doctor Who synth score, to be made available in physical, digital and vinyl formats.

Based on Eric Saward's book, The Visitation is set in England during the height of the 17th Century Great Plague. The story follows The Doctor and his companion fighting Terileptic, a group of fugitive aliens plotting to make the Earth their new home by spreading a deadly plague. Directed by Peter Moffatt, the atmospheric period drama was initially broadcast on BBC 1 from 15th to 23rd February 1982 in four twice-weekly parts, and featured Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor.

Paddy Kingsland's arrival at the BBC radiophonic Workshop coincided with the advent of the synthesiser. Paddy explains "...some of the early ones didn't have a keyboard and were simply another way of generating electronic tones with the latest controls added to it. But when they added keyboards on, you could just play a tune - whereas John Baker would spend a day cutting tape together to make that type of sound.

Starting in 1975 with the score for The Changes, followed by The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981) and 29 episodes of Doctor Who (1980 to 1984), Paddy Kingsland's keyboard fanfares quickly became the sound of early 1980s TV that influenced future generations of musicians.

Paddy Kingsland reminisces about the process for The Visitation score: "We decided early on that the music should have a period flavour together with the usual high tech (at the time!) synthesiser sounds. Peter was my favourite Doctor Who director and was always enormously encouraging and positive... he generously gave me the freedom to do my own thing, but always knew if something needed to be adjusted."

"I had about a week to put together the music for an episode before going to the dub... the score is quite sombre although there are elements of "yea verily" type music to set some scenes, which have a lighter texture. I played all the parts, using the synthesisers of the day, Oberheim, Roland and ARP, adding bass guitar plus drums and cymbals... not to mention my trusty Fender Mustang guitar."

Doctor Who - The Visitation, produced by Mark Ayres, archivist of BBC Radiophonic Workshop, will be released on 1 st May thanks to Silva Screen Records.

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