This is a list of composers for science fiction television series Doctor Who. It is sortable by a number of different criteria. The list defaults to ascending alphabetical order the composer's last name.

The Doctor Who theme music was composed by Ron Grainer and initially arranged by Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Various composers subsequently arranged it for later versions of the theme.

In the classic series, each serial's director chose the freelance composer for the incidental music in the serial. Some directors chose to use stock music or special soundscapes from the Radiophonic Workshop instead of specially composed music as a cost cutting measure. During the 1970s, the incidental composer primarily associated with the programme was Dudley Simpson, composing most of the decade's music. When John Nathan-Turner became producer of Doctor Who in 1980, he decided that the music needed to be updated, and took Simpson out for a meal telling him how much he appreciated his work on Doctor Who but that it would no longer be required as he intended to have the BBC Radiophonic Workshop provide music from that point. While Simpson was contracted to score Shada, the unfinished nature of that production meant he never started work. As a result, his last broadcast work on Doctor Who was for The Horns of Nimon.[1]

The 1980s saw the music composition brought in house at the BBC by various members of the Radiophonic Workshop, before transitioning back to freelance composers at the end of the original series's run. This decade saw a more heavy use of synthesizers than before.

John Debney was chosen to score the 1996 TV movie, and he achieved this together with his proteges Louis Febre and John Sponsler.

The revived series' scores were entirely composed by Murray Gold for the first ten series. Gold utilised an orchestra score for many episodes, with heavy use of leitmotifs for characters such as the Doctor, the companions and monsters.[2][3] Gold's music was played at the Proms, such as for the 50th anniversary celebration.[4] Several singers performed in the soundtracks of these series, for instance, Neil Hannon in "Song for Ten".[5] However, the programme had previously had a singer - The Gunfighters featured Lynda Baron singing "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" in 1966.

Segun Akinola replaced Gold for the duration of the Thirteenth Doctor's run. Akinola's scores tended to be more ambient than Gold's, with a great variety of instruments for different episodes.[6]

In April 2023, it was announced that Gold would again join Doctor Who as composer.[7][8]

Doctor Who composers

Composer No.
First date First story Last date Last story
Segun Akinola 24 2018 "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" 2022 "The Power of the Doctor"[9]
Mark Ayres[a] 3 1988 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy 1989 The Curse of Fenric
Richard Rodney Bennett 1 1964 The Aztecs 1964 The Aztecs
Carey Blyton 3 1970 Doctor Who and the Silurians 1975 Revenge of the Cybermen
Charles Botterill[b] 1 1965 The Time Meddler 1965 The Time Meddler
Geoffrey Burgon 2 1975 Terror of the Zygons 1976 The Seeds of Doom
Tristram Cary[c] 8 1963 The Daleks 1972 The Mutants
Francis Chagrin 1 1964 The Dalek Invasion of Earth 1964 The Dalek Invasion of Earth
Malcolm Clarke[d] 7 1972 The Sea Devils 1986 Terror of the Vervoids
John Debney 1 1996 Doctor Who 1996 Doctor Who
Louis Febre 1 1996 Doctor Who 1996 Doctor Who
Jonathan Gibbs[d] 4 1983 The King's Demons 1985 The Mark of the Rani
Dominic Glynn 5 1986 The Mysterious Planet 1989 Survival
Murray Gold 120 2005 "Rose"
Don Harper 1 1968 The Invasion 1968 The Invasion
Richard Hartley 1 1986 Mindwarp 1986 Mindwarp
Brian Hodgson[d][e] 4 1968 The Wheel in Space 1969 The Krotons
Peter Howell[d][f] 9 1980 The Leisure Hive 1985 The Two Doctors
Raymond Jones 2 1965 The Romans 1966 The Savages
Norman Kay 3 1963 An Unearthly Child 1964 The Sensorites
Paddy Kingsland[d][g] 8 1980 Meglos 1984 Frontios
Roger Limb[d] 8 1981 The Keeper of Traken 1985 Revelation of the Daleks
Keff McCulloch[h] 6 1987 Time and the Rani 1989 Battlefield
Stanley Myers 1 1964 The Reign of Terror 1964 The Reign of Terror
Elizabeth Parker[d] 1 1985 Timelash 1985 Timelash
Humphrey Searle 1 1965 The Myth Makers 1965 The Myth Makers
Dudley Simpson 62 1964 Planet of Giants 1980 The Horns of Nimon
John Sponsler 1 1996 Doctor Who 1996 Doctor Who

Stock music

Instead of using specially composed music, some serials were scored completely with pre-recorded stock music. Some of these serials used music by one composer as noted below:

Spinoff composers

Composer Spinoff title
Mark Ayres Wartime, Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans, P.R.O.B.E. (The Zero Imperative, The Devil of Winterborne, Unnatural Selection, Ghosts of Winterborne)
Nicholas Briggs Mindgame, Mindgame Trilogy
Edmund Butt An Adventure in Space and Time
Christopher Elves K9
Ben Foster Torchwood
Alan Glass White Witch of Devil's End
Linzi Gold White Witch of Devil's End
Murray Gold The Sarah Jane Adventures (theme tune), Torchwood (theme tune and incidental music)
Barry Gray Dr. Who and the Daleks, Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.
Peter Howell K-9 and Company
Erwin Keiles Downtime
Ian Levine K-9 and Company (theme tune), Downtime
Michael Lira K9 (theme tune)
Alistair Lock Auton Trilogy, Dæmos Rising, Zygon: When Being You Just Isn't Enough, Sil and the Devil Seeds of Arodor
Malcolm Lockyer Dr. Who and the Daleks
Bill McGuffie Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.
Blair Mowat Class
Nigel Stock Downtime
Olivia Thomas P.R.O.B.E. (When to Die)
Fiachra Trench K-9 and Company (theme tune)
Dan Watts The Sarah Jane Adventures
Sam Watts The Sarah Jane Adventures


  1. ^ Also composed music for the 2017 version of Shada
  2. ^ Botterill performed eight minutes of percussive music for the score, with the rest from stock.[10]
  3. ^ Three serials credited to Cary (The Rescue, The Ark, and The Power of the Daleks) just reuse music originally recorded for The Daleks or The Daleks' Master Plan with no new music.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Composed as part of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  5. ^ Credited as "Special Sound"[11]
  6. ^ Also provided uncredited incidental music for Revenge of the Cybermen.
  7. ^ Kingsland's last two scores (Mawdryn Undead and Frontios) were composed freelance after he left the Radiophonic Workshop
  8. ^ Also composed music for the 1992 video release of Shada and the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time


  1. ^ "The Horns of Nimon ★".
  2. ^ "Adventures in Time and Sound PDF". Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  3. ^ "Who Music in Notes". Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  4. ^ "BBC 2013 Proms". Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Neil Hannon - Song For Ten Lyrics". musiXmatch. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  6. ^ "Doctor Who Series 12 Soundtrack World". Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Award-winning composer Murray Gold returns to Doctor Who | Doctor Who".
  8. ^ T Davies, Russell. "Russell T Davies on Instagram: "MURRAY GOLD will be the composer for the next season of Doctor Who! Is anyone surprised?! Full story & interview in this week's new DWM ♥️"". Instagram. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  9. ^ "Doctor Who composer confirms Jodie Whittaker's final special is his last". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  10. ^ Ainsworth, John, ed. (2016). "The Crusade, The Space Museum, The Chase and The Time Meddler". Doctor Who: The Complete History. London: Panini Comics, Hachette Partworks. 5 (11): 133. ISSN 2057-6048.
  11. ^ Ayres, Mark (August 2015). "Composers: The 1960s". Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition. No. 41, The Music of Doctor Who. Tunbridge Wells: Panini UK Ltd. p. 24.