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.
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. Gold's music was played at the Proms, such as for the 50th anniversary celebration. Several singers performed in the soundtracks of these series, for instance, Neil Hannon in "Song for Ten". 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.
In April 2023, it was announced that Gold would again join Doctor Who as composer.
|First date||First story||Last date||Last story|
|Segun Akinola||24||2018||"The Woman Who Fell to Earth"||2022||"The Power of the Doctor"|
|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|
|Don Harper||1||1968||The Invasion||1968||The Invasion|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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:
|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|
|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|
|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.|
|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|