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Tristram Cary, the composer of the Dr Who theme tune and a pioneer of electronic music, has died

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Sad news indeed here at Gadget Freaks. Tristram Cary, the composer of the Doctor Who theme and electronic music pioneer has died in Adelaide, Australia. Of course the long running sci-fi series has a special place in the hearts of all gadgeteers so it’s only fitting to remember the creator of what is one of the most memorable and unique TV themes of all time.


Cary came upon the idea of tape and electronic music whilst serving in the British Navy as a radar officer during the Second World War. He later went on to become one of the principal pioneers of electronic music founding an electronic music studio at London’s Royal College of Music in 1967. Moving to Australia in the 1970’s, he established a similar studio at the world renowned University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium of Music.

The son of Irish born Novelist, Joyce Cary, he was said to have had a unique childhood. Family friends, T.S. Elliot and James Joyce would often call at the family home for tea.

Many regard Cary as the father of modern electronic music. His theme to the long running BBC series is said to have inspired the likes of Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, Portishead and many others. Not only a composer, he co-designed a synthesiser used by such legends of music as Roxy Music, The Who and the previously mentioned Pink Floyd.

In 1991 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia ( OAM ) for services to Australian music. During his distinguished if not seminal career he also composed music for Hollywood feature films, television theatre and concerts.

He died in The Royal Adelaide Hospital ( Australia ) aged 82.

Written by gadgetfreaks

April 28, 2008 at 6:32 am

2 Responses

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  1. Who wrote this news blurb? I’ve seen it all over the ‘net. Ron Grainer was the composer of the doctor who theme, not Cary…he worked on the show as a composer of underscore, but he certainly didn’t compose the theme.


    April 29, 2008 at 4:56 am


    Thanks for the heads up on that Seba.



    April 30, 2008 at 8:35 am

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