Murray Gold: The Man Behind the Music

Earlier this month, after many months of rumours, New Who composer Murray Gold confirmed that he won’t be returning for Series 11 of Doctor Who.

The club was lucky enough to interview Murray back in December 2012, when he came to Sydney for the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular. The interview was published in Data Extract #219, and is reproduced below for your reading pleasure.

We’re very happy to have you for what is now an extended run of the Symphonic Spectacular.

Is it? No one tells me anything. So I can’t leave tomorrow?

I hope not.

No, I want to stay. I like the fact that it’s summer and I don’t have to wear tons of sweaters.

Have you had much of a chance to see the sights?

I’ve seen Sydney Opera House in much more detail than I ever thought I would. I haven’t seen much else. I’ve seen my hotel, and the airport, and the Opera House. I did spend three weeks in Sydney last time, after Melbourne, and I didn’t see any of the sights then. I did go to the zoo. I met a koala. One of the greatest moments of my life, actually. I think that’s the picture they put in the programme, me and the koala. They asked me for a picture and I said, “I think this one might work”, ‘cos it’s taken in Sydney. I had to bustle past all these kids to get it. “Out of the way, it’s my turn!”

We’ve had half a series of Doctor Who since Melbourne, which has been included. Which season showcased in the Spectacular do you think came together the most?

I really liked the Asylum of the Daleks episode and the Angels episode, as a two-piece thing, in this season. I tend not to like whole seasons. It’s kind of impossible, because there are different types of Doctor Who episodes, an the kind of episodes that I like are not necessarily everyone else’s favourite. I liked the last two of Series 6. This season has been tough though, because there have been so many climaxes, and another mid-season climax, and a new companion, and then a Christmas special, so it’s got a really tough schedule now.

How do you work out what an episode should sound like?

A little bit is about place and about time. Usually it’s the emotional story, ‘cos I usually don’t care where something’s set. I might do a cue at the beginning because it’s over a skyline of something. The Angels episode had a tenor saxophone because it was in Manhattan. I don’t know. I’m very instinctive; I don’t like to think too much. I just like to see the episode and start writing.

Which Spectacular piece is your favourite?

I don’t have a favourite. I do love The Pandorica Opens, and that’s probably still my favourite story since Series 5. But I really like all the pieces we’re playing, and I love the way the orchestra plays it. I like that it has memories, and I like the fact that the audience will know where in the show it came from and be reminded of those moments.

How does it make you feel to know that your music has seen a lot of younger people seeking out other orchestral works?

I think that’s great. I hope they find something that they like in the world of music. There’s just so much available. I guess that if orchestras are thought of as unfashionable or uncool, it would be good to reverse that feeling. It’s the most incredible combination of skill and lack of egotism, and harmony and cooperation. Seeing orchestras play together, you’ve got 85 people who are way more talented than the people who usually get interviewed.

Where did your musical journey start?

I don’t know. Being exposed to music, I guess. It’s a hard question to answer, because when you realise that you love music, that’s it. You don’t ask to love it, you don’t seek out to love it – you just find that you do, and suddenly it’s important. If anyone asks you to explain why it’s important, you can’t really explain it.

So there wasn’t a moment where you went, “This is what I want to do”?

I never did that. I never actually said, “This is what I want to do”. I just enjoy doing it, and I keep doing it. I don’t know if it’s what I want to do. I don’t know what I want to do.

For those fans who have started seeking out other works, do you have any composers or pieces that you would recommend?

Oh God, there’s so many, it’s absurd. If you look at my iTunes box… The only thing I would say is that you’ve just got to try and listen to music in better quality. Companies like Apple and Google have completely obliterated the way we listen to music now, so that we listen to it in worse quality than you did 25 years ago. We’ve all got it in our pockets but it just sounds like mush in our heads. So try and listen to music at a high digital resolution. Just listen to everything. There’s so much great music – there’s rock ‘n’ roll, the blues, classical, film composers… There’s a jazz guy called Charlie Haden – when I wrote my first score, I’d been listening to a lot of his music. There is one track called Silence, on an album called The Ballad of the Fallen, and it’s a brilliant piece that shows you how nice two instruments sound together if you just write them in harmony together. It’s a really good composing piece to listen to, which teaches you a lot about harmony.

On top of composing music, you were also briefly featured in Voyage of the Damned. Was that an interesting experience?

That was a really fun experience, ‘cos Ben Foster and I both did it. I roped Ben into it, thinking it would be fun. And of course, we wanted to be treated just the same way as anyone else, ‘cos we were just background artists. So you get shepherded onto this bus, you have to be awake at five in the morning, then you go through make-up. There was one time when I was being made up, and Kylie was being made up next to me, and Babs the make-up lady said, “Oh Murray, do you know Kylie?” I turned around and said, “Not exactly, but I know who she is. Hello.” She’s really nice.

Nobody knew we’d worked on the show in any other capacity, so all these really nice people were talking to us and saying, “So do you have an agent? What are you doing next week? We’re doing Miss Marple next week. Do you want to get in on that?” I was like, “Well, I’m just concentrating on being a background artist on Doctor Who for the time being.” Then suddenly David Tennant came into the room, after us background artists had been waiting for four hours, in costume, under the burning lights. David comes in, and he looks up, and he says, “Murray!” He runs over to me and hugs me, and all these other background artists are like, “Why is David Tennant hugging that one?” They must have thought I’d paid him or something. So it was good fun, but I probably won’t do it again.

DWCA Book Club April – Torchwood: World Without End

The DWCA Book Club is venturing into Doctor Who spin-off territory with its next title – the first in a new range of graphic novels for a series that, like its lead character, has a tendency to come back from the dead.

Written by John Barrowman himself alongside his sister Carole, Torchwood: World Without End sees Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper attempt to rebuild Torchwood Cardiff from the ground up. But after suffering an attack by extra-dimensional shock troopers, and with a deadly rift bleeding through into their own reality, time itself could be destroyed if the new Torchwood team aren’t able to stop it!

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the book, you are invited to come along to our Book Club meeting on Friday 6 April, where discussion will be recorded for the official DWCA Book Club podcast. You can also comment on our Facebook page if you can’t make the event.

Torchwood: World Without End is available from the DWCA Shop here, along with Volume 2 in the series, Station Zero. Torchwood fans can also pick up full-cast audio adventures from Big Finish Productions, featuring stories set before, during and after the TV series!


Do you consider yourself something of an amateur critic? Send us a written review of the current Book Club title, and your words just may end up published in our club fanzine, Data Extract. What’s more, you will go into the running to win a $5 voucher to spend at the DWCA Shop!

Reviews should be sent to Dom Kelly at

DWCA Book Club February – Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks

With Twice Upon a Time having re-introduced us to the Doctor’s original incarnation, the DWCA Book Club is celebrating First Doctor Fever with our next text: Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks.

Also known as Doctor Who and the Daleks, this novel by David Whitaker was the first Doctor Who novelisation and, indeed, the first Doctor Who novel of any kind. It is based on the Daleks’ debut television appearance, with additional material based on An Unearthly Child – the first ever episode of the programme.

The book has been republished several times since its first edition in 1965, most famously in 1973 by Target Books – with strong sales resulting in Target releasing novelisations for the vast majority of classic series stories. More recently, BBC Books launched a Target-style paperback edition in 2011 and a retro hardback edition in 2016.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the book, you are invited to come along to our Book Club meeting on Friday 2 February, where discussion will be recorded for the official DWCA Book Club podcast. You can also comment on our Facebook page if you can’t make the event.


Do you consider yourself something of an amateur critic? Send us a written review of the current Book Club text, and your words just may end up published in our club fanzine, Data Extract. What’s more, you will go into the running to win a $5 voucher to spend at the DWCA Shop!

Reviews should be sent to Dom Kelly at

Opinion – A Female Doctor: It’s Time!

Back in 2014, Dale Watts submitted an article to Data Extract magazine in which he weighed in on the debate surrounding a female Doctor. With Jodie Whittaker’s tenure in the TARDIS growing ever nearer, we thought it would be interesting to revisit Dale’s article. We now reproduce it here for the first time since its debut in DE#226, abridged for the online format.


A female Doctor: a great idea or not? It certainly seemed to be the topic on everyone’s lips at the recent Lords of Time convention. With the Master having been regenerated into a woman in the Series 8 finale, and Steven Moffat having been quoted as saying he’d like Peter Capaldi’s successor to be female, it’s certainly something which is seeming increasingly likely as time goes on. And yet, as far as I could tell, most people at the convention seemed to be against the idea. This surprised and saddened me. Surprised, because I’d always just assumed that the Doctor could regenerate into a woman anyway, and simply hadn’t done so yet. Saddened, because it often seemed to be women against the idea.

Much as many are unwilling to admit it, Doctor Who sure as hell needs more female voices. It is a sad fact that only a handful of women have ever written or directed for the program. The recently-announced episode for Series 9 to be penned by Catherine Tregenna will be only the fifth Doctor Who story ever to have been written solely by a women – Tregenna follows in the footsteps of just three other women, Barbara Clegg, Rona Munro, and Helen Raynor. Another five stories were written by women as part of a writing partnership – four stories in the late ‘80s by Pip and Jane Baker, and a single one from Paul Erickson and Lesley Scott in the ‘60s. Even then, it’s disputed that Ms Scott ever actually wrote a word on the story she is credited on – The Ark. And that’s avoiding the issue of the pseudonymous ‘Paula Moore’, who wrote Attack of the Cybermen, and who was probably actually script editor Eric Saward.

Directors fare little better. Since 1963 there have been only ten female directors – Fiona Cumming, Paddy Russell, Julia Smith, Sheree Folkson, Sarah Hellings, Hettie MacDonald, Mary Ridge, Catherine Morshead, Rachel Talalay, and Alice Troughton, and only one story, Enlightenment, which just happens to be one of the greatest ever, from both a script and a production point of view, that has been both written and directed by women. Five of them have worked on the program in the last six years, which suggests that things are looking up, but the question remains: why such a small list at all? Are there simply not as many women interested in working on Doctor Who as there are men? Are the producers past and present sexist? Verity Lambert hired no women writers or directors, but I doubt anyone would accuse her of sexism. This is the woman who did most of the heavy lifting to get Doctor Who off the ground, and who in the process created two vibrant female characters in the form of Barbara Wright and Vicki Pallister.

Yet later producers, most of whom were male, did drop the ball a fair bit. It’s hard to argue otherwise, when so many actresses – among them, Louise Jameson, Janet Fielding and Nicola Bryant – recount that they were told they were there “for the dads”, which in itself raises the question of why a program that was ostensibly for children felt the need to include sexualised content for adult men. Leela may have been a strong, positive female character, but as Louise Jameson herself has pointed out, the character’s costume left little to the imagination. To give another example, Peri’s reputation as a character seems to be mostly based around her breasts, with Planet of Fire’s lingering shots of a bikini-clad Nicola Bryant.

What’s interesting about that example, though, is that it’s directed by a female director (Fiona Cumming) who was working for a gay male producer (John Nathan-Turner). This shows that sexism in Doctor Who is less the result of the producers being horrible people who deliberately set out to mock and sexualise women, and more the result of a societal expectation that women are there to be sexually attractive objects. And for every negative example of sexism in the program, there are positive female role models scattered throughout the program’s history. Barbara Wright, Liz Shaw, Sarah Jane Smith, Donna Noble, Clara Oswald – I don’t think any of these companions qualify as pretty, vacuous, monster-bait. Despite the cliche, there are only three occasions that I can recall where a companion tripped and sprained their ankle. And one of those was Adric!

So, Doctor Who has had its good moment and its not-so-good moments when it comes to its depiction of women. And frankly, its record of hiring female writers and directors is atrocious. So right now would definitely be the perfect time to try and increase the number of female voices in the program. And surely hiring a female lead actor would be a great step in that direction. Perhaps having a female lead character would help to attract more female directors and writers to the program! We know the Doctor can become a woman. It’s been implied since the Sarah Jane Adventures story The Death of the Doctor, in which Clyde asks the Doctor if he can be black, to which the Doctor replies, “I can be anything I want.” Note that he doesn’t add “except a woman”. There’s been further hints dropped since then – the most significant coming in The Doctor’s Wife, in which we’re told that the Doctor’s old friend, the Corsair, has had both male and female regenerations. Then, of course, there’s the Master’s recent regeneration into a woman, which seems to have split opinion.

So, to my mind, it’s not a question of whether the Doctor can become a woman, but whether he should. And I’m yet to hear a convincing argument for why he shouldn’t.

Many people seem to take the attitude of “it hasn’t been done before so it shouldn’t be done at all.” Leaving aside the fact that I hold the opposite opinion, imagine if this view had been adhered to by earlier production teams. The casting of Peter Davison was controversial at the time, as it was thought he was too young to play the role. But is anyone going to deny how great Davison, not to mention the other young Doctors (McGann, Tennant, Smith) were in the role? Not all great actors are old, white men, and if Doctor Who’s producers don’t take risks in their casting from time to time, Doctor Who can never change and improve itself.

Another flawed counter-argument to the question of a female Doctor is that having the Doctor become a woman “doesn’t make sense.” Considering we’re discussing a fictional television program about a time/space machine that’s bigger on the inside than the outside, piloted by an alien being that can change his entire physical appearance, I feel as though any questions of ‘sense’ went out the window long ago. I imagine there were viewers in 1966 who thought the changeover from Hartnell to Troughton didn’t make sense either, especially as Troughton didn’t put on a white wig and do a Hartnell impersonation. But 50 years later, we can look back on that event and see it for what it was – a brave move on the part of a desperate production team, which ensured their program’s long-term success to the present day. Hiring a female actor as the Doctor could definitely fall into the same bracket as that early ‘nonsensical’ decision.

By far the most distressing comments I heard, though – made more so because they were being made by women – were things like ‘women need men to rescue them’, or ‘women can’t be heroes’. If anyone genuinely believes that then I urge them to pick up any newspaper, or simply look around them, because strong, heroic women, who serve as positive role models for all of us, are everywhere. As an example, look at Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist who was shot in the head and survived, for daring to stand up to the Taliban and demand that girls in her country be allowed an education. In fact, given that historically women have often been oppressed (and in many parts of the world still are), and that the Doctor always fights for the rights of the oppressed, it makes a kind of karmic sense that the Doctor should one day be a woman. It just feels right.

A female Doctor could be the most wonderful thing ever. I wouldn’t want a token female Doctor, chosen simply to be there and be female. Rather, I want to see the casting for the Doctor opened up to anyone and everyone, regardless of gender, age, or race. If a man is cast, then I’m sure he’ll do a great job, just as the past actors to play the role have done. But if a woman is cast, then equally great. I’d presume she was the best person for the job, and I’d hope that she would simply be the first of many, many more female Doctors. Whether she be an elderly Margaret Rutherford type, or a young, sexy Emma Stone type, there’s no reason in the world to suspect that a female Doctor couldn’t be as wonderful, as brave, as funny, and as heroic as any of her male predecessors.


The full version of the article can be read in DE#226, which is available for purchase from the DWCA Shop. Other content in the issue includes interviews with Lords of Time 3 guests Katy Manning, Matthew Waterhouse, Terrance Dicks and Geoffrey Beevers, plus a special edition of A Little Perspective featuring discussion between three female fans.

Data Extract back issues now available through the DWCA Shop

The DWCA is pleased to announce that select editions of our club fanzine, Data Extract, are now available through our Online Shop.


Published continuously since 1980, Data Extract (DE) has grown from a two-page newsletter into a fully fledged fanzine, with articles, interviews, art and more besides. Earlier this year, the first 100 issues of the publication were collected together in one hardcover volume from the first time – from the heady days of the past from Tom Baker’s departure to the end of the classic era and into the Wilderness Years.

Now, single issues of DE from 2014 to 2016 are also available for purchase, giving both newer members and curious bystanders the chance to relive some of the recent history of the Whoniverse – from the aftermath of the 50th anniversary to the casting of Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts. Featuring celebrity interviews, event recounts, reviews and fan fiction – including the first stories in an ongoing series featuring original companion Eleanor Chaplette – each issue is chock full of high-quality content written by fans, for fans.


Limited issues of Data Extract #223 to #231 are available here while stocks last. The latest issue, #236, was released in late September and is currently available exclusively to members. To sign up as a member, visit

DWCA Book Club December – The Shining Man

With Stephen King’s IT currently taking the box office by storm, the DWCA Book Club is getting into the spirit of the spooky season with our next novel: Twelfth Doctor adventure The Shining Man.

The Shining Men are everywhere. You spot them out of the corner of your eye. Abnormally tall, with long lank hair, blank faces and blazing eyes. If they catch you, they’ll drag you away to who knows where. No one is safe. They’re on every street corner. Waiting. Watching. Shining bright.

Of course it’s a hoax. It has to be, right? It started as a joke, a prank for Halloween. Then it went viral. Idiots dressing up as monsters. Giving folk a scare. Silly masks and fright wigs. No one gets hurt. Because bogeymen aren’t real.

Until people start going missing and lights burn in the darkness. Burning like eyes.

But help is on its way, in the form of a strange man called the Doctor and his friend, Bill. The Doctor will keep us safe. The Doctor will stop the monsters. Unless the monsters stop the Doctor first…

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the book, you are invited to come along to our Book Club meeting on Friday 1 December, where discussion will be recorded for the official DWCA Book Club podcast. You can also comment on our Facebook page if you can’t make the event.


Do you consider yourself something of an amateur critic? Send us a written review of the current Book Club text, and your words just may end up published in our club fanzine, Data Extract. What’s more, you will go into the running to win a $5 voucher to spend at the DWCA Shop!

This offer is valid for all Book Club titles from Blake’s 7: Mediasphere onwards, until stated otherwise. Reviews should be sent to Dom Kelly at

2017 DWCA office bearers revealed

The DWCA is pleased to announce the election results from its recent Annual General Meeting, held on Sunday 13 August at Club Burwood, Sydney.

Only one person had nominated for each position, so the following were all elected unopposed:

  • President – Lauren Davis
  • Vice President – Jon Andersen
  • Secretary – Roger Reynolds
  • Treasurer – Brad Harrison

Each of these people also held the same position the previous year.

The DWCA would also like to announce a change to the non-office bearing position of Local Groups Manager, which has until now been held by Tai Wong. Tai recently indicated that he would be resigning from the committee, ending several years of service which have seen him previously act as the editor of Goods Gallery of Gallifrey for Data Extract magazine, as well as a general assistant to the team. We wish him well on his next endeavour.

Tai’s position on the team will be filled by Shania Everson, as appointed by the members of the committee. Like Tai before her, she will be the club’s contact for all things to do with local groups, offering advice on everything from event ideas to how to set up your own group from scratch. She can be contacted at

LOOK WHO’S TALKING 2017: One weekend, two exciting DWCA events!

The DWCA is excited to announce the return of Look Who’s Talking, a two-part event giving Doctor Who fans the chance to meet celebrity guests in a fun, friendly and informal setting.

DWCA Book Club Presents: Jon and Kate Plus Blake

The weekend will kick off on the evening of Friday 6 October with a very special edition of the DWCA Book Club, as we will be joined by husband-and-wife writing team Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman.


Jon and Kate have been authoring fiction for the Whoniverse since the Wilderness Years, having written together and separately for the Virgin New Adventures, the Eighth Doctor Adventures, the Bernice Summerfield books, the Big Finish monthly audio adventures and more. More recently they expanded their horizons into cult sci-fi show Blake’s 7, devised by Dalek creator Terry Nation and long considered Doctor Who’s unofficial cousin.

Event attendees will have the chance to hear Jon and Kate talk in-depth about their work on the Blake’s 7 novel Mediasphere – the current set text for the club – as well as some of their other projects. Limited copies of Mediasphere and other Orman/Blum titles will be available for purchase from the DWCA Shop on the night.

Book Club tickets are completely free; however, online booking is essential as space is strictly limited. Attendees are also asked to purchase food or drink from the venue on the night.

When: Friday 6 October, 6:30pm-10pm
Where: Albion Place Hotel, 531 George St, Sydney

The Whovian World of Adam Richard

The fun will continue on Sunday 8 October, with a DWCA day event featuring comedian and actor Adam Richard.

Adam will be best known to Doctor Who fans as a regular panellist on ABC2’s Whovians, broadcast during Series 10, but this is far from his first foray into the realm of science-fiction. Adam previously co-created and starred in the six-part ABC comedy series Outland, which documented the adventures of a group of gay sci-fi fans, back in 2012. He also popped up in an episode of sci-fi/comedy audio series Night Terrace, created by his partner in crime on Outland, John Richards. We look forward to hearing from Adam about his work and life as one of Australia’s most beloved sci-fi geeks!

Admission for this event includes a small fee to cover the cost of the venue, although children under 13 are free with a paying adult. Each ticket includes a token for a complimentary autograph from Adam, as well as automatic entry into the club’s door prize competition. Book online to secure your ticket now and receive a second door prize entry absolutely free!

When: Sunday 8 October, 10am-5pm
Where: Club Burwood (2nd floor), 97 Burwood Rd, Burwood

DWCA Book Club October – Blake’s 7: Mediasphere

The DWCA Book Club is taking a detour away from the Whoniverse for its next meeting, discussing a book set in the world of Doctor Who’s unofficial cousin – cult classic sci-fi series Blake’s 7.

Mediasphere is the eighth in a series of standalone Blake’s 7 novels from Big Finish Productions, written by Australia’s own Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman. The novel focuses on new recruit to the Spaceship Liberator, Dayna, as the crew infiltrate the Mediasphere – a space station which produces propaganda and popular entertainmen for the evil Federation. But who is really controlling the Mediasphere – and scripting a series of deadly encounters for our heroes?

Discussion of the book coincides with the debut of Dayna in the latest Blake’s 7 audio box set from Big Finish, The Spoils of War, with Yasmin Bannerman (Doctor Who: The End of the World) cast in the role in question.

Both Mediasphere and The Spoils of War are available now from the DWCA Online Shop, alongside a whole range of other titles set in the Blake’s 7 universe. Limited copies of Mediasphere will also be available to purchase in person at the club’s upcoming Inner Sydney Tavern, to be held on Friday 1 September. To set aside your copy for collection at the event, contact

Discussion of the book itself will take place at our Book Club meeting on Friday 6 October, as well as on our Facebook page for those who can’t make it.

DWCA Publishing Presents: Data Extract Issues 1 to 100

The DWCA is excited to announce that the first 100 issues of the club fanzine, Data Extract, have been collected together in one special archival volume for the first time.

In 1980 a publishing legend was born with the release of the first newsletter for the Doctor Who Club of Australia. Editor Dallas Jones named it Data Extract and under his stewardship the publication grew from a two page newsletter into a fully fledged fanzine, with articles, interviews, art and more besides.

Now for the first time since their original releases, the first 100 issues of this Doctor Who fanzine have been reprinted and collected in one hardcover volume. Relive the heady days of the past from Tom Baker’s departure to the end of the classic era and into the Wilderness Years. It’s all here, presented exactly as it was.

This collection features interviews with Jon Pertwee, Sylvester McCoy, John Freeman and Jeremy Bentham. Experience Doctor Who history through the eyes of Australian fandom with the first 100 issues of Data Extract, Down Under’s premiere fanzine and the flagship publication of the DWCA.

The Doctor Who Fanzine Collection: Data Extract Issues 1 to 100 is available through Lulu. For your copy, click here.