"Doctor Who" is one of the most well-known TV franchises in history. But with new episodes not expected until 2020, what's a Whovian to do? AXS has prepared a playlist of the best pop songs used in "Doctor Who" for fans to listen to over the hiatus. Click the titles below to listen to the most memorable tracks heard during The Doctor's adventures in time and space.
When The Doctor arrived in the United States for "The Angels Take Manhattan" the music choice was particularly amusing. This Sting piece was heard over the episode's establishing shots of New York City, and it seemed to be a wink and a nod to the audience. A plot about a very British main character coming to New York uses a song about an Englishman being in New York? Way to have a sense of humor, "Doctor Who."
Heard in "The Rebel Flesh" this Muse track pops up in the background while Amy Pond and her future husband Rory Williams are playing a game of darts between adventures. It's also heard as The Doctor is going over the results of Amy's recent medical scan. The TARDIS clearly has good taste in music! But there was also something sinister going on here: "Supermassive Black Hole" has a video where the dancers are revealed to be space beings, and "The Rebel Flesh" is an episode about beings from the sun who attack humans.
In "The End of the World" the newly arrived Ninth Doctor has entirely too much fun with a jukebox that plays some mainstream pop hits. One of them was this Soft Cell classic. Watching Christopher Eccleston's Doctor be so entertained by this song was a pleasure, but that wasn't the only reason it was a great choice. The lyrics to this song could also be applied to some of The Doctor's complicated relationships with his companions, too. He's certainly broken his fair share of hearts over the years.
Electric Light Orchestra is a great fit for "Doctor Who" in general, with how their pop-rock has touches of electronic sounds throughout. But their hit single "Don't Bring Me Down" played a key part in the episode "Love & Monsters" when it was heard multiple times. It was performed by the members of the LINDA group in character during the episode, which was cool enough. But the original ELO edition of the song was played on its own, too, along with their other songs "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Turn To Stone." This whole episode was like an ELO party, and it worked.
The Cybermen are one of The Doctor's longest-running adversaries, but things got particularly creepy in "Rise of the Cybermen." That episode featured a bone-chilling scene in which humans were being forcibly converted into Cybermen, and the villain of the week was playing this song to cover up all of the screaming. Of course, it didn't entirely do the job. So having to listen to this incredibly bouncy, upbeat song intermixed with the sound of people being essentially tortured made for one of the most uncomfortable moments in "Doctor Who" history.
In the episode "Father's Day" there was a brief but big surprise when this 80's pop hit started playing. It's only a brief snippet, but it makes perfect sense because the plot has The Doctor and Rose visiting 1987. That's the year that "Never Gonna Give You Up" was first released and Rick Astley became a pop superstar. The song is used to set the scene and doesn't have any grand significance in the episode, but it's another brilliant choice from the "Doctor Who" music department. It's instantly recognizable and with over 506 million views on YouTube alone, it's a song that a lot of people love.
Things were incredibly break in the episode "Turn Left" when The Doctor's companion Donna Noble was among a group of refugees in a world where things had gone badly wrong. Donna, along with the other refugees, sings what may be the best song ever recorded in a sort of unifying moment. The song also gets bonus points because Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have sung it at convention appearances. But that's no surprise because you can never go wrong with Queen.
"Rosa" was one of the best "Doctor Who" episodes in several years. One of the biggest reasons why was its final sequence, where The Doctor and her companions have no choice but to watch Rosa Parks be hauled off of that infamous bus. It breaks their hearts not to help her, but it breaks the audience's hearts, even more, when this Andra Day song is played while she's escorted away. Both the tone of the song and its message are perfect for that scene and the plot of the entire episode in particular. It's also heard at the start of the episode, too, almost as a kind of painful foreshadowing.
Heard in the episode "Aliens of London" this is probably as close to a perfect music placement as one can get. This David Bowie hit sounds like it could've been about The Doctor with its lyrics. It was released in 1972, which is when this episode is set. There's also a being called Starman in "Doctor Who" canon (though one doesn't appear in "Aliens of London"). However you slice it, "Starman" has so many applications in the world of "Doctor Who," which makes it a shame that it's not heard for very long.
Music fans may not know that "Doctor Who" composer Murray Gold has also penned several original songs for the series. "Song For Ten" is the best-known one, heard in the Christmas special "The Christmas Invasion." It was performed by Tim Phillips in the episode, but the soundtrack album contained a version recorded by Neil Hannon, which you can hear by playing the video above. The 2005 release tops this list not only because it's a perfect introduction for David Tennant's Tenth Doctor, but it's also historic: it was the first original song recorded for "Doctor Who" since 1988. Looking back on the music of "Doctor Who" it's impossible not to think of this lovely anthem.