BBC Four to debut Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes
James R | On 12, May 2021
Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes is heading to BBC Four this weekend, as the channel acquires the rights to the docudrama.
The film, which is produced by Anti Worlds and directed by Caroline Catz, had its world premiere at the London Film Festival in 2022.
It explores the life and creative output of Coventry born-Delia Derbyshire – electronic musician, sound pioneer and female outsider in postwar Britain. From 1962 until 1973, she worked at the BBC’s Radiophonic workshop, where she created the iconic Doctor Who theme tune, which remained uncredited in her lifetime.
Delia Derbyshire introduced avant-garde electronic sound to a whole generation through the medium of a family teatime TV show. Sound was both a refuge for Delia and a haunting manifestation of something darker. Delia was three years old during the Coventry blitz listening to the electronic sounds of the air-raid sirens against a backdrop of her devastated hometown.
Delia’s story is told through two archives: the first, a collection of lost works, 267 reels of quarter-inch magnetic tape recordings of Delia’s work found in her attic after her death, the other, her school books, paintings and keepsakes, discovered gives us an insight into her inner life, which is presented alongside her technical and creative genius, and her professional career in the face of the gender power politics of her age.
The result is a playful, psychedelic mixtape of archive material, interview with collaborators and dramatisations – featuring Catz as Delia – that takes us inside the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
“This ambitious, fascinating portrait of the Radiophonic legend is an aptly experimental piece,” we wrote in our review.
The film airs on BBC Four at 9pm on Sunday 16th May, and will be available on BBC iPlayer for a year after broadcast.
Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes is available on BBC iPlayer from 9pm on Sunday 16th May 2021.