Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Delia Derbyshire

On New Year's eve, I managed to catch the transmission on Radio 4 of an Afternoon Play called BLUE VEILS AND GOLDEN SANDS. The subject was Delia Derbyshire, one of the pioneers of Radiophonic Music through her work for the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop. The play was first transmitted in December 2002. The play by Martyn Wade, covers her latter years, with flashbacks to points in her life when she felt she was achieving something. The play was very well done, and Sophie Thompson as Delia painted a very convincing picture of someone who only wanted to be recognised for what she had done. It took a 'Doctor Who Fan' by the name of Peter Kember (who played himself in the play) to 'find' her after many years living as a recluse, and to allow her to realise that her music and creativity was recognised and had inspired a generation of musicians. The play was both sad and, from my experience, fairly typical of many of the stars of the BBC from the 50s and 60s - the backroom boys and girls who gained no recognition for their work, but who brought us images and sounds which many still remember to this day. Among the many archive clips used, was the Doctor Who theme (of course) but also sections from a collage of voices against 'The Delian Mode' music which was very disturbing indeed, and other excerpts from her work through the years. If the play is repeated again, then it's worth trying to catch, as for once the Doctor Who connection is handled as the element which gave Delia back her dignity and made her realise she was a true inspiration to people before her death on 3rd July 2001. There's lots more about Delia at http://www.delia-derbyshire.org/