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Centre for Screen Studies

The Delia Derbyshire Archive

The Centre for Screen Studies, in partnership with the NOVARS Research Centre for Electroacoustic Composition, Performance and Sound-Art, is delighted to announce the acquisition of the archive of the late Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001) as a permanent loan to the University of Manchester from the Derbyshire estate and the composer Mark Ayres, former custodian of the archive.

Delia Derbyshire was one of the pioneering figures in British electronic music, based at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.

Most famous for her iconic realisation of the original version of the Doctor Who theme in 1963, Derbyshire produced a remarkable and distinctive body of work that contributed considerably to the awareness of electronic music in Britain, combining the popular with the experimental across a wide range of media and contexts (including exhibitions, festivals, film, radio, television and theatre).

In all, the archive contains 267 tapes of music, principally on 10.5” reels. Many of the tapes are fragile and have not been played consistently for over forty years. Our core task was to make digital transfers of the tapes in order to conduct the repeated listening necessary for close analysis and, ultimately, open the archive to the wider research community and composition students.

This initial work was undertaken and completed by Louis Niebur of the University of Nevada and David Butler of the University of Manchester in the summer of 2007.

We hope to announce further developments related to the archive in the months ahead.

To view a slide presentation about the archive click here.

For further information about the archive please contact David Butler

Delia Derbyshire Archive

delia derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire