IMDb > The Alchemists of Sound (2003) (TV)

The Alchemists of Sound (2003) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


User Rating:
8.1/10   61 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Up 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for The Alchemists of Sound on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 October 2003 (UK) See more »
A documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, responsible for creating some of the most memorable television and radio music in British popular culture, including "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Doctor Who" (1963). | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Helps if you remember the sounds but it is done with sufficient fun to make it an entertaining watch even if you only have a passing awareness of the subject See more (1 total) »


  (in credits order)
Oliver Postgate ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Roger Limb ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer 1972-95
Mark Ayres ... Himself - Associate Radiophonic Composer / Archivist (as Mark Ayers)

Brian Hodgson ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer 1962-72 / Organiser 1977-95
Desmond Briscoe ... Himself - Founder Member and Head of Radiophonic Workshop, 1958-83
Maddalena Fagandini ... Herself - Radiophonic Composer 1959-66

Dick Mills ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer 1958-93
Adrian Utley ... Himself - Composer / Performer
David Cain ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer 1967-73
Delia Derbyshire ... Herself - Radiophonic Composer 1962-73 (archive footage)
Malcolm Clarke ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer 1969-95
Peter Kember ... Himself - Composer / Performer
John Baker ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer (archive footage)
Milton Babbitt ... Himself - Electronic Composer (archive footage)
Huw Wheldon ... Himself - Interviewer (archive footage)

Robert Popper ... Himself

Peter Serafinowicz ... Himself
Wendy Carlos ... Himself - Synthesiser Composer (archive footage) (as Walter Carlos)

Peter Howell ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer 1974-97
Paddy Kingsland ... Himself - Radiophonic Composer 1970-81
Elizabeth Parker ... Herself - Radiophonic Composer (archive footage)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Frazer Hines ... Jamie McCrimmon (archive footage) (uncredited)

Peter Jones ... The Book (voice) (archive footage) (uncredited)

Wendy Padbury ... Zoe Heriot (archive footage) (uncredited)

Patrick Troughton ... The Doctor (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Roger Pomphrey 
Produced by
Victor Lewis-Smith .... executive producer
Ned Parker .... assistant producer
Graham Pass .... executive producer
John Warburton .... producer
Cinematography by
Oli Hallowes (photography)
James Saligari (photography) (as James Saligeri)
Production Management
Virginia Duff .... production manager
Sound Department
Richard Ashley .... dubbing mixer
Matthew Johns .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Andy Clifford .... lighting
Ken Morse .... camera operator: rostrum camera
Jules Senior .... lighting
Steve Smith .... lighting
John Whickman .... lighting
Editorial Department
Quinton Smith .... on-line editor
Music Department
Dave Stewart .... composer: title music
Other crew
Mark Ayres .... programme consultant
Rory Clark .... archive
Kevin Davies .... archive (as Kevin Jon Davies)
Dave Jeffrey .... archive
Paul Sparks .... production executive
Tom Weller .... researcher
Frank Xerox .... title designer
Desmond Briscoe .... thanks
Pete Bulley .... thanks
David Cain .... thanks
Malcolm Clarke .... thanks
Maddalena Fagandini .... thanks
Mike Farrar .... thanks
Barbara Gaskin .... thanks
Brian Hodgson .... thanks
Peter Howell .... thanks
Peter Kember .... thanks
Paddy Kingsland .... thanks
Roger Limb .... thanks
Dick Mills .... thanks
Elizabeth Parker .... thanks
Robert Popper .... thanks
Peter Serafinowicz .... thanks
Adrian Utley .... thanks

DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

58 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

In many shots there is a clock which shows the time as 19:58. This represents the year in which the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was founded (1958).See more »
[after the Radiophonic Workshop closed, Mark Ayres was made curator of the tapes]
Oliver Postgate - Narrator:One day, he learned to his horror that all the tapes recorded after 1983 had simply been thrown away.
Mark Ayres:So I hit the roof, and then spent a couple of weeks opening every door in Maida Vale and saying "Where would these tapes have gone? What was the process by which these tapes were skipped?" And they said "Well, we get a guy in. He'd move the tapes out and then he'd order the skip." "Where would he put the tapes before they were moved out?" "Oh...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Time BeatSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Helps if you remember the sounds but it is done with sufficient fun to make it an entertaining watch even if you only have a passing awareness of the subject, 24 February 2007
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

In 1958 the BBC set up the Radiophonic Workshop in order to come up with a new type of sound for use in scores and special effects. Between this creation and its gradual death in 1995, the group came up electronic scores and noises that were used in cult classics such as Doctor Who, Blake's Seven, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as well as countless other programmes that have been forgotten with time.

Executive produced by Victor Lewis-Smith, this documentary was always going to have a sense of humour about it and indeed it does. In some ways it doesn't work (having a bloke hanging around behind every interview didn't work at all) but mostly it is helpful to the material that it isn't too serious or full of itself. This approach makes it easier to swallow as it is much more light entertainment with a documentary edge rather than the other way round. This was useful to me because really I'm only just in the target audience and I only remember a couple of the cult themes and the shows that the music was used on. Thus it didn't totally work for me because if you didn't totally recognise everything then some of it will have no meaning for you.

The history of people playing with tape and so on is not that fascinating if you think about so to the credit of the film it does do a good job of making it quite interesting and engaging. The contributions and use of archive footage is all good and well put together though. Of course it does help if you remember the sounds and the times because if not the film may be of limited appeal but it is done with sufficient fun to make it an entertaining watch even if you only have a passing awareness of the subject.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (1 total) »


Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits IMDb Documentary section
IMDb UK section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.