Sci-Fi Storm

“Doctor in Distress”, a 1985 high-energy pop fundraiser song for Doctor Who

by on May.21, 2012, under Television

I honestly only learned of this just now – back in 1985, when Doctor Who was struggling and was going through an extended hiatus and possible cancellation during Colin Baker’s run, unofficial adviser to the production Ian Levine had a wonderful, brilliant idea (or at least he thought so at the time…afterwards, not so much…) – in the style of Band Aid/USA for Africa, create a song and music video that would serve as a battle cry for fans, but also at the same time raise funds for cancer research.

He got some celebrities, in the form of current Doctor Who stars Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, along with guest stars Anthony Ainley (The Master) and Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart). He got some singing talent, mostly middle-level British pop stars, but with a few recognizable names among them, including Justin Hayward and John Lodge of the Moody Blues and Warren Cann from Ultravox. Levine and composer Fiachra Trench (who together did the music for the spinoff K9 and Company) co-wrote and co-produced the song, a high energy synthpop song.

The results were a disaster.

When the single was released it was panned by just about everyone, and the BBC refused to play it on the radio. Levine later said it almost ruined him. But since the Internet will never let such things die, it has a cult status similar to that of the Star Wars Holiday Special…and you can see the results below.


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