The Delian Mode – New Delia Derbyshire Documentary

The Delian Mode is a short experimental documentary revolving around the life and work of electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, best known for her groundbreaking arrangement of the Doctor Who theme music.

The film is described as “a collage of sound and image created in the spirit of Derbyshire’s unique approach to audio creation and manipulation.”

The Delian Mode features interviews with Brian Hodgson and Dick Mills of the now defunct BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the founder of Electronic Music Studios Peter Zinovieff, musicians Peter Kember (Sonic Boom), Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ann Shenton (Add N to X) as well as other friends and colleagues of Delia.

You can view the preview, above, or the film via the embed below:


Mark Ayres
Ayres has been composing music for film and television since 1984 and is best known for his work on the most recent Doctor Who programs. He has been responsible for cataloguing, restoring and archiving the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop since its closure in 1998.

Clive Blackburn
Blackburn met Delia in 1980 and became her life partner until her death in 2001.

Brian Hodgson
Hodgson was employed at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop at the same time as Derbyshire and later became the department’s organizer. He and Delia collaborated on several projects outside the BBC and maintained a life-long friendship.

Peter Kember
Kember is a musician who has worked under the names Spectrum, Sonic Boom and E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research). As a result of Kember contacting Derbyshire in the early 1990’s he encouraged her return to music and was one of the last people to collaborate with Delia creatively.

Dick Mills
One of the first staff of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Mills worked there for 40 years creating sound effects for radio and television. He assisted Delia in the realization of the Doctor Who theme.

Ann Shenton
Part of the now defunct London based electronic band Add N to (X), Shenton currently performs music with the group Large Number. Shenton curates a compilation CD series entitled The Electronic Bible which included the collaborative piece by Derbyshire and Kember recorded in 2000.

Alan Sutcliffe
Sutcliffe is one of the founding members of the Computer Arts Society, established to promote the creative use of computers and met Delia at a music conference in the 1960s.

Adrian Utley
Ultey is a revered artist in the music world and one of the driving forces behind the popular band Portishead.

David Vorhaus
Vorhaus became Derbyshire’s protégé after hearing her lecture on electronic music. The two, along with Brian Hodgson formed the first incarnation of the band White Noise in 1969. The band’s first release was the groundbreaking album An Electric Storm featuring a variety of tape manipulation techniques and use of the VCS3 synthesizer developed by EMS.

Peter Zinovieff
Founder of the company EMS (Electronic Music Studios), Zinovieff is a musician and inventor. EMS was at the forefront of using the first computer technology for musical applications and was responsible for the creation of early synthesizers like the VCS3 used by the Radiophonic Workshop and many musical acts including Pink Floyd. Zinovieff briefly collaborated with Brian Hodgson and Delia under the name Unit Delta Plus.


25 minutes


  • Written and directed by
    Kara Blake
  • Producers
    Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre & Kara Blake
  • Camera
    Philippe Blanchard & Kara Blake
  • Camera assistant
    Mike Rollo
  • Sound
    Lynne Trépanier & Simon Gervais
  • Music
    Delia Derbyshire
  • Music supervisor
    Julie Blake/Third Side Music
  • Sound supervisor
    Hugo Brochu
  • Sound studio
    Bande à Parte
  • Editing & compositing
    Kara Blake
  • Dialogue editor
    Marie-Ève Livernoche
  • Sound mixer
    Luc Léger
  • Sound technician
    Daniel Trépanier
  • Additional sound engineering
    Alec Dippie (Spider Cat Records)
  • Research assistance
    Elizabeth Klinck & Monica Penner
  • Production manager
    Stacey DeWolfe
  • Animation
    Brigitte Archambault
  • Graphic design
    Dan Popa
  • Model
    Nicki Horsley
  • Radio voice
    John Cavanagh
  • Props master
    Olga Goreas
  • Production accountant
    Manon Quintal
  • Legal advisor
    Stéphane Moraille
  • Catering
    Emily Keenlyside
  • Production assistants
    Malcolm Fraser, Becky Blake, Gordon Allen, Krista Muir

via Quentin Rogers on the Synthtopia Facebook fan page

Leave a Reply