Murray Gold

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol [Original Soundtrack]

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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson

With the quality of television's longest-running science fiction show declining, seemingly, with every episode that passed beneath the leaden purview of producer Steven Moffat, hopes for the 2010 Christmas special were scarcely sky high. Neither did the episode itself disappoint; as its title suggests, A Christmas Carol was a revision of the old Dickensian stocking-filler, with added spaceships, cryogenic chambers, and, of course, flying fish. But the days when such features might portend a madcap romp through time, space, and a notebook filled with favorite Douglas Adams inventions were over. For Who is thoughtful now. It is romantic. It is even heartbreaking, in the most hamfistedly manipulative way imaginable, and you can almost hear Murray Gold's soundtrack groan despairingly as it realizes that, once again, it will be filed beneath sugary lachrymosity, no matter how hard he tries to avoid it. Which, to be truthful, is not too hard. Gone are the days when Gold's themes were as stirring as the adventures they accompanied, and story and soundtrack ran hand in hand toward their respective apogees. Across A Christmas Carol, they simply lurch, unsubtly signposting one another's next clunking shift, with Gold's trademark strings, choirs, and celestial seasonings shaking off even the suggestion that they have any greater aim than to get to the end of the story without confessing they lost interest at the start. As, sadly, will you, should you sit down to listen.