Composer Geoffrey Burgon, who has died at the age of 69, was certainly responsible for two of Doctor Who’s most atmospheric scores in Terror of the Zygons and The Seeds of Doom.
They’re two particularly haunting stories, and the former is a genuinely spooky affair until the Skarasen turns up at Millbank in the last episode.
That’s in no small part due to Burgon’s excellent score, boasting a detectable Scots influence in Zygons and making use of unlikely instruments such as clavichord, while mournful, discordant flutes, reedy cello and viola and stark harp plucks are deftly employed in both scores.
The pairing of Douggie Camfield as director and Burgon as composer is a winning one – and largely due to some unspecified feud between Camfield and regular composer Dudley Simpson – and it’s (presumably) a happy accident that both of the their stories lend themselves to such expressive direction and music.
It’s also worth noting that Tom is on top form in both stories, at his most alien and occasionally frightening as The Doctor. Add in iconic scenes like Keeler’s metamorphosis in Seeds of Doom; and the hunt for the injured Zygon and Harry menacing Sarah in the barn in the second and the stories are quite unforgettable.
Burgon’s music is a big part of that and, as if to underline that fact, I actually had a snippet from the Terror of the Zygons score in my head today.
I doubt Burgon himself would have credited it that, 35 years on, someone would be casually humming one of his tunes. That’s the power of great music.