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Examining Series 8’s New Title Sequence

Guest contributor Andrew Gledhill-Carr analyses the new title sequence.

series-8-title-sequence-clock

I’d like the first start out by congratulating Billy Hanshaw, a talented computer graphics designer who made this new title possible. If it wasn’t for his wonderful mind, we might well be stuck with series 7’s, quite frankly embarrassing entry to the list of Doctor Who title sequences.

To be honest, in my wait for Deep Breath, the thing I was most anticipating and dreading simultaneously were the changes to the titles. Would there be new ones (I prayed) at first, and how would they be different? I’ve spent a lot of time looking at other fan’s attempts to making title sequences over the years as I find it one of the most iconic and fascinating parts of the show. I’ll never forget the black and white camera feedback, the journey through stars in space, or the purple galaxy with the TARDIS at the centre, nor the ribbons of red and blue and the slow-motion show of the TARDIS changing course. Doctor Who title sequences are like no other. I eventually found my favourite fan-attempt a good eight months ago where I discovered Billy Hanshaw’s (Billydakiduk’s) wonderfully realized original concept, and I knew from that moment that HAD to be Peter’s title. What I didn’t know, was that it actually really was going to be.

series-8-title-sequence-cogsSo the new sequence, compared to its inspiration begins with a flurry of gold, Gallifreyian-themed cogs in a smoky, straight vortex. The sight is so bizarre what with the neon glows and dusty smoke, but is truly fun to watch. It has the right idea, that alien strangeness of Doctor Who, and it slightly emphasizes the aspects of time travel through the symbolism as gears of a clock. Immediately the sequence takes on a darker, more mysterious, more grungy demeanour and is all the better for it. The gears are beautifully rendered in 3D, more-so than the original sequence’s and that alleviates the first fear I had, that this new title would be a poor man’s attempt at Billy’s masterpiece.

series-8-title-sequence-tardisUnfortunately the credits for Peter and Jenna do not appear at the same interval as the original, which is a shame, but it does not lose much potency because of it. The sequence then opens up into a world of timey-wimey madness, as a literal hole appears in the blackness and we fly through into a M.C Escher-esque eternal clock face. This is my favourite part as the TARDIS glides by very elegantly against the never-ending silver clock, as opposed to its wobbly, all-over-the-place behaviour we have been used to. I can totally imagine Twelve piloting that TARDIS!

So far, so AMAZING! It follows the original source extremely closely. (I only find it unfortunate that the theme tune’s iconic “Oo-ee-oo” does not play during this part as I feel it accompanies the moment very well.)

series-8-title-sequence-colemanNow at this point I am just breath taken by the similarities and the differences, but the clock-vortex does something I wasn’t quite expecting. It unwinds! Gracefully like a ribbon in the most beautiful, Alice-in-Wonderland way. This is where it supersedes its source, providing a very interesting to watch experience. If the sequence wasn’t already Doctor Who enough here it might as well have the show’s title written on the clock. Absolute fun, nutty madness. And it gets better! Beyond and during the unwind we are treated to a tunnel of beautiful blue space clouds and…planets! Planets which whiz and wind their way around along an invisible path not unlike the winding clock, and by this point the new theme has really kicked in.

And finally the sequence comes to its final section by giving us a mixture of energy ribbons and the Gallifreyian neon symbols that we first encountered during the closing credits of The Day of the Doctor, giving us a final fly-by of the TARDIS (which is quite a bit better looking than series 7’s model.)

series-8-title-sequence-capaldi-eyesTo be honest, I feel like this sequence is a course-correction from series 7. It takes the idea of a multiple-section intro but does it much better, giving us four, well-defined, magically-alien parts as opposed to throwing every random thing in our face. And it works extremely well. The colours follow a theme of blue, silver, black and gold which bounce off each other marvellously. The whole thing is just a treat to watch. Better CGI and a better concept. The fact that at one point you have a winding clock face, speeding through space where planets are rotating around in a vortex-like fashion is genius because it shows both sides of the show’s adventure bounds. Space and time. An Adventure in Space and Time. That was after-all the original mantra.

series-8-title-sequence-logoNow the theme tune is a very welcome rendition. I was never enamoured by the changes that were made for series five, six and seven. They always felt rather weak to me, and the counter-melody at the beginning always spoiled the tune as it conveyed a very different mood to what it should’ve. (Fan-fairy and overly happy as opposed to mysterious and alien.) But this new theme feels like what should have come after series 4. I’ll admit it is not the best version we’ve ever had, but it’s a darn good attempt! The beginning, to accompany the clock and gear focus of the new titles, features a rather fun and positive but totally mad, clunky, clocky beat. It’s very catchy after a few watches and is a lot stronger than the background bass beat of the last two themes. But I think the highlight is the new “oo-ee-oo”s. They are so…unique! Different to every version that has come before it. They convey a sense of alien madness. Very much “The Doctor’s” theme here.

By far this is the most electronic theme we’ve been treated to in the revived series and amazingly, it all still feels fresh. I am however on the fence as to whether it suits the Twelfth Doctor. It is very whimsical and it really does have a sense of madness to it, both it and the titles. And to be honest, from Deep Breath, Twelve does seem rather like a grumpy, mad old scientist, something I did not quite expect.

The theme is slightly different during the closing credits, and works very well to end the episode, along with a straight vortex that is different to the opening titles but along the same lines (much like series 1-4’s!) The only thing missing is that elusive middle eight section, which I am still hopeful for a return. But I suppose getting the title and the Doctor actor I wanted for series eight is good enough. Can’t have it all! More than I expected though.

But overall I couldn’t really ask for anymore. A new theme and title that I feel are a significant improvement upon the last iteration, which was designed by the mind of a fellow Whovian. Moffat and Russell really were not joking; the show IS made by the fans now! In every respect! Fan title, fan writer, fan Doctor. And I have never felt like the show was in a safer place.

Step back in time...

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186 comments
Status: Stuck in the vortex
Status: Stuck in the vortex

Is it just me or is the part when the title 'Doctor Who' appears a homage to the Tom Baker/Peter Davison/Colin Baker titles?

Adric the Genius
Adric the Genius

That middle eight really needs to return to the closing credits.  It is perhaps my favourite section of the theme tune.  I was glad that it appeared in the 50th at least.

NeilColes
NeilColes

You've redecorated..... I don't like it.

thribs1
thribs1

The music is pretty bad.

Formerly EJB
Formerly EJB

The graphics are fine, but the timing between the music and the images seems off, like they were created without consideration of how they would fit together. 

Scootersfood has 66 Seconds to live...
Scootersfood has 66 Seconds to live...

In my opinion Series 7 Part 2 had the best intro, It was just plain awesome. When I first saw this one I didn't like it, but i'm quickly warming up to it!

Kevin 156
Kevin 156

After watching and listening half adozen times now even more convincd they are the worst out of all of them

Taz C
Taz C

I love the new title sequence, except the weird sandy clouds, but the theme will probably take me a while to warm to, like the series 5-7 one did. It's really high and the synth is just screechy and bad. Too much like the 80s ones, which I'm really not a fan of. (It's exactly the same key as Colin Baker's version, by the way - at least it's not as high as the McCoy era one). I do love the bassline on it, just the synthesiser part is awful to my ears.

Sneezed Regeneration
Sneezed Regeneration

I reckon the overall effect is not that bad but the bit with Peter's face (eyes that is) looks utterly home-made, like in one of the dozen fan-made title sequences on youtube. It just looks roughly superimposed. They did a far better job with Matt's face on series 7 part 2.



jamesanash101
jamesanash101

The more I re-watch the titles, the more I warm to them, the graphics are amazing, it just took me a while to adjust to a timey-wimey opening rather than spacey-wacey! My favourite theme is probably Series 4's, it really conveys the energy and excitement of the show, but Series 8's is quite good!


cyberbrayde
cyberbrayde

The  “oo-ee-oo”s are awesome people. It's mysterious, its pretty damn freaky I admit. God, they are freaky. It's interesting. I quite like "The Snowmens" oo-ee-oo's, I don't know why they changed it to Series 7 Part 2's. But now I'm and more than happy (and enthusiastic upon hearing it for the rest of the series) about that part. My only problem, the beggining. It's meant to open and prepare the titles, but I find it a little bit too out-of-bit. It's too slow and too fast at the same time. I think Billy said it was the winds of time. I think it should be a little bit slower, yet don't run straight into the clogs so fast as soon as its finished. Love everything else, I didn't notice how HD that face (eyebrows) of Capaldi would be in the titles too.



iMikeZero
iMikeZero

I hate the new title sequence. It sucks up until the TARDIS appears. I also dislike the new theme. 

Merganman4
Merganman4

While certainly unique, and I like the concept, I just don't feel these titles suit the show too well. They don't feel...official to me. I think the planets were pretty cheesy and the graphics could be improved upon. The new theme, as well, isn't the best in my opinion. I love the how it starts out, but once it reaches the doo-wee-ooo (which I find to be the most iconic + important part of the theme), it all goes downhill for me. Arranging the titles from best to worst, in my personal opinion (factoring in both visuals and theme):                                      


1. 1980-1984


2. 2005-2010

3. 2012-2013

4. 1963-1967

5. 2014-?

6. 1974-1980

7. 1970-1973

8. 2010-2012

9.1967-1969

10. 1987-1989

11. 1985-1986

12. 1996                                                                                                                                          









AnthonyJFuchs
AnthonyJFuchs

Does anyone know what font is used for Capaldi and Coleman's names?

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

The visuals in the titles are really good and interesting, far better than Series 7, but still feel a bit flat for some reason. Both these and the Series 7 titles don't feel very 3D if you get what I mean? Frankly Hanshaw's animation was better.

And let's be honest I think the good majority disagrees with the OP on the music, I personally like Smith's first music; a crossover with that and Howell's would be perfect. But the terrible screech is at the bottom of the title music for me among with Glynn and McCullogh (or however you pronounce it)

DrunkenDalek
DrunkenDalek

Am I the only one who really liked the old titles?........ Apart from the tea drinking wolf!

Doctordov
Doctordov

I think the new theme is kind of 'eh', not very good but I don't hate it. I liked the gears in the opening and the clock when it started to unwind, but when it wasnt unwinding and we just saw the TARDIS flying through a spiral of roman numerals.... I thought it looked kind of silly. but who knows, maybe the new intro will grow on me. 


fisher2112
fisher2112

I'm not sure what to make of the new titles, I think they're a great concept but very poorly realised.


The new theme tune on the other hand is quite possibly the worst version they've ever used, only bested by the Delaware version from Carnival of Monsters!

Goudypies
Goudypies

I like the titles, my one problem is the theme, it still feels too high pitch and noisy, what happened to the low-pitch, darker music we saw in 63?

DaftDalek is Kavinsky, the Great 80's Annihilator
DaftDalek is Kavinsky, the Great 80's Annihilator

I find the new title sequence awesome. I'm not so sure about the theme,though. Sometimes I love it,others not. However, I'm really glad the new theme is mainly electronic. I'm an electronic music listener (listening to some experimentital stuff, too, so I think it's a welcome change and a nice nod to the past. Still, nothing beats RTD era sequence & the original theme. Liked the 50 years trailer theme, too

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

Firstly, I don't see what's so embarrassing about Series 7 part 2's intro. It is for me, better than Series 5, 6 and 7 part 1's. I don't like the first part of the intro of Series 5 - 7's at all, as it has different notes to all other versions, which I think is unnecessarily different. And I don't like how Series 5, 6 and 7 part 1's have the cloud version of the time vortex, as that is.. well it's just not the time vortex.

Series 7 part 2's version however has a Sylvester Mccoy style opening, in that it's not the vortex at all (well I'm not sure what exactly Sylvester Mccoy's theme is based around). Secondly, Matt Smith's newer theme has the addition of other sound effects, making it more interesting.

You later, go on to say my point, about the beginning of the the theme tune of Series 5 to 7. However, I'm not sure how it comes across as 'Fan-fairy' or 'overly happy'. It's just different.

Then you say the new theme is stronger due to it's lack of base, which is actually one of the things I don't like about it. That makes it, for me, far less catchy. I'm sure I'll get used to it. But currently, that, plus it's a bit faster, which annoys me. The one other thing I don't like about it is, the ribbon-like blue lines at the end, along with the fact that there are so many different images portrayed in this theme, comes across a bit like when you play music on a computer program and it makes those lines, or shapes, differing, depending on the volume of the music (to give you something to look at on screen, as well as listen to).

Then you go on to say that the closing theme is slightly different. I'm not sure what it is about it but I liked the closing credits theme more for some reason.

What does 'middle eight' mean. I've looked it up, but it confuses me. Someone please explain.

Lastly, I really worry when people talk about how it's becoming a fan show. There's a difference between fans going on to work on the show, and fans at home, who contribute. I don't like the second there. Although it isn't a bad theme that's been created here, I'd prefer it if 'Doctor Who' remained in the hands of the Directors, Producers, Writers, Actors etc.








mrclever
mrclever

I preferred the title sequence from The Day of the Doctor and The Unearthly Child

Ivegotkidneys look for the bare necessities, the s
Ivegotkidneys look for the bare necessities, the s

Personally I prefer simple titles sequences such as the 2005 and 2010 time tunnels and Hartnel's one but this I like this one because a fan made and it does look far better and more proffessional than the rather cheap and messy 7B one although I have to be honest I don't really like Davisons, Bakers and Mccoys theme tune far too screechy for me so I don't really like this theme tune either

drjakeyoung
drjakeyoung

Anyone else noticed the end credits were not the usual scroll credits, they were the same as the 70's and 80's?!

Doctor When
Doctor When

Series 7 part 1 graphics were by far the worst. Does anyone else squint when watching them?

Series 7 part 2 were way to bright for me and had in my opinion the theme tune had a very drony feel to it.


LukeBarnes
LukeBarnes

Nope. My only gripe with deep breath so far (apart from, "you've decorated. I don't like it") is the opening sequence. I actually thought the openings of series seven part two were brilliant and far superior to both the one from series five upwards and these new ones. They look like they came straight out of Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" And don't get me started on the new theme tune. However the episode itself? Absolutely brilliant and a great start to series 8.

Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

I love the visuals probably more so than any other opening and have since I first saw them (when it reaches the wispy-blue vortex sequence, I really like the overlay of the clock gears and the Gallifreyan circles on the circular tunnel), and I love the theme, especially the bells, although it took me a little while to warm up to it. I wasn't a terribly huge fan of the original, though. I felt that it concerned itself too much with trying to assign a "symbol" to the series with the (outdated and no longer relevant) fob watch and Seal of Rassilon. The official make is a lot more streamlined.


Doctor When
Doctor When

I love the new theme tune its so exciting and spooky at the same time. My favourite one since the revival. I hope others start to like it more too.

Bushboy
Bushboy

I like the new graphics but not so keen on the theme arrangement. I'm hoping it will grow on me. I do wish we could have a sequence that focuses more on the build up and reveal of The Doctor's face like the old days.

Also what has happened to the cliffhanger scream at the beginning of the theme? Often it's inaudible. Even some of the weaker cliffhangers and pre tittles have been made so much more powerful just because of the scream. Please bring it back and most importantly make sure we can hear it!

Tichierichie
Tichierichie

Nope, I loved them. I do quite like these new ones now I'm getting used to them. For me, that seems to be the thing, I have to get used to it. Loved the episodes so far though.

CreativeWhovian
CreativeWhovian

I've got to say I really didn't like the old title sequence, it was way too over the top and really, really badly executed. I'm not going to go into it but I'm sure you've seen the FiveWhoFans argument? It's well worth watching if not. :)

Doctordov
Doctordov

@Ollie Walton Harrod If im right, the middle 8 is the part they usually only play at the credits (except for the 7th doctors theme) where the theme changes, watch credits of the RTD era or and of the doctor who themes from the eighties to see what people are talking about.

AlexanderofAlzarius
AlexanderofAlzarius

The middle eight is the bit in the middle of some versions of the theme music, often only in the closing credits, where the melody changes (I think it's short for the middle eight bars).

CaptainKipper
CaptainKipper

@Ollie Walton Harrod I really don't understand your comment about 'fans going on to work on the show' and 'fans at home who contribute'.  The guy was hired by the executive producers to work with the BBC Graphics team - so he did go on to work on the show in a professional capacity.  Its ridiculous to suggest that the show isn't in the hands of the producers, its still them making the decisions!

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@mrclever  'The Day of the Doctor''s use of a small section ofthe original intro was a really big let down for me. I was hoping for either a completely new one, or a mix up of all of them.



PaulFlint
PaulFlint

I agree with that, I thought the 2005 theme was the best

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

@Doctor When I agree. I would be interested to know if anyone actually likes the Series 7 Part 1 titles. They were so so tacky. They give me migraines. And as for the Part 2 titles, they make me want to become unborn. 

Merganman4
Merganman4

While it's true the theme was revamped, the visuals were practically the same, so for the sake of this list I have them as 1 title sequence :)


Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

Yes! The Howell scream was so damn exciting at the end of each episode.

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@CaptainKipper @Ollie Walton Harrod I heard he created a concept version, and sent it in to the BBC, or something like that, and they liked it.


When I say 'fans who go on to work on the show', I mean people like Russell T. Davies and Peter Capaldi, who were fans of 'Doctor Who' as a child, and then grew up to work at the BBC, making it.

By 'fans at home who contribute' I'm talking about the fans who think they know what's best for the programme, and so try and change/shape things despite having no experience.

Obviously the programme is in the hands of the BBC! I'm not saying otherwise! So there's no need to overreact and exclamation mark! I'm just saying I think it'd be best if fan contribution is limited.

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@Master Michael Moon @Doctor When Series 7 part 1's titles were an improvement, I thought. I thought the colour changing bits made it more interesting. And as for part 2's titles, I like them also. I'm not a fan of the cloud version of the time vortex.