Seasons change; people change; TV shows change. Or at least Doctor Who changes. Of the many, many things that are new for the upcoming eleventh season--new Doctor, new companions, new showrunner, new length of episodes, new release schedule--one of the things we knew would also be changing is the music. Since 2005 when the series was brought back to life, we've had exactly one composer, Murray Gold. His music was fairly fluid, changing depending on the Doctor and circumstances, but it's always come from one mind. Now the BBC have announced Gold's replacement: rising star Segun Akinola.
Akinola already has 23 film and television scores under his belt, and garnered many accolades for his work on the 2016 television documentary series Black and British: A Forgotten History. He was chosen as part of the BAFTA Breakthrough Brit program in 2017, and he was interviewed about that honor in the video below.
Of Akinola, showrunner Chris Chibnall said in a statement:
"Welcome to the Doctor Who family, Segun Akinola! We’re over the moon Segun's agreed to join us, to provide the score for the next phase of the Doctor Who adventure. From our very first conversations, it was obvious Segun was a passionate, collaborative and delightful human being as well as a fantastic and bold composer. We’re looking forward to introducing the world to his exciting and emotional soundtracks for the Thirteenth Doctor."
Akinola himself is over the moon (space joke) to be joining Doctor Who, saying in the same press release:
"Doctor Who is woven into the fabric of British culture and recognized globally. I am absolutely thrilled to be given the privilege of working on such a beloved series and to bring my musical voice to it."
Now we don't have a lot of access to Akinola's music, but there are a few tracks he contributed to the soundtrack to the 2014 documentary 1 Way Up: The Story of Peckham BMX I was able to find. Both of them nod toward the moody and spacey, which we can agree is exactly what you want from a Doctor Who composer.
Murray Gold gave Doctor Who fandom the themes for four different full-time Doctors plus the War Doctor, and legitimately shifted approach whenever necessary. Segun Akinola has some big shoes to fill, certainly, but it seems Chibnall was especially drawn to the emotion Akinola brings to his compositions. I for one can't wait to hear both Akinola's version of the theme music and what he brings to the incidental episodic scores.
Doctor Who series 11 is set to premiere sometime in the fall.
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor and the resident Whovian for Nerdist. Follow him on Twitter!