Shire resident who composed the music for Doctor Who, Dudley Simpson, dies aged 95

Composer Dudley Simpson.
Composer Dudley Simpson.

The man who composed the music for the television series Doctor Who, Dudley Simpson has died aged 95.

Mr Simpson, who lived in the southern Sydney suburb of Sylvania, had a distinguished career as a composer and conductor in Australia and London.

He was principal conductor with the Royal Opera House orchestra, the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet.

He also composed the music for many British television series including the incidental music for more than 300 episodes of the the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who throughout the 1960s and 70s.

Other television shows he worked on included Blake’s 7,Oliver Twist and the Diary of Anne Frank.

He also composed two ballets, A Winter Play for Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and Ballet/Class for the Royal Ballet School as well as conducting many orchestras around the world including the Tokyo Philharmonic and the Tel Aviv Philharmonic.

Mr Simpson was born at East Malvern, Melbourne, on October 4, 1922. He showed an early interest in music and played piano at Melbourne Boys High School

He served in WWII and was injured when a truck he was driving carrying explosives was hit during a Japanese bombing raid.

His hand was badly injured and he recuperated by playing the piano.

After the war he studied composition and pianoforte at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

He performed in the orchestra at the Borovansky Ballet where he met ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyne in 1956 who suggested he move to England.

He became chief guest conductor at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 1960.

He was invited to write the music for the BBC television series Moonstrike and went on to write the incidental music for more than 300 episodes of Doctor Who between 1965 to 1979.

He returned to Australia in 1987 aged 65 where he settled in Sylvania and continued to compose classical music.

Mr Simpson is survived by his wife Jill, his three children, Karen, Alison and Matthew, and their families.

“He was a very modest man for someone who had an incredible talent,” his daughter, Alison Ioannou said.

“In his final days he was cared for by his loving wife and family.

“He was very popular and a lovely, loveable person.”

The Leader

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