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You will visit this Diss exhibition - or face extermination!

08:16 22 February 2016

Basil Abbott from the museum is dressed as the first Dcotor, William Hartnell, and Tristan Burfield, project coordinator.

Basil Abbott from the museum is dressed as the first Dcotor, William Hartnell, and Tristan Burfield, project coordinator.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016

He was a composer who helped to bring to life the most evil and recognisable aliens in British television history.

Tristram Cary factfile

Tristram Cary was born in 1925 in Oxford and was the son of a pianist and the novelist, Joyce Cary, author of Mister Johnson.

He came to electronic music via his work in naval wartime radar.

His first electronic commission was for the 1955 radio play The Japanese Fishermen, about a fishing boat caught up in the hydrogen bomb tests. In the same year he made his breakthrough into films, with the score for The Ladykillers.

With his Doctor Who hat on he provided the music for the stories The Daleks, Marco Polo, The Rescue, The Dalek’s Master Plan, The Ark, The Gunfighters and The Power of the Daleks and The Mutants. He also wrote the score for the Hammer film Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb.

In early 1964 the daleks were revealed in their full menacing glory in Doctor Who as they threatened the Time Lord and his companions.

And the man who created the incidental music for that seminal moment in television history is to be celebrated in Diss.

The composer for the seven episodes of The Daleks was Tristram Cary, who wrote the score for the show at his home in Fressingfield, near Diss, and was a pioneer of synthesised music.

As well as the Doctor’s first encounter with his exterminating-loving foes, Mr Cary wrote the music for several other Doctor Who stories and also composed the music for the Alec Guinness Ealing comedy The Ladykillers and the movie version of Quatermass and the Pit, among others.

 Peter Purves with Nicholas Courtney, William Hartnell and Adrienne Hill in the Dr Who story The Dalek Masterplan
from the 1960s.


EADT 10/2/09 Peter Purves with Nicholas Courtney, William Hartnell and Adrienne Hill in the Dr Who story The Dalek Masterplan from the 1960s. (whobp) EADT 10/2/09

To celebrate the work of the composer, who died aged 82 in 2008, Diss Museum will, be exhibiting a display about the musician, including audio presentations, from March 12.

The museum has also arranged for a free concert of some his work to be performed in St Mary’s Church hall at 7.30pm on Saturday April 9, with a display there during the day.

Basil Abbott, museum manager and who interviewed Mr Cary as Diss-based journalist in 1970, said: “We wish to raise awareness of Cary’s work and give the composer a fitting tribute that he truly deserves.

“Cary is a national and local treasure and his music needs to be heard by fans of electronic music.”

The daleks's first full appearance was in 1964 since then they have invaded our screens many timesThe daleks's first full appearance was in 1964 since then they have invaded our screens many times

The display will feature a prototype VCS 3 synthesiser developed by the composer and used by bands including Pink Floyd and The Who.

The idea of the display came from music technology teacher Tristan Burfield, from Thelveton and who has organised the exhibition with the help of Mr Abbott and the composer’s son, John.

Mr Burfield said: “Tristram Cary is someone worth celebrating. He was a pioneer of electronic music.”

The Daleks saw The Doctor played by William Hartnell and another story scored by Mr Cary saw the same actor star with Peter Purves in the 12 episode classic The Daleks’ Master Plan.

As well as providing incidental scores for several of the first Doctor Who stories, Mr Cary also provided the scores for The Power of Daleks, which starred the second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton, and The Mutants story for the third Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee.

Are you organising an event to celebrate the life and work of someone in the world of arts? Email

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