Doctor Who Series 4 is the series where Catherine Tate plays the regular companion Donna Noble. The character had made an appearance in the Christmas Special "The Runaway Bride" showing great chemistry with David Tennant's Doctor and this series was her return to the programme. Through the course of the series the character evolved from a loud comedy role, to a sympathetic companion with a surprising amount of depth. "A Noble Girl About Town" is the comedy music from the first story "Partners in Crime" where Donna is looking for the Doctor and they keep missing each other, whereas "Life Among the Star" shows her grandfather Wilf's longing for something more in the sky. After the action music of "Corridors and Fire Escape" we move to ancient Pompeii, where "The Sybilline Sisterhood" are portrayed with mysterious ethnic vocals.
"Songs of Captivity and Freedom" highlights Gold's increasing use of vocal tracks on Doctor Who, here sung by Mark Chambers. It is one of many moving tracks on the album, and here we learn the tragedy of the Ood as they sing their hearts out - first sadly and then joyously nearer the end of the track. We then have two contrasting action tracks both connected to the military. From the two-part Sontaran story "Unit Rocks" is a short rock version of a theme previously connected with the military task force Unit, whereas "The Doctor's Daughter" is an initially darker track using some synth elements and later blending hints of the Doctor's theme just as his DNA is blended into his offspring. "The Source" is another moving track with a bittersweet flavour, from the conclusion of "The Doctor's Daughter" where "The Source" is released to transform the Planet. "The Unicorn and the Wasp" is the Agatha Christie story which plays like a traditional who-done-it and Murray Gold scores this in an appropriate manner with touches of period setting (using some sax like the Poirot theme), lots of mystery, twists and turns, false clues and some frights. Then track 11 is a grandiose version of the "Doctor Theme".
Although broadcast first the 10-minute Suite from the Christmas Special "Voyage of the Damned" takes pride of place in the middle of the album. This is the story starring Kylie Minogue which borrowed shamelessly from "The Titanic" and "The Poseidon Adventure", with its Christmas theme including robots styled as angels. Murray Gold's music is big in a Hollywood way, with lots of fun, lots of action, moments of tenderness and even some dancing. Several tracks come from the two-parter Silence in the Library penned by the new series boss Steven Moffat. "The Girl with no Name" is a gentle but mysterious waltz for the little girl, while "The Song of Song" is for the mysterious River Song. "All in the Mind" is a simple folk-like melody written for the computer-controlled dream world but not used, and "Silence in the Library" shimmers in a dream world - Gold explains that it was decided to keep the ending of the story enigmatic - Professor Song is dead but her soul lives in a machine. "The Greatest Story Ever Told" again uses quasi-religious choral elements and is used in a number of episodes. According to Murray Gold's accompanying notes the track represents the Doctor's past love interest - River Song.
"Midnight" was quite an unusual and very claustrophobic episode, and Murray's music effortlessly brings out the paranoia of the craft's passengers. "Turn Left" is very atmospheric for the Donna-centred story about the twists and turns of time and causality, and it brings back a haunting version of the "Rose" theme. "A Dazzling End" is an infectious anthem which starts with a simple beat and electric guitar for Donna's key role in restoring the Universe. The remaining tracks are from the final two-parter where all the Doctor's companions come together to save the universe from the Daleks, but this track appears to come from later in the story where Donna needs to forget her life with the Doctor - very much a poignant moment completing a trio of tracks which carry Donna's story-arc. "Davros" is effects-driven, non-melodic (perhaps even demonic) music. Then the highly effective dark chorus for "the Dark and Endless Dalek Night" where the Daleks have stolen the Earth and other planets for their dastardly plan. The sleevenotes tell us that some material from "A Pressing Need to Save the World" were first used in Torchwood, which seems quite fitting really since several characters associated with Torchwood play a role in this story. Then after the short and manic "Hanging on the Tablaphone", the album is rounded off with a new triumphant version of "Song of Freedom" (first heard in the earlier Ood story).
Doctor Who Series 4 was extremely varied in tone and had some great moments, with Murray Gold's music enhancing those moments to perfection. The Series 4 CD album is available from: Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.