The Aural Environment - Ambient Noise in Doctor Who

Hmmm, possibly an odd topic but I was rewatching “The Abominable Snowmen” last night and was struck by the absence of ambient music and, by way of contrast, the audible presence of environmental noise. The sounds of the wind really bring home the environment to me, even via the animation. I’ve been to the location where this story was filmed in Snowdonia (or Eryri as it is now known) and just listening to that sound… it really makes the location feel tangible to me. There aren’t many Doctor Who stories where music plays second fiddle to ambient noise, but it can be effective where used well.

Another that springs to mind for me is “Image of the Fendahl”. Whilst there is music in this story, it’s much more muted and sparsely used. Instead of environmental noise, in “Image” it is the regular sound of the time scanner that permeates and really helps to build the atmosphere.

Any other stories where ambient (non musical) sound really comes to the fore and adds to the story?


Moved this to the television thread, as it’s really televised stories I’m thinking of here. Also, still learning my way around how this forum works.



Ah… aolian tones. Yes, such a haunting and beautiful sequence. Although music was such an integral part of “The Devil’s Chord”, they really played with sound. I still maintain, possibly the best use of the sonic I have yet seen. Stunning.