Our new Delia Derbyshire 80th Birthday Electronic Music Heritage Project funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

We are very excited to announce we have been granted support by Heritage Lottery Fund for a special Delia Derbyshire 80th Birthday Electronic Music Heritage Project for 2017.

It would have been Delia’s 80th birthday on 5 May 2017. To mark the occasion, we have devised a programme of enjoyable engagement opportunities and public events to run from May 2017 to December 2017.

We are currently recruiting our project management team and will publish a press release in February once the team is in place.

Be back soon!


DD Day 2016 at HOME Manchester – Tickets on sale and funding in place

Tickets are now on sale for Delia Derbyshire Day 2016 at HOME in Manchester on Sunday 17 January.

Click here to BUY TICKETS for DD Day 2016 at HOME

Click here to book tickets for the family music making workshops

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DD Day 2016 at HOME event outline

Throughout her career, Delia had a close affinity with the visual arts, working on BBC projects about artists including Henry Moore, Francisco Goya and Eduardo Paolozzi, and collaborating with visual artists like Yoko Ono and Madelon Hooykaas.

DD Day 2016 showcases this interplay between music and the visual arts, and will screen two exciting new donations of experimental art films to the archive, for which Delia provided the music.

We will also present two new creative responses to the Delia Derbyshire Archive by artists Mary Stark (film/live art) and Mandy Wigby (music).

The event will include a Q&A with the artists and filmmakers exploring the relationship of music and visual arts and Delia’s work across these disciplines. During the day, there will also be hands on family workshops and pop-up improvised performances, including live music from Janet Wolstenholme.

You can click here to visit the DD Day 2016 page for more info about the films and performances.

                            Click here to BUY TICKETS for DD Day 2016 at HOME

We are overjoyed to announce that we have the funding in place to create another Delia Derbyshire Day. Thanks to support from The Granada Foundation, Arts Council England and the University of Manchester School of Arts, Languages and Cultures Impact Support Fund. We are also most grateful for partnership support from HOME.

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Delia Derbyshire Day 2014 – tickets now on sale!

DD Day 2014 IABF posterTo buy tickets for this event please visit the events page: Delia Derbyshire Day 2014 tickets from Skiddle

For tour dates in Hebden Bridge, London, Bristol and Norwich please go to DD Day 2014 tickets page

After the sell-out and general success of Delia Derbyshire Day 2013, Delia Darlings are pleased to announce DD Day 2014, a follow up event honouring the fascinating work and archive of Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001). Delia was a pioneering electronic music composer who worked for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and is most famous for realising the original Dr Who theme in 1963.

DD Day 2013 was the first of its kind. And due to continued demand and with the most valued support of the Delia Derbyshire Estate and Delia Derbyshire Archive at the University of Manchester, DD Day 2014 will take place at the Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester on Sat 12 April 2014.

DD Day 2014 image by Andrea Pazos

DD Day 2014 image by Andrea Pazos

Awarded funding from the Arts Council England, this project involves two new artist commissions, the DD Day 2014 event, England tour dates (London, Bristol, Hebden Bridge, Norwich and Oxford) and an education project.

Project Manager Caro C explains:

The success of DD Day 2013 far exceeded our expectations, demonstrating great interest in Delia’s work, her archive and support for our rather radical cross-genre programming. And this year sees a DD Day 2014 with a fresh format. We are excited to be able to present an audio visual collage of archive material, new music and visual art commissions and a short presentation by a Delian expert. We hope Delia would approve of us shaking things up and not just duplicating a successful event.

In the run up to the event we will be divulging information about the events we have coming up and introducing our new artists and programme. So follow us here on WordPress or connect on Twitter and Facebook as we launch ourselves into another delightful Delia D inspired series of events.


Delia Derbyshire Day 2014 – New Commissions 2014 Tour – Schools Workshops

With the approval of Delia Derbyshire estate and a successful funding bid from Arts Council England, we are very pleased to announce the second phase of the Delia Darlings project which builds on the success of Delia Derbyshire Day 2013 which took place in Manchester, UK plus a small tour of Northern cities.  We are delighted that we are commissioning a new piece from composer/musician Daniel Weaver and a new digital visual art work from new media artist Andrea Pazos.  Both new commissions will be created in response to the Delia Derbyshire archive in Manchester, UK.


In addition, we are developing an Education strand to our work. Pilot now complete and deemed successful, Caro C designed and delivered a 7 week course of workshops in 2 primary schools in Greater Manchester in partnership with One Education and John Rylands library. This included a free visit to John Rylands library and activities around the DD archive held there. Click here for more info and audio outcomes here. Further education plans afoot..

329211995_640We will present Delia Derbyshire Day 2014 at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester on Saturday 12 April 2014. This event will present the new commissions, developed existing commissions and an exciting new audio-visual collage of the DD archive by David Butler and Sarah Hill. Each performance will be introduced by the composer explaining how their piece is informed by the DD archive, increasing the sharing of archive material. The new commissions will expand our current programme of Delia Darlings commissions by Caro C and Ailís Ní Ríain.

1390583_10153397405030543_663248150_nIn the meantime…DD Day 2013 commissions by Caro C and Ailís Ní Ríain were invited to perform as part of a most enjoyable showcase event at the Bring to Light ‘adventurous music’ festival at New Library Birmingham organised by Capsule. We included an enthused Q&A session with Caro C and a screening of The Delian Mode by Kara Blake.

Further post DD Day 2014 tour dates will include LONDON, BRISTOL  and more to be confirmed and updated on On Tour page..

DD DAY 2013

Delia Derbyshire Day 2013 was the first of its kind – a day that celebrated and highlighted the fascinating work of Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001), the pioneering electronic music composer most famous for realising the original Dr Who theme and her work for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. It took place at Manchester’s music venue Band on the Wall. 2013 is the Dr Who 50th Anniversary and therefore of Delia Derbyshire’s realisation and arrangement of the iconic original theme and this event launched the celebrations. Amongst much regional and national press coverage, DD Day 2013 was featured on BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme..


DelianMode illus by Brigitte Archambault

Film Screening of ‘The Delia Mode’ by Kara Blake. A special screening of the award-winning documentary The Delian Mode with the Canadian film director Kara Blake present to introduce and discuss the work in person.


A panel discussion with esteemed Delia Derbyshire experts:

  • Mark Ayres (Composer and BBC Radiophonic Workshop archivist). Mark represents the Delia Derbyshire’s estate and was bequeathed her archive following her death before donating it to the University of Manchester.
  • David Butler (Senior Lecturer in Screen Studies, the University of Manchester). David helped bring the archives to the University of Manchester and is wealth of knowledge on Delia’s work.
  • James Percival is studying MA Musicology at University of Manchester and is focusing his dissertation on Delia Derbyshire’s Creative Process
  • Kara Blake is director of The Delian Mode and undertook extensive research and interviews about Delia and her life and work.

Archive Sharing & Listening Session with David Butler & Delia Darlings


The premiere of three newly commissioned works inspired by the work of Delia Derbyshire by a trio of Manchester based new music artists Caro C, Naomi Kashiwagi and Ailís Ní Ríain who are the producers behind this unique venture as Delia Darlings.  Delia Darlings are a female trio of Manchester based artists working in music and sound paying sonic homage to Delia Derbyshire having spent time by special arrangement  with her archives at the University of Manchester and John Rylands Library in Manchester.

DDDay CC 3 PSCaro C performing her new work Audient, My dear
with live visual accompaniment courtesy of Kara Blake

NK PS 6Naomi Kashiwagi performing her new work The Blues (Gramophonica Remix)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrendan Ball & Heather Bird performing Ailís Ní Ríain’s new work The Consequences of Falling

Delia Derbyshire Day Poster

An abundance of thanks again to our funding supporters: Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation and Quebec Arts Council.

DD Logo group



Delia Darlings: Celebrating the Life and Work of Delia Derbyshire at Manchester Art Gallery

Thursday 14th March, 6 to 8pm, Free, booking advisable- book here

As part of ‘Wonder Women | Suffragette Manchester‘, there will be a special Delia Darlings event at Manchester Art Gallery on Thursday 14th March, 6-8pm (free, booking advised). There will be live performances and we will be sharing our insights into the life and work of Delia Derbyshire. Here’s the schedule for the evening:

6.10pm – Introduction to event and documentary by Caro C and Naomi Kashiwagi

6.15pm- 6.40pm – The Delian Mode documentary by Kara Blake

6.50pm – Naomi Kashiwagi’s performance, including an introduction

7.30pm – Caro C’s performance, including an introduction.

‘Delia Darlings: Celebrating the Life and Work of Delia Derbyshire’ is part of Wonder Women: Radical Manchester inspired by a shock moment in April 1913, when three ordinary Edwardian women turned vigilante, surprising guards at Manchester Art Gallery, smashing glass and causing a commotion in the fight for universal suffrage.

Exactly 100 years later artists and organisations across the city have come together in a short season of events, 3rd March – 4th April, to reflect on its impact. A milestone on the way to 2018 and the centenary of the first Act of Parliament for women, Wonder Women is a distinctive Manchester voice questioning the power of women today. Join in and be heard.

Radical DD


If you missed Caro C’s appearance on CBBC’s Dick & Dom: Absolute Genius: Derbyshire, you can catch it on BBC iPlayer until 3rd April 2013!


delia_derbyshire-1Delia Derbyshire Day 2013 will be the first of its kind and we ALL like firsts. But this is an important one as Delia Derbyshire is an icon of electronic music and should be celebrated as such. That is exactly why Delia Darlings are presenting a Delia Derbyshire Mini-symposium at 3pm on Saturday 12th January 2013 at Band on the Wall, Manchester.  We intend to celebrate and highlight the fascinating work and important work of Delia Derbyshire through a series of talks, films, discussions and listening sessions with a panel of esteemed guests being central to the proceedings on Delia Derbyshire Day at Band on the Wall in Manchester on 12 JAN 2013.

The panel will be hosted by Cath Aubergine a well known Manchester based reviewer and feature writer for music websites including Manchester Music, Louder than War and Incendiary. She first came across the name Delia Derbyshire courtesy of Peter Kember, but had in fact been listening to her music for a lot longer than that without knowing who was behind it. A Dr Who obsessed child, Cath used to borrow music from the library that was credited only to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop not to Derbyshire individually. “We had all grown up listening to the analogue oscillators, filtered white noise and processed found sounds of The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Many of these incredible sounds had been created by a woman who had refused to let gender stereotypes keep her from what she wanted to do.”

Kara Blake – Canadian Filmmaker


We are thrilled that Kara Blake will be joining us. Kara is a Canadian filmmaker who made The Delian Mode the documentary about Delia which won the prestigious Genie Canadian cinema award in 2010 for best short documentary. An audio-visual homage, the film seeks to explore the life and work of Derbyshire in a spirit indicative of its subject matter and continues to generate new fans for this unique pioneer. We are grateful to the Quebec Arts Council for supporting Kara to come to Manchester to take part in our symposium. We will present a rare screening of The Delian Mode and Kara will take part in our panel discussions.

David Butler – Guardian of the Delia Derbyshire Archive at Manchester University

whoc Alongside his job as Senior Lecturer in Screen Studies at the University of Manchester David has been working on a long-term project on the life and work of Delia Derbyshire. He helped to bring her archive to Manchester and oversaw the digitisation of the tapes, which was carried out principally by Louis Niebur. Most of his work on the archive since then has been research focused on cataloguing and identification, cross-referencing the holdings in Delia’s archive with other related archives around the country as there were (and still are) plenty of missing details and questions about the contents of the archive.

“Beyond Delia’s astonishing realisation of the Doctor Who theme tune, the first time I became absolutely spellbound by her work and consciously aware that she was responsible for the music was when I got the cassette ‘Doctor Who: Earthshock – Classic Music from The BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Volume 1’ and heard ‘Blue Veils and Golden Sands’ – officially, the piece lasted just under three and a half minutes but it felt so much longer and simultaneously no time at all – I was lost in that piece and its shimmering, melancholic beauty, its liquid depths and sense of something beyond a distant horizon.”

Mark Ayres Composer and BBC Radiophonic Workshop archivist

_44597139_radio_lamp512Mark represents the Delia Derbyshire estate and was bequeathed her archive following her death before donating it to the University of Manchester. He is a television composer who is best known for his work on Doctor Who. He was also involved in the last days of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, cataloguing and archiving their recordings for future use. As part of the BBC’s unofficial Doctor Who Restoration Team, Ayres has also done much of the audio restoration work for the later VHS Doctor Who releases, as well as many of the DVD releases, and all of the “Missing Soundtrack” CD releases since 1999.

Teresa Winter is currently undertaking a PHD at the University of York, specifically researching Delia’s creative processes and her historical, artistic and cultural significance as a composer of electronic music in Britain.


“Derbyshire contributed an original talent for moulding electronic sounds into what many consider to be conventionally beautiful music, at a time when the sounds of technology were mostly conjured to purvey a sense of fear of the unknown, disturbance, or strangeness in popular culture, compounded by its use in sci-fi from the late 1950s. I am particularly interested in the mix of familiarity and strangeness that resulted from the pressures of having to make music for a large audience. Something new was created, even where the musical language itself didn’t radically depart from tradition. This is one of the reasons why she has become a cult heroine for many, and is often credited with helping to inspire a generation of musicians to create popular electronic music in the 1990s.”