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Aliens of London (tx: 16/04/05)

In Fiction: a spaceship has crash-landed in London. It’s official: there is life outside of planet Earth, and we have made contact. It’s a big day. So dah’n at the Brandon estate the residents are havin’ a party and playing David Bowie. “Welcome to our world!”

In Fact: this was added in at the editing stage – there is no specific mention of it in the script. It’s a great choice, though: David Bowie played an alien in the seminal science-fiction movie ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ (1976), and wrote many sci-fi inspired tracks under his Ziggy Stardust persona – including Life on Mars and Space Oddity – that are regularly used in film and television soundtracks. What better way to welcome an alien invasion?

Starman – David Bowie

Cuts: 1’04” is heard quietly in the background, 14 minutes into the episode, playing inside one of the Brandon flats as the Doctor hands Rose the TARDIS key. As the Doctor walks away (and sees the “welcome” banners), a thumping drum beat is heard coming from another of the flats; this appears to be either stock music or something provided by Murray Gold; and as Mickey emerges from his own flat we hear his television playing a news bulletin theme: this also seems to have been taken from either stock or written specially.

Releases (select releases): released as a 7” single in April 1972 (RCA 2199), the first single from ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ LP (MFSL 1-064) released June 1972. The single made it to number 10 in the UK charts. It was included on many Bowie greatest hits releases, and assorted pop compilations.

Availability (select releases): readily available on the CD reissue of ‘The Rise and Fall…’ (EMI 5219000), released September 1999, and various Bowie, 1970s and sci-fi compilations.