Prom 3: Doctor Who … Two

“In its 50th-anniversary year, Doctor Who returns to the Proms with a spectacular concert featuring Murray Gold’s music for the series, plus pieces by Bach, Bizet and Debussy, and a special performance of one of the most iconic theme tunes in television history. Performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Ben Foster, the Prom includes a host of alien friends and foes plus a very special appearance by Matt Smith.” [BBC Proms website]

Matt Smith (The Doctor – 011)
Jenna Coleman (Clara)
Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra)
Dan Starkey (Strax)
Peter Davison (The Doctor – 005)
Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman, The Doctor’s granddaughter & first companion)
Daleks, Judoon, Ice Warrior, The Silence, The Vigil of Akhaten, Cybermen, Oods, Whispermen, Vampire Girls, Silurians (including Masked Warriors) and Weeping Angel

Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano) & Allan Clayton (tenor)
Kerry Ingram (singer)

London Philharmonic Choir

BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Ben Foster

Reviewed by: Henry Bisset [15 years old]

Reviewed: 14 July, 2013
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London

Doctor Who Prom 2013 [Prom 2]. Photograph: BBC/Chris ChristodoulouEven before we had left the tube station to walk to the Royal Albert Hall, I began to hear people talking about the upcoming event with great anticipation and excitement. As we approached the great building, I saw more tweed jackets, bow-ties, Tom Baker scarves, and fezzes, than I’ve seen in a long time. After we collected the tickets and programme, well produced by Gemma Doyle in the shape of the TARDIS with an opening front to reveal the console, we made our way to our seats and watched the screens as the spotlights and cameras picked out a variety of Doctor Who fanatics, including one man who tried to stop every monster that entered the pit.

Then the house-lights when down and the Orchestra came out and tuned, along with conductor Ben Foster, Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra) and Dan Starkey (Strax), who co-presented the morning very well. The event started with a short specially filmed sequence in which Matt Smith’s Doctor and Jenna Coleman’s Clara get into the Royal Albert Hall by using a ticket which allows them to swap places with two other people already in the event, and they materialise not in the audience but in place of a pianist and a cellist. After Matt’s humorous intro and the revealing of the sonic baton, Foster was left to conduct “The Mad Man with a Box” by Murray Gold, the composer of most of the current Doctor Who music.

Doctor Who Prom 2013 [Prom 2]. Photograph: BBC/Chris ChristodoulouThe arrival of Peter Davison and the very first companion, Carole Ann Ford, halfway added a notable 50th-anniversary dimension. It was nice to see a past Doctor from, as he put it himself, the “classic” times, as it all started 35 years before I was born. For the last generation and even the generation before, I imagine that it brought back fond memories of hiding behind the sofa. The music was a good mix of Gold and classical, which was mostly accompanied by video, either extracts, or compilations from classic and modern episodes, shown on screens situated around the Hall. As well as these pieces, there were also two pieces written by the “Create a Soundtrack” competition winners, which were written as accompaniments to an excerpt from the Christmas special, “The Snowmen”.

The event climaxed with a moving and emotional summary of the Companions of the last seven series, and some older ones as well. Finally all those who have been Doctor Who, eleven actors in total, were introduced – to the original theme tune performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales and two members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. In fifty years, we’ve come a long way from a door-key on piano strings, which was the inspiration of the Tardis’s appearing and disappearing noise.

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