Doctor Who At The Proms 2013 - Review

Doctor Who Prom Matt Smith Jenna Coleman

rating: 4

In what is fast becoming a regular fixture in the BBC's schedule of events (well, every couple of years at least), the Royal Albert Hall was filled with fezes, Sonic Screwdrivers, and more aliens than you could shake a stick at for the third Doctor Who Prom, which was recorded in early July and broadcast yesterday on BBC1. Like the two previous Doctor Who Proms, this is a very Murray Gold-centric concert given that he has been Doctor Who's composer since 2005 with a specific focus on the Eleventh Doctor and music from Series 7 episodes including I Am The Doctor, The Impossible Girl, and a beautiful rendition of the climactic song from recent episode The Rings Of Akhaten performed by child actress Kerry Ingram and tenor Allan Clayton. But, as this year's Prom is also celebrating Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary, it gives a few minutes over to paying tribute to the Classic Series' incidental music as well. Doctor Who Prom Mark Ayres Peter Howell Radiophonic Workshop composers Mark Ayres and Peter Howell head up the prom's Classic Series music, leading the BBC orchestra in performing a medley of scores by various Doctor Who composers including the Cybermen Theme from the late 1960s and the music from the Fourth Doctor's Regeneration in the 1981 story Logopolis. It's a great selection of music from all three decades of Classic Who and is a fitting recognition of the earlier seasons' incidental music, which is largely overlooked. The Prom also features brief appearances from Fifth Doctor Peter Davison and Carole Anne Ford, who played the Doctor's granddaughter Susan Foreman at the series' beginning in 1963, introducing different performances. Which is another good way of incorporating the wider history of Doctor Who into the Prom. Doctor Who Prom Vastra Strax In addition to the music, the Prom also features a pre-recorded specially written scene featuring the Doctor and Clara that syncs up with Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman appearing live and in character at the Prom itself, which is an amusing breather from the music. Neve McIntosh and Dan Starkey also appear as Madame Vastra and Commander Strax, introducing some of the performances and as themselves in some behind the scenes footage showing the process of their prosthetics being applied. And of course, as is traditional for the Doctor Who Prom, during some of the music we get aliens from the programme 'invading' the Royal Albert Hall and interacting with the audience including Cybermen, Silents, and Skaldak the Ice Warrior. Doctor Who Prom Ben Foster Dalek Despite the "Aliens invade the Albert Hall" thing being the same as always but with slightly different aliens, this now staple of the Doctor Who Prom still managed to feature some more original moments including conductor Ben Foster sparring with Dalek using a sonic conductor's baton and being accused of overacting. Which was a fun little moment that stopped the Dalek invasion of the Albert Hall being an uninspired rehash of the last time we saw it. This year's Doctor Who Prom is nothing spectacular or revolutionary and it's a shame that the broadcast version was shortened considerably (including the removal of the specially written piece Song For 50) but it's still a fun watch. Murray Gold's music is as stirring as ever and the specially written moments are mildly entertaining if a little forced at times. Excellent Bank Holiday entertainment.
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JG Moore is a writer and filmmaker from the south of England. He also works as an editor and VFX artist, and has a BA in Media Production from the University Of Winchester.