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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ thing of the day: ‘Doctor Who’ at the Proms was awesome, apparently

Once again, Doctor Who invaded the Proms, the annual celebration of classical music at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Michael Hann in the Guardian sighs his way somewhat exasperatedly through his report:

One has to feel a little sorry for the musicians at Prom 10 – the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Ben Foster and Grant Llewellyn, and the London Philharmonic Choir, plus solo singers Mark Chambers and Yamit Mamo. For everyone in the Albert Hall knew they were the supporting cast to the stars of Doctor Who, who introduced each piece, and the monsters, who appeared during many of them.

Gold’s themes, of course, are written as accompaniment, so no disservice was done them by having 5,000 or so people craning towards the screens, rather than gazing at the conductor, and the gasps of excitement as Silurians, Judoon, Cybermen and the Vampires of Venice patrolled among the prommers made plain that the main attraction of the evening was not the music, but the chance to feel part of an adored televisual institution.

Clemency Burton-Hill in The Independent sounds a little more fanboy:

While the queues for Sunday morning’s Doctor Who Prom snaked, as usual, past the Royal Albert Hall, once inside it was clear that this was no ordinary Prom audience. There were tweed jackets and velvet bowties galore, and the arena was filled with children clutching cardboard cut-outs of Daleks and pointing at the Tardis, which had somehow landed on stage next to the old bust of Henry Wood.

Then again, this was no ordinary Prom. Presented by the fabulous Karen Gillan (who plays Amy Pond), and Matt Smith, whose thrilling entrance as the Doctor caused wild excitement in the hall, the concert featured the music of the show’s resident composer, Murray Gold, alongside time- and space-themed classical pieces, including Gustav Holst’s “Mars” from The Planets and John Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine.

Photographic evidence!

Look at the looks on the faces of those kids in the bottom left:

Pure worship. Is Matt Smith saying something to them that is making the two women on the far right laugh like that? (I assume video of this will show up on a box set at some point… maybe even on the first Matt Smith set due in November. And then we’ll know.)

Look how snazzy Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill look in their dress-up clothes!

Doctor Who at the Proms always makes me think of that famous Beatles lyric: “And now we now how many nerds it takes to fill the Albert Hall.”

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)



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  • Vanessa

    Doctor Who at the Proms always makes me think of that famous Beatles lyric: “And now we now how many nerds it takes to fill the Albert Hall.”

    Priceless–I did a double spit-take on that one!!!

  • Joanne

    The little blond boy was the “volunteer” picked out of the audience to help the Doctor defuse the bomb-thing he’s holding. The sketch was hilariously funny, principally because the little boy was so very stunned by his encounter that he pretty much just stood and stared the whole time.

    My own slightly spoilery review (if you want to go in unspoiled into the BBC3 showing later this year) is here at my LJ.

  • Lisa

    It was really funny because the 2 kids they got to do it, in the evening and the morning performances, took it really seriously.

    Matt and Arthur looked foiiiiiiiiine. Loved Arthur’s Ten-esque white trainers with his suit – brilliant! They both looked so handsome.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2010/whatson/notes/prom10/

    programme notes

    Lots of photos, downloadable proms here

    http://lifetheuniverseandcombom.blogspot.com/search?q=proms

    Petrarch Trelawney (trying saying that when you’re drunk) did the commentary on BBC Radio 3 and said that it will be on tv next month – I thought they’d wait til Christmas.

  • Here’s a video of the Matt Smith sketch, cobbled together from other sources:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYmj5rNY390

    That’s from Saturday night. I was there on Sunday morning and camcorded the whole thing, though I haven’t put any of it on YouTube (yet).

    I attended the 2008 Prom too and seem to be in a minority of one in thinking that this one was a pale imitation of it. That Prom drew on four years of well-loved Murray Gold tunes; this one was mostly devoted to the Matt Smith era which, to my mind, features far fewer memorable themes.

    I also remember revelling in the ‘Who family feel’ of an event that brought presenters Freema Agyeman, Catherine Tate, Camille Coduri and Noel Clarke together with thousands of fans (mostly families) in a celebration of the show and its music.

    I feel a lot of warmth for Martha, Donna, Jackie and Mickey (not to mention Rose, Wilf, Jack et al) and last week’s event brought home to me how little I care about Amy and Rory in comparison. I kept harking back to Russell T Davies’s mastery of characterisation and emotion, and had to admit reluctantly that the coldness and clever-clever plotting of the Moffat era isn’t pushing my buttons in the same way, much as I love Matt Smith’s Doctor. So I left that Albert Hall feeling slightly unhappy. Oh well.

    I should stress that all of the above is me being a jaded, overanalytical, fortysomething fan and that I wasn’t the target audience for this. By contrast the kids around me seemed enchanted from start to finish.

  • Lisa

    I didn’t go to the previous one. This was my first time and my first proms so I was really excited.

    From seeing the other one on tv and listening to it live, I thought it was much more successful. The Ten sketch was much better than the 11 sketch.

    I think they fell down when they put so much focus on 11 as there’s not enough music and not enough memorable tunes as you mentioned above. Correct me if I’m wrong but it seemed shorter for the above reason.

    They did play Song of freedom, Vale Decem and my favourite, favourite Murray Gold tune, This is Gallifrey, so I was happy.

    During the This is Gallirey/Vale Decem bit, they did this amazing 11 doctor montage that segued into Tennant dying and regenerating into 11. It was really moving and emotional. McCoy and Colin Baker got big cheers. Hardly anyone cheered for McGann. I was thrilled that Tennant got the biggest and most sustained applause though. That was Saturday night so you missed that, as they did not show it again on the Sunday. There was a a nasty rumour going around that it was because they wanted to re-record it on the Sunday because Tennant got such a big response. Or it might be a copyright issue.

    I had a great time though.

  • Lisa
  • The show was the same length as the 2008 one and yes, there were no classic Doctors shown at last Sunday’s performance. (I got very confused when I firat read about that segment online.)

    Nice HD video of Smith’s routine at the Sunday show:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6az7F0SYOw

  • Lisa

    Yeah I know

    I went twice

  • Barb

    I listened to it on the iPlayer and that was enough for me for the time being (though I hunt for the 11 Doctors segment). If all goes well, maybe we will see this on the Christmas 2010 episode release as an extra as a previous time (at least it was included in the R2 version previously.

  • Eleven Doctors segment

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Craj4d5G3-I

    God I love YouTube.

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