The BBC Dr Who Prom
McGain, Natasha, Musical Opinion
Our special reviewers Natasha McGain and Saffron aged 3 ¾ check out the . . .
Ask any Dr Who fan to describe their favourite character or scene from the current series and no doubt the task will be easy. But ask them to describe their favourite piece of music from the show? I would guess that most would be unable.
When offered the chance to review the BBC Dr Who Prom on Sunday 27 July, and as a Dr Who fan, I was dubious as to what I would recognise musically, let alone enjoy on it's own merit. However, the BBC Prom opened a whole new world for me and a new appreciation for the dedication, hard work and pure talent of the composers and musicians who are behind the atmosphere and dramatic tension in each Dr Who episode.
To add to my own dramatic tension, I decided to bring my young daughter Saffron to the Prom. A dedicated Dr Who fan herself at the tender age of 3 ¾, she was an unknown quantity at an event such as this - hence the possibility of some drama of our own!
The Royal Albert Hall was dressed and suitably atmospheric for the occasion, sporting searchlights, copious amounts of smoke and, of course, theTardis in attendance. Before it had commenced we had already encountered the first of the many Dr Who creatures that we would meet during the Prom. The strange creature, humanesque with tentacles in place of a mouth and sporting a white globe light, the 'Ood', slave to future mankind, made it's way around the auditorium, much to the delight of my young companion, who at first squeaking with fear, then announced loudly that "it's ok Mummy - it's only a man in a suit!" Relieved that we had passed the first hurdle of any potential problems combining such an event with a three-year old I was able to relax.
The show began and much use was made of the staircases and "pit" to allow for the various Dr Who creatures to enter, perform and exit, adding always to the tension or drama created by the music.
Freema Agyeman, who plays the character Martha Jones, one of the Doctor's lovely companions, made an enthusiastic and warm host, providing information about the various works as they were introduced. Other presenters included characters from the series, Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri and a surprise visit by Catherine Tate, comedienne and as Donna Noble the Doctors most recent lady friend.
The wonderful BBC Philharmonic Orchestra played music predominantly written by Murray Gold - thirteen out of a total of 18 works. Gold has composed music for Dr Who since March 2005, bringing themes and motifs to many of the characters. Much of his music for the Prom elaborated these themes, such as The Daleks and Davros, Rose, Martha and the Master and All the strange, strange creatures with their associated characters often accompanying them. A particular personal favourite and real showstopper being the Daleks and Davros music which heralded the arrival of a 'real' Dalek onto the stage and the fearsome Davros, leader of the Daleks, who rose from the floor at the centre of the Hall. Davros announced the piece as being 'Dalek music', designed to bring death and destruction and the audience were informed that the conductor had been 'persuaded' to conduct only Dalek music from now on. …