Live concerts of Doctor Who music have become something of a tradition. Most lately, the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular has been touring the UK and Australia. Before that, Doctor Who at the Proms was a bit of a regular thing. But first of all of them was Doctor Who: A Celebration for Children in Need.
Doctor Who: A Celebration
The celebration took place at Cardiff’s gorgeous Millennium Center:
Performed in November 2006, and hosted by the Tenth Doctor himself, it included music from Series 1 and 2 with a sneak peek at ‘The Runaway Bride.’ A ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ of the production and performance – titled ‘Music and Monsters’ – shares a DVD with ‘The Runaway Bride,’ at least as part of ‘The Complete David Tennant Years’ collection.
I wish I had seen the concert in person, but I adore the behind the scenes material included on the DVD. I love hearing Julie Gardner talk about the work that went into it. I love Murray Gold talking about the heart behind ‘Doomsday.’ I love Nick Briggs’ worry about going on unscripted – and the ad lib that has since become a tradition. It’s a wonderful piece of video, and remains my favorite of all that I have seen.
Doctor Who at the Proms
The BBC Proms are an annual concert series held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. There have been three Doctor Who Proms, in 2008, 2010, and 2013.The first, hosted by Freema Agyeman, may be found, cut down and with ‘Confidential’-style background material, sharing a DVD with ‘The Next Doctor.’ The second, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, and Rory, is included with ‘A Christmas Carol.’
The 2013 Prom made up part of the year-long 50th Anniversary celebration. Hosted by Madame Vastra and Strax, it also featured the Doctor, Clara, Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, original companion Carole Ann Ford, and music from the classic series, played on synthesizer and reel-to-reel. It is supposedly included in the 50th Anniversary Collection DVD box set. We listened to this one live on BBC Radio, and it was a treat. Several members of the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra were able to attend in person; not only did they experience a wonderful live concert of music they loved, but a few got to meet Murray Gold himself, and Ben Foster reportedly joined the group at a pub after the show.
The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular is a new concert series, very much in keeping with both the original Celebration and the Proms. It’s currently touring Australia and the UK. Parts may be found on YouTube, though there is no mention yet of DVD inclusion. Peter Davison hosts. I would love a chance to see it in the US – or the UK, for that matter – but for now I’ll have to enjoy it vicariously through the web.
As these concerts and the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra demonstrate, music is a major component of New Who. More than that, the original theme from 1963 remains one of the most memorable TV themes of all time. Music gives heart to film and television, as much as writing and acting do. Doctor Who is no exception.