Three members of our SCIFFLe group travelled to London on 23rd May 2015, to see the ‘Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular’ at Wembley’s SSE Arena.
The show was a spectacular celebration not only of Doctor Who, but of the music of Murray Gold. Ben Foster conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Chorus of Wales, and they were joined on stage by soloist Elin Manahan Thomas. The concert’s presenter Peter (Fifth Doctor) Davison linked the orchestral pieces together with dry wit and sly humour, much of it inspired by the World War II bomb that had been found near the Arena a few days before, and which had delayed the technical set-up and rehearsal.
There was no hint of any hitches in the performance though. The music was accompanied by video clips on the big screens that hung behind the orchestra, and clever use of lighting around the arena and next to the orchestra’s chairs matched the action on screen. ‘Live’ monsters appeared on stage and among the audience, while other, earlier monsters were shown on screen together with the Doctors (from William Hartnell to Matt Smith) who fought them.
It was wonderful stuff, and we would happily have sat through several more hours of it; but all too soon the last piece listed on the official programme had been played and the concert had officially ended.
But they still hadn’t played the best-known tune of all, so it was no surprise that there was more to come. Encouraged by Peter Davison, who pulled the Fifth Doctor’s coat from the on-stage TARDIS to loan to the conductor, the orchestra were ‘persuaded’ to play the piece that Davison introduced as “the most iconic theme tune ever”. With accompanying video sequences again covering every era of the programme, it was a stirring note to end on.
We had a long journey home after our adventure in time and space, but all agreed our fabulous afternoon had been well worth the trip.