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Daleks are in control

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Proms 2010

BBC Now/Doctor Who

Every summer, the Proms transform the Albert Hall into a musical Tardis. Audiences become time travellers, roaming back and forth across the centuries, and if not all the music is great, a mixed diet of great and not-so-great is no bad thing.

Which brings us to the second Doctor Who Prom (the first was in 2008). Doctor Who has been good box-office since time immemorial, and plenty of stops had been pulled out to make this a special occasion. The programme booklet was Dalek-shaped, and a Dalek gave the order to turn off mobile phones, on pain of ex-ter-min-ation. The Tardis itself sat beside the bust of Henry Wood, the Proms' founder, and sundry star turns, including the latest Doctor, Matt Smith, made guest appearances. Karen Gillan, who plays his assistant, did most of the introductions, relying on a very visible autocue to remind her and us, repeatedly, that we were hearing the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

The series' long lineage notwithstanding, this was a celebration of the present. It took the form of an hour's worth of Doctor Who music, composed by Murray Gold, orchestrated and conducted by Ben Foster, and including as its climax an underpowered reworking of the original theme. If by and large it was generic film music, pumping and thumping emotively, the fans were in no mood to complain.

There were plenty of kids, but also plenty of non-kids: Doctor Who is a trans-generational thing. Attention focussed primarily, not on the orchestra, but on a dozen screens showing action-packed Doctor Who clips, including one sequence that assembled the Doctor's every incarnation. Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker got a warm welcome, but the loudest cheers were for David Tennant.

Disappointingly, there was no visual accompaniment for the programme's non-Who pieces, conducted by Grant Llewellyn. We got Mars from Gustav Holst's The Planets and a fragment of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, its influence on Murray Gold plain to hear, but Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries sounded flimsy, while the Hampshire hoe-down of William Walton's Portsmouth Point Overture simply felt out of place.

In the event the music was not the main attraction. Nor, indeed, was Matt Smith, although his mischievous interplay with a young audience-member was amusing. The real stars were the aliens, monster and vampires who paraded menacingly among us. In future, no Prom will seem complete without its Judoons and Cybermen, Silurian warriors and Daleks.

bbc.co.uk/proms

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  • APA 6th ed.: Kimberley, Nick (2010-07-26). Daleks are in control. London Evening Standard .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Kimberley, Nick. "Daleks are in control." London Evening Standard [add city] 2010-07-26. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Kimberley, Nick. "Daleks are in control." London Evening Standard, edition, sec., 2010-07-26
  • Turabian: Kimberley, Nick. "Daleks are in control." London Evening Standard, 2010-07-26, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Daleks are in control | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Daleks_are_in_control | work=London Evening Standard | pages= | date=2010-07-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Daleks are in control | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Daleks_are_in_control | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 October 2019}}</ref>