In the autumn of 2010, we watched the Doctor Who Proms televised, having been completely unaware that such a thing existed. It was actually the second Doctor Who Prom, the first being in 2008.
In every Spring since (2011, 2012 & 2013), I’ve checked the Proms listing as soon as it was released, in case there was another one. I didn’t think there would be in 2011, as there had been two years between the first two. I had some hope in 2012 but again nothing. We did try to get to a Horrible Histories prom though and learnt a valuable lesson – five minutes after the Prom booking opens is still far too late to get tickets to a free Prom!
This year, I just knew there had to be a Doctor Who Prom. It’s the fiftieth anniversary year and three years since the last one. There had to be… Despite having (still) never been to a Prom in my life I was looking at the Prom program as soon as it was released in April.
Not one, but two Doctor Who Proms! A Saturday night and a Sunday morning. I hate making decisions so took a while working out the pros and cons of which one to go to, and worrying about whether one would be ‘better’ than the other, but in the end the flat £12 ticket cost for the Sunday Prom, and the fact that we could take both children without worrying about how exhausted they’d be at 10pm in London won out.
On the morning the Proms booking opened, I was online over an hour early checking that I could log in and knew how to book. I’d entered a ‘Proms plan’ with the seat selection we’d spent hours agonising over (all the seats were the same price – do you go for the usually most expensive boxes, or the stalls where it was more likely that the monsters would be walking near based on previous Prom?!)
I was there the instant booking opened, and still ended up 136th in the queue, panicking. It then took seven and a half minutes to book. Stress, stress, stress… Except it turned out, most people ended up thousands in the queue and waited well over an hour, and even then didn’t get tickets. Both Doctor Who Proms sold out within two hours.
So after nearly three years waiting, and making sure we definitely got tickets, yesterday was Prom day. It was amazing. I was going to write about the day, but Mr Chaos took the pictures and some video and already blogged them so if you’re interested, off you go… 😉
MG and DG had a great time too, not just their parents and godfather! DG loved the Daleks best, and MG loved the Whisper Men. Their rapt faces on seeing the ‘real life’ monsters and Matt Smith in person, plus the reaction to a live orchestra was wonderful. I’m so glad we got to take them. They’ve both watched Doctor Who since before they were born, like their mother 😉
I was worried whether the Saturday evening performance would be ‘better’ than the Sunday one, because it was full price and in the evening, but my fears were unfounded. Obviously I wasn’t at the Saturday one to actually compare but I have listened to (some of) the radio version on iPlayer, and here are my comparisons:
There was no difference in cast members. Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Peter Davison, Carole-Anne Ford, Neve McIntosh, Dan Starkey and Nicholas Briggs were all at both performances. Murray Gold was in the audience for both too.
Listening to the scripted parts, I prefer the Sunday version as there seemed to be more ad-libbing.
Example one: Peter Davidson’s script said “You can call me double oh five” which is what he said on Saturday (listening to radio) but on Sunday he said “You can call me number five. Father in law to ten. Grandfather to number fifteen or sixteen according to my daughter…”
Example two: In the ‘fight’ between Ben Foster and the Daleks, the Dalek says “What is that thing in your hands?” and listening to the radio version, it played straight. However on Sunday, Ben Foster forgot his ‘sonic baton’ so at that point had to run back to the middle of the stage and get it, then later when the Dalek was berating him for overacting, Nicholas Briggs added “This is our bit!” (you can see the video of this here)
Personally, I think the Sunday was better. Because we were there! But also there seemed to be more unscripted moments compared to listening to Saturday’s. However, Neve McIntosh seemed to stumble over her lines more on the Sunday compared to listening to Saturdays. She must have been sweltering in all that make-up, and I dread to imagine how little sleep she (and Dan Starkey) got between the performances if it was taken off after 10pm and had to be back on by 10am!
Other than Nicholas Briggs’ wonderful ad-libbing, the star of the show was Dan Starkey as Strax. He was wonderful, interacting with audience members and being utterly hilarious. From listening to Saturday’s he may have been doing something amusing in the background, that he didn’t on Sunday, when Neve McIntosh was introducing the Weeping Angels music, listening to the laughter!
Sunday’s was probably more family friendly due to the timing but had a wide range of ages. It was lovely how both Tom Baker and Patrick Troughton got the biggest cheers when they appeared on screen. I don’t know whether the televised version will only use the Saturday performance or edit the two together but we’ll see in the autumn!
Last, but not least, the musicians, choir, soloists, conductor and radiophonics were perfection. It was an amazing experience.