This year two British institutions came together for the very first time, when a special Prom Concert in the Royal Albert Hall featured the music of Doctor Who. For this to happen in 2008 is perfect timing, because exactly 50 years ago the BBC started its Radiophonic Workshop which was to play a large part in bringing us the sounds and music of the original Doctor Who series which started 45 years ago in 1963. One of the groundbreaking jobs successfully undertaken by the early BBC Radiophonic Workshop was to create that very special sound of the original version of the Theme Music. The theme music was written by veteran television composer Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire of the Workshop literally pieced the music together using sounds recorded on magnetic tape. See our article on Electronic Music for more information.
When the new series of Doctor Who started recording in 2004, its producer Russell T Davies went to composer Murray Gold to develop the new sound for the series. Although there is still evidence of electronic sounds (created using much more sophisticated methods), Gold knew instinctively that the new series, with its bigger cinematic effects and greater emotional impact sometimes would require the full force of orchestral music - from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales since the show is recorded in Cardiff. Like the new series itself, the music has become a great success story, producing two CDs so far with music from Series 1 and 2 and from Series 3. Series 4 has just finished on television so who knows - there could be another album on the way! As well as these CDs, there has already been a concert dedicated to Doctor Who music at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. This concert was called "Doctor Who: A Celebration" and was one of the events taking place in aid of "Children in Need" in November 2006. There is a special feature on Disc 1 of the Series 3 complete DVD box-set called "Music and Monsters" about this concert including a number of tracks from the concert - available from Amazon.co.uk (region 2 UK) and from Amazon.com (region 1 US).
All the Classical Music in the programme for Prom 13 consisted of relatively short works with a strong Space or Fantasy element to stir the imaginations of a young family-friendly audience. The conductor for these works is Stephen Bell.
The Concert took place on Sunday 27th July 2008 at 11:00am in the Royal Albert Hall, featuring the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir. The show was presented by Freema Agyeman (who plays Martha Jones in the series) with appearances by Daleks, Cybermen and other aliens from around the Galaxy. There was also a specially filmed scene written by producer Russell T Davies and starring David Tennant as the Doctor. The pre-concert publicity included shots of the Tardis outside of the Royal Albert Hall, and Nigel Kennedy playing the Doctor Who theme music on an electric violin - you can see the video here on youtube but be warned, it is not the best version around!
Hope you managed to see an edited version of this concert (excluding the classical works) on BBC1 on New Year's Day (2009!), but if not the concert is also one of the special features on the DVD set called "Doctor Who The Complete Specials" - region 2 DVD set available in the UK from Amazon.co.uk and the Region 1 set in the US at Amazon.com.