Episode 1

Baton Camp

Featured Video

Eight famous amateurs, with a passion for classical music, do battle for the chance to conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra in front of a live audience of 30,000 at BBC Proms in the Park as part of the Last Night of the Proms. Actors Jane Asher and David Soul, drum and bass star Goldie, Blur bassist Alex James, broadcasters Katie Derham and Peter Snow, and comedians Sue Perkins and Bradley Walsh compete to be the Maestro.

In the first of six programmes the celebrity students go on a week-long ‘Baton Training Camp’ where they face an orchestra for the first time. On the final day they conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra in front of a panel of expert judges before the orchestra votes one of them out - for good.

Presenter Clive Anderson takes us on a fascinating, surprising and thrilling journey into the heart of music making.

More on this episode

Related Videos

  • Peter Snow's first attempt

    Peter conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra for the first time

  • Peter Snow with his mentor

    Peter learns some baton technique

  • Sue in concert

    Sue Perkins performs in the final concert at Baton Camp

  • Peter Snow in concert

    Peter Snow performs in the final concert at Baton Camp

  • Katie in concert

    Katie Derham performs in the final concert at Baton Camp

  • Jane in concert

    Jane Asher performs in the final concert at Baton Camp

  • Goldie in concert

    Goldie performs in the final concert at Baton Camp

  • David Soul in concert

    David Soul performs at the final Baton Camp concert

  • Bradley in concert

    Bradley Walsh performs at the final Baton Camp concert

  • Alex James in concert

    Alex James performs music by Bizet at the final Baton Camp concert

  • The judges

    The judges share their insights about the series

  • Rhythm

    The students take part in a rhythm workshop led by Tim Steiner

  • Body language

    The students take part in a body language workshop, led by Claire Glaskin.

  • Maestro TV Trail

    Trail for Maestro, shown on the First Night of the Proms

See more videos

Have your say

Thank you for all your contributions. The comments system is now closed but you can still read comments sent in by other people.


Caroline Robinson, Cambridge
What a joy and an education! Goldie was excellent, hope he can maintain it. Jane was also brilliant but just a bit scary looking when conducting! Thank you BBC, I look forward to the next episode.

Dr. Hans L. Schippers - Amstelveen - Holland
My dear BBC, It was with great pleasure I watched MAESTRO last Tuesday. Have not seen a better programme than this in many years! EXCELLENT. I feel very sorry we can not enter the website over here in Holland to see parts of it again… Is there a tape or CD rom available or do you think this programme will come on Dutch TV? IT IS MORE THAN WORTH IT!!! LOOK FORWARD AGAIN TO IT TONIGHT!

Kelvin, Bracknell
Having watched the first programme I am inthralled; it is a wonderful idea and a programme that I will watch again and again. Who would have thought that conducting could be so difficult. It all so gives a wonderfull insight into music. COME ON GOLDIE!

David Allen, London
As a keen amateur concert band player, I found the first episode riveting as well as highly entertaining. I found Peter Snow brilliant - but not as a conductor! What a great guy! It was the right decision for him to go; not sure who’ll go in Episode 2 but I’m rooting for my fave ladies, Katie and Jane! I think Jane Asher will win - if the women on the panel don’t jealously gang up on her!

Sally, Fleet, Hants
Great viewing, fab idea. Roll on next week, roll on Katie who attended the Cranleigh Choral rehearsal last week. Good luck to you all!

Sarah, Pershore
Pure Genius. John Snow is such a sport I haven’t laughed so much since Anton dragged Fiona Philips around the dance floor in Strictly Come Dancing.

Ann, Aylesbury
Thoroughly enjoyed programme. I admire these genuine celebrities who are prepared to take on this challenge and be publicly criticised as they learn a new skill. It’s an entertaining, absorbing and informative eye-opener which will make us all look more carefully, and hopefully with more understanding, at conductors in the future. The judges need to be more professional. Dominic’s sexist comments to Jane Asher and the female voice heard wishing to “wipe the smile off her face” as the credits rolled were offensive and inappropriate for a quality programme. I think they should have been edited out. Otherwise, a “must see” programme and congratulations to whoever thought of it and persuaded the famous faces to take part.

David, Glasgow
Maestro is bringing the skill of conducting to a wider audience which further helps to bridge the gap between popular and classical music. The programme producers should consider opening up the challenge to members of the public!

Dee Crepit, Holywell
At least the judging was done by perople who were experts and the final say was given to REAL musicians not some dumb section of the population who know nothing about music and who try to turn it into a popularity contest!

Trish, Sheffield
This is one of the most informative, enlightening and diverse programmes I have ever seen. I was completely bewitched by it and can only applaud all of the celebrities for their courage and enthusuiasm. I hope the series will be made into a DVD after the series ends. Well done BBC and everyone concerned - this is a real winner!

Matt, Brighton
Goldie to win. Pure natural intuition to music and it’s sensibilities. He got lost in the moment, where as the other competitors seemed to be lending some of their conciousness to the TV audience/programme etc… Ignore the stereotypes. He’s in touch with the truth of music.

Mark, Taunton
Simply fantastic. None of this “And the winner is…..” pause 5 minutes… “name”. A thoroughly entertaining programme. Great to get away from all the celebrity and see the work everyone is putting in. A thoroughly, thoroughly entertaining programme.

Gary Pownall, Abbey Wood, London
Absolutely fabulous! What an original idea. Who’d have thought a drum and bass dj, could do such a sterling job on Hall Of The Mountain King. Anyone who thought conducting was random, overblown arm-waving are going to have to think again after this… Marvellous!!

Paul, Belfast N.I.
Of course the orchestra leader could take the orchestra through a piece even if the conductor was incompetent, but they were obviously under strict instructions to follow these celeb conductors just as they would be with a professiona conductor who wanted to convey his interpretation of the piece, and that was what was most instructive about the program. If the orchestra doesn’t follow the conductor, with the benefit of previous rehearsal with him, we might as well listen to a CD where the interpretation will not change from performance to performance.

Charlezz, Hilversum, Netherlands
Absolutely Fabulous TV, the quality of this program is why I always watch BBC, instead of the 36 channels of #$% in the Netherlands. Can’t wait till the next episode and I hope this series will eventually be available on DVD. Very disappointing that outside of the UK, the video’s on this website cannot be watched. Fortunately there are ways to cheat…. ;-)

Alan - Portbury, Bristol
Superb job BBC. Real Celebs at last in a quality production. Thank You!

Colin Earl, Bolton, Lancs.
I was fascinated by the first episode of Maestro. I have always loved “classical” music as an amateur, but when I began to imitate the trainees in some of their exercises I began to realise how much more there was to conducting. Not just waving a stick about. I’m looking forward to the next episodes with great anticipation and I have already chosen two potential winners. Well done BBC in showing that “classical” music can be a lot of fun as well as hard work.

Darren Niman, MANCHESTER
I am an orchestral musician myself (Principal Timpani) and really enjoyed watching this. It shows there is far more to conducting than meets the eye. Body Language, facial expression, vision and direction, communication, leadership etc. I hope the BBC can continue and develop more programmes like this, and encourage widespread classical / orchestral music appreciation and involvement in performance. Loved the headbanging of the guitarist and must admit, the worst kind of conductor is one who does exactly the same thing with both arms non-stop. Best kind of conductor is one who gives a clear downbeat. Well done BBC, keep up the good work.

George Spiggott, Neasden
Brilliant first episode, it’s turning out to be one of the few programmes worth watching on TV at the moment. I was impressed with Sue but Goldie was a revelation! Already I want him to win

Dave, London
Can I have a go please…? :-)

I.W. - London
Does anybody know where the music used between roughly 1:26:30 and 1:27:30 is from?

Vicky, London
haven’t laughed so much in a long time. brilliant!

Margaret, Wisbech
What a brilliant programme. Just goes to show that it’s not as easy as it looks. More please!!!!

Framescourer, London
Really rather good. I was surprised. Dusts off the original appeal of reality television: as a largely non-interventionist document of something actually happening. I hope you can keep it that way!

Sheri, Skegness
Such joy. I could have watched all evening. I haven’t a musical bone in my body but was carried along with the fun and good humour.

Jane, Yorkshire
Something different. Very enjoyable with humour as well. It was interesting right from the start. Roll on next week.

vicki, London
I absolutely loved Peter Snow’s conducting! Hilarious. I wasn’t expecting to like this programme. Sure, it’s more reality TV, but they have really entertaining people on it. In response to David from Whixley - I’m sure the orchestra could play it with their eyes shut, but it was interesting to see what they did when they followed the conducting. Quite amazing how they did, I thought.

Fran Co Ttrone
It will be interesting to see how the competition between Jane Asher and Goldie goes!! loved the look of “SURPRISE” on Jane’s face when Goldie did so well, roll on next week!

Ange and Russ, Leeds.
I agree with all the remarks.It is a nice change to see a BBC show like this,but with a difference.Sad to see Peter Snow go out,did not realise he was Jon Snow’s cousin! looking fotrward to next week.

Kevin, Worcester
Really inspirational and I’m on the edge of my seat. Can’t wait for the next session.

GDB, Leeds
the best reality show……….ever, I thought I was going to die with laughter at Peter Snow’s performance, what a good sport he is!!

Thelma & Peter from Beverley, East Yorkshire
The best of its kind; witty, entertaining, and delightful to watch. More! More! More!

Denis Mitchell, Lowestoft
As a musician I cannot see what the programme hopes to achieve. To stand in front of an orchestra and conduct you must have credibilty, you would need to be an accomplished musician at least equal to the standard of the players. It takes a great deal of experience. You would also need to have an understanding of what or why the music the composer intended in the first place if you are going to inject any emotion, feeling or drama into your performance. Regarding the performers, not one of them was in control, they were just waving their arms about in time to the music. The judges were mostly patronising, I can understand their reticence in being critical if they had been honest they would have torn them to shreds. One last point, during the programme the book on conducting was dumped, experienced conductors may have their individual methods and styles, but I am sure that they all had to be competent in the basics when they were learning. I always say ‘If you want to break rules you have to know what they are first.’

Dan Z, London
I still don’t quite get it - if I was a violin player, how would I play differently depending on the conductor? OK, the speed I would play at might be different, but how would I play differently depending on his body language? Shouldn’t I be playing with emotion anyway, and following the dynamics in the score?

Richard Cornaby, Swindon
Thoroughly enjoyed it. My arms are still sore from trying to conduct along. Feel sorry for the orchestra.

Fred Oakerbee. Canvey Island. Essex
this was real entertainment. the people taking part were so brave to stand out there waving there arms about (feeling right twits) but it was a real eye opener to me how important a conducter is to an orchestra. I look forward to seeing the rest of the show. keep this kind of program coming. Good old BBC.

Dirk Wickenden, Maidstone.
Peter Snow was the only one of the celebs not to have ‘done’ music in some way in the past. He was set up to be the fall guy all along. I don’t think his mentor did enough to get him up to scratch (I bet I could have got Snow conducting well enough) and indeed, I thought that the judges came across as being ‘paid off’ with their comments about some of the others. An obviously fixed competition.

Adrian, London
Agree with David of Whixley. What an insult to the musicians. The usual ‘know-nowts with no self-awareness, humility or respect for their betters’ formula. And did Alex James have to insult them further by looking as scruffy as he possibly could?

gee matlock
im think this show is funny i lv bradly he’s funniest but jane 2 win long may you regin lady jane! wow!

Donna Linton. Ramsgate, Kent
Absolutely fabulous programme: exploring something I so wanted to do when in the School Orchestra. I was ok watching Peter Snow conduct…until I saw the Mentors…I had tears of laughter. Can’t wait for the rest of the series and the Finale.

David, Kent
Peter’s problem was that he actually tried to do something with the music, rather than just count the beat. And in doing so, he lost the beat on several occasions. That said, I appreciated the fact that he was at least doing his own thing, unlike some of the others. I also felt that the orchestra carried some of the others - particularly Alex - while giving Peter a bit of a hard time.

Jenny Kerr, Welwyn Garden City
Brilliant programme. Fed up to the back teeth with animals, cops, reality programmes in general, but this is wonderful.

M Overton York
Brilliant concept. Entertaining, fun and not dummed down. Keep up the good work

Wendy - Birmingham
Thoroughly enjoyable - even my philistine husband watched and enjoyed

Rebecca, Colchester
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the first episode. This is so much more than a reality show and I genuinely hope it introduces a new audience to classical music. It is a life-changing musical experience and one that never leaves you.

Misako London
The first episodo of Maestro was hugely enjoyable. It really stands out as refreshing, interesting and exciting programme which I have not seen on BBC or any TV programme in general. Great

Andy Anderson, Clevedon
Brilliant! Television at its very best. If the rest of the series is half as good as last nights opening episode we are in for a real treat. I loved watching Goldie conduct the orchestra. What he might lack in formal technique he more than made up for with his enthusiasm and he obviously thoroughly enjoyed conducting; the orchestra fed off that enthusiasm and so played with equal enjoyment.


Rita Coffey, London
What a fantastic, fascinating and compelling piece of TV! Really extremely interesting and informative: it uncovered many things I had always wondered about conductors and conducting,and seeing the celebrities embarking on such a journey is wonderful to see. Goldie, Sue Perkins and Alex James were utterly amazing. I LOVEd this show and will be wathing every week!

Franziska, Sevenoaks
A wonderful program. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had no idea how much work goes into conducting.

Bill Crossley. Newark
I must confess to be rather bemused by the attitude of the ‘celebrities’ none of them appeared to have any affinity for their pieces of music almost as tho’ they were hearing them for the first time, and for some to profess to liking classical music I think they have only heard some by accident. So the program good idea but poorly executed because of the majority of the students chosen.

Dirk Wickenden, Maidstone, Kent
I conduct occasionally, with a group of my saxophone students and I find it quite easy, having had no conducting lessons. I have also conducted, in a practice, the concert band I play 1st alto sax in and it was great - that feeling of power!!!! Our conductor, Gordon Houssein, has a great line when asked what conductors do: ‘I stand in front of the band, wave my arms about and hope for the best’! I am getting a new concert band together in Maidstone, my home town and I will function as conductor for that - although much of the first instalment didn’t teach me anything new, I feel later instalments might. Bravo, Maestroes!

John Gatehouse, Nazeing
I thoroughly enjoyed the programme last night, “a must see” for the remainder of the series. A task I would find hugely daunting but ultimately so rewarding. Lucky devils!!

an white, antwerp, belgium
A lovely idea, and what a joy to watch. Learning about what it is to conduct, while seeing these people putting in so much effort, is a great idea. Plus, I’ve been humming Prokofiev since last night.

John Beale Falmouth Cornwall
Surely the very best television for many many years My money is on Jane Asher

Jacqui Carter, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln
Loved this programme, best thing on TV for ages, funny, interesting, good music and everyone so pleasant for a change, can’t ‘till next week!

Gary Witham
loved the programme . Goldie was awesome .

Geoff Kay, Lancashire
EXCELLENT!!! well done to the bbc for delivering this programme.

J Wilson (20) London
I love the show and came across it completely by accident. I was so happy to see a celebrity contest with decent, nice contestents who are not just a collection of desperate young blonde D list divas and idiot hunky men. The contestents obviously really enjoy the challenge and I’m going to enjoy watching them take the journey.

Amanda White, Newton Flotman, Norwich, Norfolk.
What a SUPERB programme. The concept, the design, the participants, the humour and the contagious enthusiasm from everyone involved contributed to what I would describe as one of the most interesting and entertaining television programmes I have seen in years. ‘Reality TV’ is no longer my idea of entertainment but the performance produced by Goldie blew me away, the determination displayed by Jane Asher and the trembling bottom lip from Alex James’s reaction to a potential voting out added real value to the enjoyment. It is the first time I have had a chance to listen to The Proms on R3 in the afternoon and I cannot wait for next week’s episode. (I never write in to these forums, in fact I missed some of my annual sky-gazing of The Perseids tonight, but they were spectacular in the end, too)

Ron Moss; High Wycombe
Loved the programme, but I wondered if some pieces of music are easier to conduct than others.

christian from glasgow
give me a break. this rubbish totally insults the classical profession and those of us who struggle to keep it going. anybody can stand up and wave their arms.. the fact is: conductors aren’t there to keep time and pull faces. they’re there to rehearse and work constructively with orchestral musicians to achieve a musical and exciting performance. This series is even more ridiculous than classical star… get it off please and do us all a favour…

old clubber, south of england
goldie was stunning years ago when i was clubbing and he now proves himself again, i hope ha goes all the way and wins.

maestro is a brilliant programme shame peter had to go

Thistle Garmonsway Northwood
That programme deserves to be dished up again as a Christmas special; it had everything: it was captivating, riveting, illuminating, and.. we are still laughing, hours later.

Cathy Reese, Newbridge
I must admit I was made to watch the programme by my 16 year old music mad son. I’m so glad I did, I thought the programme was great, as a family we haven’t laughed so much in ages. It was a refreshing change to the usual reality TV we are usually subjected to. I wait for the next one with anticipation.

Laura Williams, Newbury
I’ve never felt the need to comment on shows but I loved every minute of Maestros! Such an excellent variety of celebrities and being a Music teacher I really enjoyed watching them try their best at conducting! Personally I’m a big drum ‘n’ bass fan so my vote goes to Goldie! Can’t wait for the next show!

Sarah Staffs
Great programme! I so hope David wins!

nadaz, oxford
SUE TO WIN! love sue 4 life. x

Jane, Retford
Absolutely fantastic - more!

Suzanne, Oxford
Wonderful Fantastic The BBC at it’s Best The Programme,in parts, managed to move me as some of the best classical music does but more so. had me off my seat at points. It left my excilerated. I’ve always wanted to conduct an orchestra and now I am determined to learn. these skills should be tought in schools. You managed to bring such love, enjoyment and enthusiasm acrss Thank you

Lesley Tobin, Leicester
A truly intelligent and inspiring programme.What energy? What an eclectic bunch of ‘students’. Fantastic,and the music was great too. I was laughing and crying and conducting with them.. Can’t wait for next weeks episode.Brilliant.

Elin, London
Really enjoyed tonight’s episode. Although I could understand why Peter Snow exited the competition, his performance was highly entertaining - I havn’t laughed so much in a while! Will miss not having him around next week

Andrew Hague, Axminster
I didn’t know what to expect of Maestro; I’ve been a professional musician and teacher all my life, starting out coincidentaly in the Marines band, so I was concerned that it would somehow undersell the art involved in being the midwife that brings the music to birth as it were. Anyway, I thought that the programme was really good, my wife and I were in tears of joy and mirth as we watched all the competitors. The only danger is that Peter Snow might prove irreplaceable, so my question is:- Who is going to make me literally fall about laughing next week? By the way we watched the programme on our return from a difficult funeral. It was exactly the tonic we needed. Thank you BBC - you’ve done it again - that one hour was worth my licence fee.

Barry Pugh, Dromore County Tyrone
Thank you BBC this is an excellent program can’t wait to see next weeks Maestro, pity us ordinary people can’t have a go at this. Thanks again

Gloria Hurst
A truly lovely programme at last with ‘true’ celebraties - looking forward to further Tuesday evening

Rosie Raynsford, Northampton
Extremely entertaining. Just loved it.

Peter, Ellesmere
Some surprises there but it will be a slow but enjoyable drawn-out process to the final! This will be between Jane Asher and Goldie…

Audrey Pratt, Liverpool
Excellent TV but who were the tutors at Baton Camp? [Ed] Details of the tutors can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/musictv/maestro/whos-who/the-mentors/

Bob, Colchester
At last a reality tv programme with substance! A good cross section of personalities attempting a most difficult challenge. Well done BBC

Geoff Beard, Nottingham
What an excellent programme! I loved the blend of enthusiasm, naivity, humour, humility, bravado, skill, intuition and progression. First-class television, and I for one can’t wait until next week’s episode!

Jan, Dublin, Eire
Not usually into these reality shows but this was brilliant! had me hooked!

Suzana Sterland
I absolutely enjoyed Goldie’s conducting. Loved the performance!

angelpig, swansea
understanding through doing,learning through watching,its great,it expresses and explains how to view how music works and is percieved

Ruby, Ruislip
Fabulous, just fabulous

Rich - Birmingham
wish i was learning to conduct … its a long time wish for me

David Joyce - Shrewsbury
Can’t wait! As a fellow professional player, it will interesting to see if the orchestra really follow or just ignore the conductor (like normal!)

David - Whixley, York
Cheap TV at its “best.” A completely staged managed bore. This orchestra could play these pieces with their eyes shut never mind without a conductor at all

H.Thomson. Leeds
When I saw this programme advertised I thought “Just give Jane Asher the baton because she can do anything.”

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.