Entertainment & Arts

Doctor Who Prom celebrates old and new

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Media captionFirst glimpse inside the Doctor Who Prom

The Doctor Who Prom on Saturday night took fans on a journey back in time to celebrate the TV show's 50th anniversary.

The concert at the Royal Albert Hall featured surprise appearances from fifth Doctor Peter Davison and Carole Ann Ford, who played first screen companion, Susan, in 1963.

"Who'd have thought this celebration would be happening 50 years on?" said the 73-year-old actress. "It's amazing."

A second Doctor Who Prom takes place on Sunday.

Both are being filmed for broadcast around the show's 50th anniversary in November.

Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, who plays companion Clara, hosted the concert alongside a carnival of monsters from the series.

Screams echoed around the auditorium as Cybermen trooped down the stairs to menace the crowds.

Not even the presence of an Ice Warrior helped cool the temperature inside the Albert Hall on the hottest day of the year.

There were Daleks too, as well as Judoon, Silurians, The Silence, Whispermen and a Weeping Angel.

Image caption Last month Matt Smith announced he would be leaving the show this year

Smith told the crowd: "One of the great joys of playing this extraordinary, legendary Time Lord is the support and knowledge and love and brilliance of the fans - you really make the show what it is."

Popular sidekicks Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and Strax the Sontaran (Dan Starkey) also helped introduce some of the musical segments.

As well as music from Doctor Who, the concert included well-known pieces such as the Habanera from Bizet's Carmen Suite No. 2 (which featured in 2012's Asylum of the Daleks) and Debussy's The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (re-imagined in 1977's The Robots of Death).

The concert was performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales and London Philharmonic Choir, conducted by Ben Foster.

Massive cheers erupted for the surprise arrival of Peter Davison, who played the fifth Doctor from 1981-84.

'Premier League'

"What amazing memories you all have," he said, surveying the thousands of fans. "Even though most of you weren't even born."

He added: "My era is now called the classic series, that's a bit like the Championship is to the Premier League."

Davison introduced a medley of music from the classic era, including the ground-breaking work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

The sequence kicked off with the roaring sound of the Tardis, originally created by Brian Hodgson by scraping his mother's front-door key down a piano string.

Music followed from stories across the decades such as The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), The Sea Devils (1972), The Five Doctors (1983) and The Curse of Fenric (1989).

Dudley Simpson, one of 20th Century Doctor Who's most prolific composers, was in the audience to hear an excerpt from his own score for 1979 Tom Baker adventure The City of Death.

On stage, Carole Ann Ford recalled meeting the Daleks during rehearsals for the first time almost 50 years ago with William Hartnell's first Doctor.

Image caption The Prom will be shown on BBC to tie in with the show's 50th anniversary

It was "far from terrifying", she said, as it was only bottom half of the Dalek being pushed along by the operator inside with their feet.

"We were asked to not to use them as dodgem cars as the budget didn't stretch to new ones."

Ford added: "One of the great things about being an actor in a show like this was that you got to be a kid again... though we often got the giggles when we got to meet some of the new monsters."

The climax of the Prom was the world premiere of Song for Fifty, a birthday anthem by Murray Gold, Doctor Who's musical director since 2005.

Described as "a love song to a television series", the dramatic choral piece was sung by soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and tenor Allan Clayton, with the London Philharmonic Choir .

It ended with the words "Happy Birthday. Doctor. You."

As the giant screens around the hall showed the recent cliffhanger ending with John Hurt introduced as "The Doctor", Matt Smith teased: "What does it all mean, eh? Only another four months until we find out."

Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The full list of events can be found at the BBC PROMS website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms

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