Sundry things were happening in the WMC during the afternoon. For one thing, as the letter we received earlier in the week told us, you could "have your face painted with an image from Doctor Who". What, any image? Could I have an establishing shot of a council estate daubed onto my cheeks? This turned out, we learned from the faces of passing children, to be a choice between the TARDIS or a Dalek airbrushed onto your cheek through a stencil. Still, we weren't there for the face-painting.
What we were led to expect was a sedate evening of Who music performed against a backdrop of Who images, followed by a Q&A with David Tennant, Russell T Davies and Mr Gold himself. What we got was David Tennant hosting a gala night of Who music performed against a backdrop of Who images in the midst of props and fragments of sets, while clockwork service droids, Daleks, Cybermen and sundry others larked about at the front of the stage and menaced the choir, to our great amusement. And the expected Q&A, cut off by a Dalek demanding audience participation and ordering the orchestra about. And some preview footage of the Christmas episode! (Which looked stunning, and amazingly hasn't appeared on YouTube yet...)
Random thoughts follow.
- The seats in the WMC were lovely and comfy, and our view from about four rows from the back was splendid, so hats off to the architects. Just one thing: stick up some bloody signs to the toilets. I gave up looking for the gents' and used the disabled, deciding that I was indeed disabled by a) not possessing ovaries (the ladies' was right outside the auditorium door and easily found) and b) not having the telepathic ability to sense where the gents' were.
- Arrays of mini-floodlights lit up in the direction of the audience at the end of each piece of music, to the point that I began to wonder if this was some kind of Pavlovian conditioning to get us to clap whenever we saw floodlights. It may simply have been for the benefit of the BBC cameras.
- It's not until you hear it in isolation that you realise just how much the music from the Slitheen episodes sounds like "Mission: Impossible". Presumably Murray Gold thought this was the right music for blowing up Big Ben and 10 Downing Street.
- Kids are willingly wearing suits because of DW! The world has turned upside-down!
- I honestly don't recall there being an electric guitar in half those pieces during the actual episodes. I mean, it added something, but I'm pretty sure hard riffing wasn't a feature of the TV series incidental music.
- Lovely to hear Melanie Pappenheim singing that haunting music from the end of Series 2 in person.
The final two pieces, though... These were the strangely popular "Song For Ten" from last year's Christmas special, and a song called "Love Don't Roam" from this year's. Sadly the programme does not record the name of the performer. He sang well, but the songs are very much in the line of Andy Williams ("Music To Watch Who By," perhaps) and the lyrics, once you get to hear them without an episode of Who going on around them, are utter pap. ("Bad Bond lyrics," suggested our pal Sarah. I just think someone's hit "fill in" on the Automatic Lounge Song Generator.) We were doubly pleased to get an encore of the Who theme at the end.
All in all, I'd be hard pushed to describe this event as anything less than fantastic. I dread to think what the auction props went for, though. (The Genesis Ark was going for five grand when we looked in at 2pm...)