Daleks invade the Proms (while earthlings pay £250 for a ticket)

Jerome Taylor
Monday 28 July 2008 00:00
Comments

It's not every day that Prom-goers start queuing for tickets at five in the morning, but then it's not often that the Tardis lands at the Royal Albert Hall.

Demand for yesterday's Doctor Who prom was so high that the waiting list for pre-booked tickets hit the 3,000 mark. Those unwilling to join the early-morning queues might have headed to eBay, where seats were selling for as much as £250 each by the end of last week. Only the tickets for the Last Night of the Proms were selling for more.

Margaret Lewis and her three children, Katie, Thomas and Oliver, had risen at four in the morning to drive to London from their home near Maidstone, Kent, in order to make sure they could get some of the 500 £5 tickets up for grabs on the day. They were rewarded by being the first in the queue.

"My favourite characters are the Daleks," said George, who passed the time by carefully constructing a Dalek mask out of a white paper bag and a straw. His elder sister, Katie, shyly confessed to being particularly enamoured of the Doctor himself, currently played by David Tennant. "Katie was up earlier than all of us straightening her hair," revealed her mother.

The concert, hosted by the actress Freema Agyeman, who plays one of the Doctor's sidekicks, Martha Jones, was part of the drive to make the annual Proms season more inclusive. Combining popular pieces including parts of Holst's Planets Suite and Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries with scores from the TV series, the 1,400-strong audience gasped when a host of aliens and horrifying creatures marched into the hall through the crowds. The announcement at the start of the concert forbidding photography was soon forgotten. Hosting a concert using the popular appeal of such a mainstream programme has left the BBC open to accusations of dumbing down, a charge vehemently denied by festival director and BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright.

Speaking shortly before yesterday's show he said: "I think once people saw what was in the programme, they backed down. It's hard to talk about dumbing down when we're hosting a concert for families that include pieces by Holst, Wagner and Prokofiev."

The charges held little sway with the crowd either. "I think it's an absurd notion," said Sarah Carley, a music teacher from Kent. "You've got to make classical music accessible, and it has to be interesting for children."

The Doctor himself missed the prom, so a specially filmed 10-minute video had to suffice. David Tennant was unable to attend in person because he is currently playing Hamlet for the RSC in Stratford. Speaking from a giant television screen to the crowds, the time-travelling Doctor boasted: "I was at the first Proms in 1895. Played the tuba, I was brilliant."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in