Jo Whiley: What it's like hosting Doctor Who musical celebration
Doctor Who superfan Jo Whiley relives the gig of a lifetime.
Peter Capaldi even announced that he was leaving the iconic role on my Radio 2 show in 2017, a live on-air shock I don’t think I’ll ever get over!
So, as a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I jumped at the chance to host Doctor Who @ 60: A Musical Celebration at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
It’s always a joy to leave the studios of Wogan House to present a show in a different part of the UK, but I don’t think I was prepared for how very special this night was.
However, it was also a nerve-wracking experience, as I was going to be interviewing the incredible showrunners Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall live on stage in front of a few hundred Doctor Who superfans!
Thankfully, they were wonderful guests, sharing their passion for the show and revealing how they were also thrilled, but equally terrified, about being involved with such a globally successful, much-loved series.
Hearing the BBC’s National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Singers, conducted by Alastair King, perform music from the show was spine-tingling, and for them to perform with Mark Ayres and Peter Howell - two members of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, who first created the music to the series - was stunning.
I was enthralled for the whole concert, then had to quickly compose myself to introduce the next performance or interview one of the guests.
Russell, Steven and Chris, like me and the rest of the audience, are huge fans of the show, and every person at Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff was so happy to be there – all of us Whovians sharing being at this intimate concert, knowing we were witnessing something very special.
It was lovely to see the excitement on their faces and hear their gasps of surprise when the orchestra exclusively played some of Murray Gold’s new compositions for the forthcoming series, which had never been performed or heard in public before - and included the Fifteenth Doctor’s theme.
Segun Akinola even created a brand new suite of his Doctor Who compositions especially for the concert.
I can’t tell you how honoured I felt to be part of that night. I’m thrilled that, as well as having been broadcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, the concert is now coming to BBC Four and iPlayer, so I can watch it over and over again, without having to worry about my next link!
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Like the many millions of fans around the world, I’m counting down to the new season, which returns in November 2023 with three special episodes with David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, and I can’t wait to see Ncuti Gatwa’s first episode as the Fifteenth Doctor over the festive period.
Doctor Who @ 60: A Musical Celebration will air on BBC Four on Wednesday 1st November at 8.30-10pm and on BBC iPlayer. It's now available on BBC Sounds.
Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Classic episodes are available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.
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