If I could turn back time: Doctor Who At The Proms
The latest Doctor Who Prom hits our screens tonight. And here's a report from someone who was in the audience...
The problem with obsession is that it takes over your life. It's been two months now, but I'm having real trouble letting go. Every day I think about it and want it again. And all this over the music from a TV show? I really need a TARDIS.
Let me backtrack. In July, I attended the Royal Albert Hall for the latest Doctor Who Prom. Unlike many fans, I didn't turn up in a fez (it looked like a Tommy Cooper convention at times) or look cute in a child's tweed jacket and bow tie. But like everyone there, I was ridiculously excited.
The return of Who in 2005 was a big thing for me. As with all fans of the original, I felt it was my very own programme, something that the general public had forgotten about and that, when it returned, everyone would understand why people like me got excited.
Since then, I've been grinning through every episode, dragging my missus along to exhibitions, littering my study (ahem) with figures, remote control Daleks, board games, books, cufflinks, anything that stirred that inner Who-ness. It's given me immense pleasure and ensured I had a literacy with little nephews and nieces that baffles other grown-ups.
So, when I wangled tickets to the Prom I was rightly overjoyed. Even more so when I found our seats were effectively on the stage. We were in the row behind the choir. I have no idea how I managed that, and it was quite odd not being able to complain that the people in front have stood up, because they have to so they can sing the music.
In terms of the music, we essentially got to sit through the entire last series again, only without the dialogue. It's when the words are stripped away that you really appreciate the beauty of Amy's Theme or that the glorious Dambusters pastiche, Spitfires In Space, deserved a better episode than Victory Of The Daleks.
Mixed in with Murray Gold's music, and filling out the evening, were a smattering of other classic tracks. (Ooh, it's the one from Apocalypse Now. Ooh, it's the one from the Old Spice advert.)
But it was tracks like I Am The Doctor, Matt Smith's signature theme music, accompanied by his speech to his enemies atop Stonehenge, that we'd come to hear. And a medley of music from The End Of Time had the audience applauding, as every Doctor's regeneration was shown on screen, culminating in Vale Decem (Tennant's regeneration music) with thousands silently mouthing the words "I don't want to go" at the appropriate moment. There was even time for Song Of Freedom from Journey's End, a joyful chorus that could have pulled the Earth back into place all on its own.
And then, to finish, that theme tune. The best theme tune ever. Live. At the Royal Albert Hall. No matter what you think of the new arrangement, there aren't many instrumentals that you find yourself singing along with. Seriously, they should make it the national anthem.
The night wasn't just about the music, though. Amy Pond on stage presenting, Daleks, Cybermen, Vampires, Silurians; The Doctor appearing on screen in a Moffat-written sketch and then emerging from the centre of the hall to continue the sketch; Rory, Murray Gold and all culminating in hearing that theme tune played live. Yes, I actually cried. Thirty-five and crying in public. It was ok, though. My wife was crying too. As were the two blokes to my left. And about 5,000 others. Tears of utter joy. What other show could have made me feel like that?
The problem is, I'm not sure how I can top this now. This wasn't 'The Music of Street Hawk at Wembley Arena'. This was the greatest music from the greatest TV programme at the greatest concert venue. How do I follow that up?
Honestly, it's getting me down. I can't act, so a speaking role is out. Extras work means moving to Cardiff and hoping they need monsters who are in their mid-thirties and a bit tubby. And how do you write for a show from which Neil Gaiman got bumped a season?
Of course, maybe it's just that summer drought, that need for a Christmas special, a sneak peek trailer of 2011, a new series filming article on a website. Give me that and I'll be back up again, sure that the best is always yet to come.
But right now, I really need a TARDIS, because I want it to be a couple months ago every day.
You can experience Doctor Who At The Proms without a TARDIS in an abbreviated, hour-long version tonight, Monday September 6th at 8:30pm on BBC3.
Then on Friday, September 10th, BBC3 will broadcast a longer version from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.
We have more images of the event below. Click to enlarge them.