There are many ways you can watch Doctor Who, but for those attending a special screening of the first of the current two-part series finale at Wales Millennium Centre’s Hoddinott Hall on Saturday evening, viewing from behind the sofa was not going to be an option.
Hoddinott Hall is the home of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, affectionately known to the Doctor Who production team as the Doctor Who House Band. The orchestra have provided the musical soundtrack to every Doctor Who episode since the 2006 Christmas episode, and for this occasion would provide a live musical soundtrack accompaniment for the episode World Enough and Time.
Conducted by Alistair King and lead by violinist Lesley Hatfield the orchestra had no time to waste as the screen lit up with the precredit sequence to the latest episode, showing Peter Capaldi, the current Doctor, in the opening moments of his next regeneration.
As the opening title sequence began to roll and the orchestra launched into the familiar Doctor Who theme composed by Ron Grainer, I did wonder if a live orchestral accompaniment would be a distraction from the episode. In fact the dramatic music seemed perfectly balanced with the audio, giving an immersive and exciting audio-visual experience.
On the episode’s cliff-hanger conclusion, presenter Jason Mohammed introduced a Q&A with Pearl Mackie aka The Doctor’s companion Bill Potts and series showrunner Steven Moffat who both delighted the audience with anecdotes and behind the scenes stories.
There was also an opportunity for the Orchestra to play further Doctor Who themed music including A Good Man and Bill’s Theme, this time with additional on-stage appearances from Mondasian Cybermen! A unique way to enjoy watching my favourite TV show!