Friday 18 November 2011

Children In Need - Doctor Who special

Tonight is the annual BBC Children In Need fund raising night, and the on-going connection to Doctor Who shows no signs of letting up.

I thought it worth championing the occasions down the years that The Doctor has helped this worthy cause, and it creates quite a list.
Having written the follow list, I realise the impact Children In Need has had on Doctor Who cannot be overlooked, and we sometimes forget how it was almost a testing ground for ideas and formats we still see today.
The late November timing of Children In Need has made it the stable-mate for Doctor Who and the support the Doctor Who production team have given dates back to the near start of Children In Need in the 1980s.
What we sometimes forget is that the 20th anniversary story, The Five Doctors, was shown as part of that year’s fund raising night.

After the episode Peter Davison landed his TARDIS alongside Terry Wogan and offer the coat off his back to auction off to raise funds.

When Colin Baker was in the role, the TARDIS appeared yet again, this time transporting a whole host of actors to the Children In Need studio.

Appearing were: Patrick Troughton, Carole Ann Ford, Maureen O’Brien, Peter Perves, Jacqualine Hill, Jon Pertwee, Caroline Johns, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, John Levene, Elizabeth Sladen, Louise Jameison, Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, matthew Waterhouse, Mark Strickson, Nicola Bryant and Colin baker and trooped out of the familiar Police Box to deliver a massive cheque for £1,000 (it was a lot in those days).
Who can forget the 1993 Doctor Who / Eastenders cross-over story entitled Dimensions In Time, which was the last time Jon Pertwee donned his Inverness cape in character on a BBC Doctor Who episode, abet not canon.

It was written in haste and did it’s best to include as many characters as possible, with some curious clashes of eras.

Doctors Sylvester McCoy, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker (in isolation only), Peter Davison and Colin Baker all blundered around with the ‘help’ of companion, Sophie Aldred, Carole Ann Ford, Deborah Watling, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, Caroline John, Elisabeth Sladen, Louise Jameson, K-9 voice John Leeson, Lalla Ward, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford

Contractual problems prevent it being seen again, so it is liable to become the Star Wars Holiday Special of the Doctor Who world.

Since the start of the new Who, the baton has been passed and an annual contribution in the form or either specially shot mini-episodes or sneak preview clips from the following month's Christmas special has become a regular highlight for Who fans waiting between seasons.
While we were on on tenter hooks as to how David Tennant would handle the role of The Doctor, we were treated to the first ever bridging scene which directly linked The Parting Of The Ways to The Christmas Invasion.

It was cheaply shot on the console set with just The Doctor and Rose, but it set a format and idea which continues to this day, with additional mini-scenes appearing on DVDs or as iTunes downloads.
The 2006 contribution was in the form of a spectacular concert in Cardiff, which formed the template for the BBC Proms in 2008 and 2010.

Held on 19th November 2006, David Tennant hosted the evening with the BBC National Orchestra Of Wales (who play on the soundtrack to the series) performed a collection of tracks of Mussy Gold’s music, conducted by Doctor Who arranger Ben Foster.

Daleks, Cybermen and Ood were on hand to suitably terrorise the audience.

The concert seems to have been historically over-shadowed by the later Prom concerts, so I thought it worth listing the music played, as many were never played again publicly.

Part 1
01 - Prologue
Rose Sequence:
02 - Westminster Bridge From Rose
03 - Rose's Theme
04 - The TARDIS - From The End of the World
Space and Monsters (Monster Mash):
05 - The Slitheen (Aliens in London and World War Three)
06 - Cassandra's Waltz: Jabe, Cassandra, The Face of Boe and other monsters (The End of the World)
07 - Monster Bossa Nova
08 - Robot Dance and The Girl & The Doctor (The Girl in the Fireplace)
09 - Werewolves in Torchwood (Tooth and Claw)
Music from The Tenth Doctor:
10 - From The Christmas Invasion
11 - Suite for The Tenth Doctor
12 - The Ood (The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit)
Music from The Runaway Bride:
13 - Sneak preview of the coming episode
Part 2
Questions from the fans
14 - Answered by David Tennant, Murray Gold and Russel T. Davies
Music from The Daleks Part 1:
15 - Dalek Theme with Choir (Bad Wolf)
Music from The Cybermen:
16 - Cyberman Theme with Choir (Rising of the Cyberman)
Music from The Daleks Part 2:
17 - Battle against the Dalek fleet with Choir (The Parting of the Ways)
Music from Doomsday:
18 - Rose's Swan Song featuring Melanie Pappenheim (Doomsday)
Love Don't Roam:
19 - Love Don't Roam featuring Garry Williams (2005 Christmas Special)
Song for Ten:
20 - Song for Ten featuring Garry Williams (2006 Christmas Special: Runaway Bride)
Doctor Who Theme:
21 - Doctor Who Theme

Undoubetly the most popular Children In Need special mini-epiosde was Time Crash, which brought back a classic series Doctor for the first time.

It made the hairs on the back of your neck tingle with delight to see Peter Davison donning his height frock coat again, especially since it was in his era David Tennant has grown up, making him ‘his’ Doctor.
2008 – 2009 – 2010
In subsequent years I think the Doctor Who production office went into a bit of a lethargy, with them only providing preview clips from the up-coming Christmas special for that year.

Keen as we always are to see any little tidbit of what’s to come, they seem a little vacuous looking back and they provide nothing unique to add to the archive.

So when news broke that this year would be yet another preview clip, I thought shall I watch - yes but I’d almost rather wait til next month and just see the whole episode and not have fore-knowledge of what was coming.

But then this week it was revealed that an impromptu mini-episode had been written by Steven Moffat and it had been filming at BBC tv centre, the near ancestral home to the classic series, I now CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!
If you have any spare cash, I’m sure the children that are helped by this evening’s fundraising will warmly welcome anything you can give, as much or as little as it might be
Donate here!

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