By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent
April 10, 2008
The BBC Proms has unveiled plans for a Doctor Who concert and a celebration
of folk music for the 2008 season, only a month after it was attacked by a
minister for attracting too narrow a section of society.
It was also announced that Nigel Kennedy will give his first Prom for 21
years. Kennedy has spurned the concerts since he was attacked in 1991 for
his "ludicrous clothes and grotesque, self-invented accent" by the late Sir
John Drummond, a former Proms director.
Roger Wright, the new director of the Proms, denied "dumbing down" the
summer series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and insisted that the
Proms had always provided a mixture of old and new, serious and accessible.
The Doctor Who family concert in July will feature Daleks and Cybermen on
stage, an appearance by the actress Freema Agyeman (one of the Time Lord's
assistants), music from the television series and a specially filmed scene
starring David Tennant.
The event will have a more highbrow side, however, with music on the theme
of "time and space" including the Jupiter Suite by Holst, Copland's Fanfare
for the Common Man, Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries and the British
premiere of a work by the contemporary composer Mark-Anthony Turnage.
A day is to be devoted to folk music. Two concerts will be complemented by a
Prom in the Park with a ceilidh, a Maypole, Morris dancers, folk singing and
The event has been created to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of
Ralph Vaughan Williams, the British composer.
Mr Wright said the Doctor Who and folk concerts were planned before Margaret
Hodge, the culture minister, singled out the Proms as not doing enough to
attract a multicultural audience.
He said that Mrs Hodge's comments were "slightly odd". "She called me to
apologise about the way it [her speech] was covered."
July 19 Nigel Kennedy Elgar Violin Concerto.
July 27 Doctor Who Prom
Aug 24 Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Monteverdi Choir/ English Baroque Soloists -
J S Bach's St John's Passion
Aug 26 Sir Andrew Davis/ BBC Symphony Orchestra - Vaughan Williams Fantasia
on a Theme by Thomas Tallis/ A Masque for Dancing/ Symphony No 9.
Sept 3 Sir Simon Rattle conducts Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - Brahms
Symphony No 3 and Shostakovich Symphony No 10.
Sept 9 Bernard Haitink conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Mahler Symphony
No 6, Sept 8. Shostakovich Symphony No 4.