Music of the Spheres
David Tennant (The Doctor)
Jimmy Vee (Graske), Philip Hurd-Wood (Voice of the Graske)
|Written by||Russell T. Davies|
|Directed by||Euros Lyn|
|Produced by||Catrin Lewis Defis|
Alone in the TARDIS, The Doctor is busy composing his own piece of music. He is quickly jotting down his musical score with an ink pen and fingertips covered in inkblots when an alert sounds. Investigating, he realises that there is a teleport breach due to the TARDIS’s shields being down for just a few minutesat that moment, a Graske suddenly appears, much to The Doctor’s annoyance. Before The Doctor can do anything, the Graske inquires to what the harmonious sound echoing through the TARDIS is. The Doctor claims that this is the Music of the Spheres, which is the sound of planets orbiting stars and stars orbiting the galaxy and galaxies orbiting each other making up the universe, the gravity patterns of which are fed through the TARDIS’ harmonic filter. The Graske claims that he is here to warn The Doctor of a hole in space, which manifests itself near the entrance of the TARDIS. Looking through the hole, The Doctor realises the hole has appeared in the Royal Albert Hall in London, during the Proms.
Seizing his chance, The Doctor passes his sheets of music through the hole to the Albert Hall, and asks if the orchestra would play it. He also asks the conductor to step down, as he will conduct the orchestra himself using his Sonic Screwdriver, which he does, rather flamboyantly. He calls the piece”Ode to the Universe”, and thanks the orchestra for playing it, where he realises that the Graske has travelled through the hole, arriving in London. Coming to the conclusion that the Graske was lying to him in order to reach Earth, he stops him from creating any more trouble by reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, which sends the Graske back to the TARDIS. The Doctor then sends him to the end of the galaxy using his screwdriver. He then says farewell to the audience, but not before informing them that everyone is a musician, and that they can hear the Music of the Spheres by closing their eyes, and listening to the universe.
- The Tenth Doctor makes a joke about meeting Ludwig van Beethoven, he also claims to have learned how to play the organ from him in The Lazarus Experiment.
- The Doctor claims to have played tuba in the first Proms concert in 1895.
- Prior to broadcast it was variously known as Proms Special and Proms Cutaway, with episode writer Russell T Davies using this as the title when promoting the episode in Doctor Who Magazine.
- The story’s ultimate title, as well as the concept of music generated by the Universe itself, are based on Pythagoras’ ancient philosophical concept of musica universalis. It is also named after a Delia Derbyshire piece of the same name, probably to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
According to Doctor Who Magazine, production of this mini-episode officially concluded production
- of Series 4 on 3 May 2008. Davies told DWM that he had to write the episode in a special way as it is scheduled to be broadcast both on television and on radio. This makes this special the first such hybrid episode ever produced for the series.
- This special aired on Sunday 27 July between 11 A.M. and 1 P.M. on BBC Radio 3. The video version of Music of the Spheres was available on The Doctor Who website at 11:40 A.M., however the clip was only be made available for a short period of time.
- For the first time since 1966 the original closing theme arrangement by Delia Derbyshire, as introduced in 1963’s An Unearthly Child, is used in lieu of Murray Gold’s work. The specific reason for including this version of the theme was not readily apparent to those who watched the mini-episode in isolation from the Proms event. As explained to the audience in the Royal Albert Hall by Proms host Freema Agyeman, it was employed as a way to feature a piece of music which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Some have erroneously identified the version played as the arrangement featured up until the late 1970s, but the lack of echo identifies it as the original version, this is the first time the original rendition has been used on a Doctor Who episode since 1967.