Wellington Scoop

We’re paying for Dr Who


by Lindsay Shelton

It’s surprising to discover who’s paying for the Doctor Who shows which have been announced as a feature of next year’s Arts Festival.

The information is contained in the official announcement which reveals: The New Zealand season of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular is funded by the Wellington City Council.

Why is it necessary for the council to pay for three concerts by the NZSO? Is it the cost of the big screen on which clips from the British TV show will be shown? Is it the cost of transporting Daleks and other characters from the series, who – we are promised – will “overrun the aisles” while Murray Gold’s music from Doctor Who is being played?

It can’t be that the BBC, who own the TV show, is short of money. Doctor Who is the world’s most popular and successful science fiction television series. It is sold to more than 200 countries and has even captured audiences in the hard-to-please US market.

And it seems that this “symphonic spectacular” has also been successful. It was first presented in the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Plenary Hall last December. (Sellouts, according to the Wellington press release). More Australian shows have been scheduled for Melbourne and Brisbane next year. But will next year’s shows be different from last year’s? There’s mention that they’re to be “based on” a concert which was presented last month at the BBC Proms in London.

BBC photo

It was a Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary concert, played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, which records the music for the TV series. Actor Matt Smith who played the eleventh doctor appeared on stage. But his participation is not offered for the Wellington shows, except in clips on a big screen. The Proms programme included not only Murray Gold’s original music from the last eight years of the show, but also other music from the series, including the Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen Suite No. 2, Debussy’s ‘La fille aux cheveux de lin’ and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. This music is not mentioned in the Wellington announcement.

The Proms concert featured the London Philharmonic Choir. Perhaps ratepayers’ money is needed to bring out a choir from London? But no choir is mentioned in the description of the show that’s now online. And such a thought is foolish – Wellington has its own great choirs who could join in the spectacular, if they were invited.

So the mystery remains. Why does the Wellington City Council need to commit funding to pay for such a successful show?


  1. Traveller, 1. September 2013, 13:58

    With a top ticket price of $98, why did they need to ask the city council for money?

  2. Tim, 2. September 2013, 10:40

    Can’t wait. I’m flying my family to Wellington and we are going to stay in a hotel, eat out, see the sights and go shopping.

    Why would the council want to encourage tourism? Doh… I doo no knooo, me not clever…

  3. lindsay, 2. September 2013, 11:27

    Tim: where are you coming from? Is the council subsidising your hotel room and your airline tickets?

  4. Trevor, 5. September 2013, 23:39

    I think there are stars from Doctor Who coming as well and it’s also going to be filmed going by my ticket 🙂