There are some Doctor Who stories destined to be totally forgotten. Like Underworld. Or Terminus. The last three parts of The Space Museum. And now Music of the Spheres - a five minute skit that makes Dimensions in Time look like Time Crash. It has had such little pre publicity, I didn't even know it existed until urgent uploads caught my attention. After suffering through it, I considered deleting it right away.
I had been off the opinion the fanwank explosion of the season four finale was RTD getting everything out of his system at last, but now I start to wonder... did he dive into fanwank because he had literally run out of ideas? Be fair, the guy's worked himself into the dirt over the last five years, but the continual remakes have ridden the point he doesn't seem to have put any brain power into this. It lacks even entertainment value. I can't honestly think why anyone would campaign for this to be canonical.
The skit is so painfully cheap in thought and deed. The whole thing is set in the TARDIS control room (no change there then) and the lone Doctor is bushwhacked by a sudden unexplained arrival (cue: "What? What? WHAT?!" except without the passion): a Grask. Just in case you thought the interactive game had been forgotten. But despite the fourth wall breaking stuff of the Doctor talking to his TV viewers, Attack of the Graske was far funnier and cleverer than this.
The Doctor has seemingly been infested with Ben Chatham disease as we see him lying on the floor, kicking his legs and looking for all the world a teenage girl writing in her diary. He has decided, for some reason, to shut down all the TARDIS defences (despite what happened the last two times). He has then decided to listen to the titular music of the spheres (an expression that is used with all the restrain of Blackadder saying "McBeth!"), copy it down on musical notes and then tell everyone that he wrote it. He then explains to everyone that he is ripping off the sounds of the universe, just so it's made absolutely clear what a talentless fucktard he is.
Egads! A Graske has teleported into the control room and, despite being mortal enemies... the Doctor tells him to go away. And not in a funny, self-aware, Fourth Doctor "you megalomaniacs are all the same way". He is too busy listening to music and marvelling at his own brilliance to deal with a Graske, even as it explains that it has come here urgently to save the Doctor.
Just as our interest is piqued, the Graske and the Doctor immediately change topic and discuss the titular music (which doesn't sound like much... I mean, that space harmonica in Dalek gave out better and more noticeable music), before the incredibly-badly dubbed alien notes a whacking great CGI portal has appeared beside the hatstand. The Doctor rushes over to the portal, which opens out to Albert Hall in the 2008 Proms.
Things go downhill from hereon in.
I suffered the original video in philosophical pain. The thing is, the audience participation was live and unscripted, so what we get is the Doctor shouting at the camera going, "I can't hear you, speak louder" four hundred and twenty seven times, interspersed with long and unamusing pauses. I held back my judgement to when I actually heard the finished thing, with the pantomime audience replying.
It didn't help.
Despite this unexplained whacking great hole in time and space, the Doctor decides that the best thing to do is hurl his stolen music through it and get the orchestra to play it. He will conduct with his sonic screwdriver and it looks as bad as it fucking sounds. The music is a discordant jangle of barely-registering noise. If you remember that time the TARDIS did it's "Goon Show silly noise" compilation in Horns of Nimon, that was far more easy to groove to than this.
Finally, the atonal noise pollution is over and, gazooks, the Doctor notices that the Graske has pissed off. And he's stolen the Doctor's water pistol! You see, this Graske came to the TARDIS - despite the fluke the defences were down - just so he could jump through the still-unexplained portal to Albert Hall. Rather than just teleporting there himself. Why is the Graske wanting to be at Albert Hall? To shoot people with water pistols, of course!
I wish I could say this was hilarious. It's brain-damaged dross.
The Doctor then announces that he is reversing the polarity of the neutron flow with his sonic screwdriver, which sucks the Graske into the TARDIS so the Doctor can do his "nasty Time Lord vengeance" moment and then (because children are present)... send the midget bastard back where he came from. The Doctor turns to the audience and notes he has to close this portal because it's incredibly dangerous to leave open (can you imagine the horror if ANOTHER water pistol wielding alien escaped into Albert Hall?) and thus gives a very, very, very, very long "humans are brilliant" speech. Apparently music has nothing to do with all the poor suckers who spent years mastering the art, but the bone idle audience who sit on their fat arses listening.
The Doctor manages to bore HIMSELF and then wanders off. We suddenly cut to the credits (now boasting SCRIPT EDITOR - Gary Russell) as the original Hartnel theme music plays.
I never expected Doctor Who to ever, ever rival the outright stupidity of The War Machines. This makes WOTAN and his army of fridges look like fucking Seven Periods with Mr. Gormsby!
Having thrown an ear onto the rest of the concert, I was disappointed to learn this quality was quite insistent. Despite being a Doctor Who event, half the music was boring classical stuff the like of which I don't want to hear. I can live without The Ride of the fucking Valkyries, thanks. True pain however struck when Davros and the Daleks turned up to introduce some vaguely Who-related tunes.
Now, I understand that this can be awkward. A Celebration In Cardiff managed to balance the fact that the kids want to be entertained and also expect that when a Dalek turns up on stage the first three rows should automatically be murdered in cold blood. The first time, Nick Briggs managed to get Dalek Caan some decent comedy - furious when the crowd do not automatically obey orders, Caan decides to play Murray Gold music until they beg for mercy. "Let me hear you say exterminate!" it demanded afterwards.
But this time, the Daleks are nothing more than daycare minders for Davros who curiously enough reminds me of Spike Milligan's decrepit principal in Gormenghast. He all but gibbers, "Who are all these pretty people?" except that might be amusing. They get Julian Bleach all made up, in the wheelchair, everything and then he pretty much sits there repeating dialogue from Journey's End. I could sing along as he welcomed everyone to his new empire and ordered the Daleks to... do stuff. The lack of laughter shows even the the less hardcore of the audience were a tad confused when the Daleks announce they have "condititoned" the conductor... and then reveal they just threatened to kill him unless they do what he said.
With the brain-meltingly original "Let the music of destruction play," Davros vanished... presumably to seek, locate and exterminate the twat responsible for the script. Cause when Catherine Tate arrived, gripped with a hangover and clearly not doing any script, she got a better reception than the rest of the bleeding performance put together. The huge cheers and several voices screaming "Bring her back!" show that Donna Noble is actually more popular than the Doctor himself. It's amazing to think that RTD came up with the whole amnesia angle because he was sure the public would hate Donna and never want her to come back...
So, all in all, a complete waste of two hours.
Avoid like a plague farm. Watch I lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper instead...