March 24, 2023

Yes, Matt Smith appearing on stage alongside Orbital was an unexpected and very welcome surprise to close out the festival. Despite the good timing – this was 24 hours after the airing of ‘The Big Bang’ had closed out the Eleventh Doctor’s first series – this was far a lucky coincidence rather than a PR stunt. If it hadn’t been for a chance introduction at a party back in April, Smith’s Glastonbury debut might never have happened.

A Titanic Performance

It’s Christmas Day in 2007, the tub of Cadbury’s Roses has been raided, and families are sitting down to watch the now-traditional Doctor Who Christmas Special, ‘Voyage of the Damned’ – which, as the BBC Press Office has made sure everybody knows, guest stars none other than Kylie Minogue!

And here we are on the Titanic, sort of, and it’s a big swanky spaceship, there’s a stage, there’s a band… Of course Kylie’s going to sing, isn’t she? That would be absolutely bonkers, to get Kylie on your show at Christmas and not have her… hold on, who’s this? The background songs while the Doctor explores the Titanic are performed magnificently not by Kylie, but by Yamit Mamo, whose nameless character unfortunately doesn’t survive.

Mamo’s presence underpins many of the special’s early scenes and adds immensely to the sense that the Doctor’s gate-crashed a real Christmas party. While she kicks things off with ‘Winter Wonderland’, it’s composer Murray Gold’s jaunty original ‘The Stowaway’ that fans remember – not only is it a belter of a tune, it’s underpinning the festive revelry at the moment everything goes so memorably to hell.

Mamo would continue to work with Murray Gold throughout his tenure as Doctor Who’s composer, including singing his pieces live at the Proms. Listen carefully to the bar music in ‘The End of Time, Part Two’ and you’ll hear Mamo performing Gold’s ‘My Angel Put the Devil in Me’ just as Captain Jack gets introduced to Midshipman Frame – who, of course, was last seen in ‘Voyage of the Damned’. Now that’s wrapping things up neatly.

Spheres of Influence

Speaking of the Proms… There had already been one celebratory concert of Doctor Whos music broadcast as part of Children in Need, but the ante was well and truly upped in 2008 when the show was incorporated as part of the BBC’s Proms season, shifting the venue to the Royal Albert Hall and introducing classical pieces alongside Murray Gold’s scores.

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