It was no contest really.

The choice was simple enough. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at the Lichfield Festival or stay in and watch the last episode of this series of Dr Who.

Despite the first genuine cliff-hanger of this hugely disappointing series, the Ukuleles always held a far greater pull than the Daleks.

The only way we were going to miss the Ukulele Orchestra was an act of God – which was entirely possible, I suppose, as they were appearing at Lichfield Cathedral – or if illness claimed either of us.

But nothing stood in our way of our date with the Ukuleles and a precious night out. And having watched the recorded Dr Who finale after returning from the Cathedral, the Ukuleles completely eclipsed the Daleks.

It was my first encounter with the Orchestra, having been encouraged along by Rachel, and from the moment that Teenage Kicks filled the Cathedral I was hooked – nothing comes close to The Undertones’ original, not even the McFly cover (!), but the Ukulele Orchestra’s version runs Fergal’s boys a close second.

Throw in a bit of Anarchy in the UK, Wuthering Heights, Good Gave Rock and Roll to You and wistful Teenage Dirt Bag and I was converted. The musicianship and humour complemented each other perfectly.

The highlight of this impressive and entertaining performance had to be the Orchestra’s rendition of the Theme from Shaft, complete with an Isaac Hayes-style drawl straight outta South Yorkshire.

An excellent night and a great setting for a show that deservedly earned a standing ovation.

As for Dr Who, I don’t think I’ll bother.

My venerable former colleague on The Birmingham Post, Sid Langley, summed up the hugely disappointing finale with a Twitter update complete with the description “cop out”.

This series will be Russell T Davies’ last and I think he might have fallen into the trap so many much-loved professional footballers and rugby players have – one season too many.

We’re still left to speculate on the identity of the new Doctor after David Tennant cheated death in a most unsatisfactory way. There will be a new Time Lord, we just have to wait until after the Christmas special and until Russell T’s replacement gets his feet firmly under the desk.

But I’ll stick with last week’s suggestion that Jay-Z, fresh from uniting the diverse masses at Glastonbury, would make the perfect new Time Lord – he got 99 problems, but the Ood ain’t one.

It needs to be something different to shake Dr Who from this stumbling series.

Game, set and match to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and the excellent Lichfield Festival.

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One response »

  1. Nick Scott Donald says:

    I think ukeleles are much under-rated. (How can you not like an instrument loved by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and George Harrison, among others?)
    Doctor Who, conversely, has suffered from being over-rated.
    I have always been one of Russell T Davies’s greatest fans (ever since NiceChap, back in 1990, in fact), but I think perhaps he has been a little spoiled by his (admittedly much deserved) success… a fresh perspective is needed.

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