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The logo of the BBC NOW, current as of 2016

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales — often abbreviated as BBC NOW, and known in Welsh as Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig y BBC — was the orchestra used by composer Murray Gold and orchestrator-conductors Ben Foster and Alastair King from series 2 to perform the incidental and theme music for Doctor Who. Technically, their full name is the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales; Gold used both the choral and orchestral aspects of the group to score Doctor Who. When Gold departed the show with the 2017 Christmas Special, it was uncertain whether they would return for the 2018 season and beyond. As of 2021, BBC NOW has not been involved in Doctor Who soundtracks since 2017.


The orchestra can be traced back to 1928 as the "Cardiff Station Orchestra", while the Chorus began in 1947 as the "BBC Welsh Chorus". Although it has always served as a broadcasting orchestra, it has equally been considered the national orchestra of Wales for most of its life. That is to say, it records music for programmes broadcast on television and radio, but it also gives public concerts for the people of Wales and represents Wales by touring abroad. However, it was not until 1993 that it assumed its present name, which underscores its dual status.

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The inclusion of the orchestra in Doctor Who was largely because of the unexpected success of series 1. With an expanded budget for series 2, Julie Gardner could afford to indulge the wishes of Russell T Davies and Murray Gold to orchestrate fully the show's score. The production team emphasised the importance of the orchestra with a special concert in Cardiff in 2006, just prior to the premiere of The Runaway Bride. That concert featured the talents of the chorus as well, because the NOW Chorus was used extensively throughout series 2.

This chorus was not the first to be employed by Gold. He had used the Crouch End Festival Chorus briefly in series 1, before switching to NOW for series 2. Gold returned to Crouch End for series 3 and gradually came to prefer them. As of series 5, NOW were the Doctor Who orchestra, and Crouch End its chorus.

The orchestra has been of relatively less importance to the BBC Wales spin-off shows. They have never been used on The Sarah Jane Adventures or Class, and were only a part of the third series of Torchwood, Children of Earth.

On no Doctor Who or Torchwood television story have they actually been credited for anything specifically to do with music. Instead their credit is always "With thanks to".

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