All Together Now - The Great Orchestra Challenge



Katie Derham


Chi-chi Nwanoku (mentor and judge)

Paul Daniel (judge)


BBC Music on BBC Four/Two, 30 August to 17 September 2016 (4 episodes in 1 series)


Amateur orchestras compete for a place at the BBC's Proms in the Park concert.

Each episode explores a tradition in classical music: opera, the symphony, and others. The orchestras present a performance drawing on these traditions, with the winner getting the gig in Hyde Park. The BBC will claim this is the "most inspirational amateur orchestra".

The format was for Paul Daniel to eliminate one of the orchestras after each episode. The last two performed at a special concert in the Royal Albert Hall on 20 August.

This series fell between two stools. Classical music purists complained that there was hardly any of the performance, and they couldn't compare Paul Daniel's decisions.

Casual viewers got a lot of life stories, tales from picturesque places, and made-for-television stunts like rehearsing in a cave. The dedication of playing an instrument well was only hinted at.

The net result was a worthy but dull programme. Lots of build-up, but the performance is kept as short as possible, and it's not the climax to the show.


North Devon Sinfonia


  • London Gay Symphony Orchestra
  • North Devon Sinfonia
  • Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Stirling Orchestra
  • The People's Orchestra (from Birmingham)


Part of BBC Music's "Get Playing" initiative, which had already given us UK's Best Part-Time Band.


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