Think back to June 2010. The air was filled with the sound of World Cup vuvuzelas and Dizzee Rascal. UK cinemas were set to welcome Hot Tub Time Machine. The shine had only recently worn off everybody’s crush on Nick Clegg. And beavers were being bred wild in Scotland for the first time in 400 years. Mad times. Mad times.
Into those mad times, came a mad man with a box. In April 2010, Matt Smith made his debut as Doctor Who’s Eleventh Doctor, with new showrunner Steven Moffat in tow. There were cracks in the universe and Rory dying and Vincent Van Gogh and James Cordon and a Pandorica. The TARDIS exploded. A lot. Then just 24 hours after Eleven restored the universe in Series 5 finale ‘The Big Bang’, he also closed Glastonbury Festival.
It was an unusual moment, and a great one. Matt Smith certainly looked like he was enjoying himself. According to Orbital co-founder Paul Hartnoll speaking to Digital Spy, the collaboration came about after he ran into Smith at a Coachella afterparty in April 2010, just three episodes into Smith’s run on the show. Recognising the chin investigating a fridge as belonging to the Doctor, Hartnoll struck up a conversation. Smith told him that Orbital’s ‘Doctor ?’ remix of Delia Derbyshire and Ron Grainer’s famous Doctor Who theme song was a big hit with cast and crew on set, and offered to introduce the band on stage at a future gig.
“Our lighting guy who was with us said, ‘Why don’t you come on at Glastonbury?’ He sort of flipped out and said, ‘Oh my god, I’ve never been to Glastonbury, that’d be brilliant’. So we just kept in touch. He said if you can get me and five friends into Glastonbury, I’ll do it, so we did.”