Once upon a time, the good people behind Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night decided to give us a magical treat with a special programme dedicated to fairy tales. With music from Rimsky-Korsakov suites to Disney classics performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, current Wicked star Louise Dearman and my favourite fairy tale prince Hadley Fraser, what more could a girl want? Luckily, my genie granted my wish and transported me to the very apt Mermaid Theatre for the recording.
Our charming narrator for the evening Samantha Bond took us through the history of fairy tales, from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve penning Beauty and the Beast deep in the French woods in 1740 to the adventures of chicken farmer L. Frank Baum, via the undisputed champions of the genre, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. In keeping with Friday Night is Music Night's famed eclecticism, there was an incredible range of music from Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov ballets, to a jazz version of Some Day My Prince Will Come from Snow White. Hadley enjoyed reuniting Thumbelina and Tom Thumb in a small-but-mighty medley, before whisking us off to Hushabye Mountain, while Louise stopped the show with her version of The Wizard and I from Wicked. Having grown up with Disney, though, their versions of the fairy tales will always be my favourites, so I was grinning like the Cheshire chat through highlights from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and my recent favourite Tangled. Of course the evening could only end with Night on Bald Mountain, made famous by Fantasia, and completely spellbinding when performed by the full orchestra.