A couple more reports from the past several days regarding shots being taken on location in Cardiff, presumably for episodes 9 and 10 in the new season; click on the spoiler tag to read them. Meanwhile, a brief mention from one of the security guards to an Outpost Gallifrey correspondent: "They've just signed up to do another lot next year." Although you can take that in stride, as it's not likely any decisions will be made prior to the start of broadcast. (Thanks to Alex Willcox, Paul Mount)
Paul Mount: Last scene filmed - several times - showed a dozen or more 'zombified' humans in gasmasks - they looked like patients, nurses, etc, lurching out of the hospital doors. lots of mist drifting across and a cleverly-placed arc light on the other side of the road cast an extremely spooky shadow of a treebranch right across the building. Looked quire eerie. in other news....filming quite behind schedule but no-one particularly worried. Daleks...(note plural) very effective and super-sophisticated in filming for the Shearman episode, filming moves to barry island (home of Delta and the bannermen) for a week's filming next week and...start date for series on TV said to be first week in March. Now some of this came from the security bod who also said they'd filmed 17 episodes so far and that Christopher Biggleswade was the Doctor (when I corrected him he said he was always getting the names confused....Bigglewade is apparently a guest star in one episode or other. I've never heard of him myself) so there may be cause for some uncertainty but he seemed to know what he was talking about. Also said CE was a great bloke (he was chatting amiably to some young fans between takes tonight) and Billie is "lovely..."
Alex Willcox: There didn't seem to be much happening this morning, so I went back to bed for a couple of hours. I've just got back, and the place is being set up for tonight's filming. It is indeed Albion Hospital. There's a big Red Cross flag on the front of the building, and sandbags around the entrance and the gates. A quick chat with a security guard revealed a couple of titbits - they've been filming inside since noon, and will be doing exterior work after dark. The whole road's going to be blocked off, as "It'd look a bit odd, set in the 1930s, with modern cars going past."
The Hospital was mocked up with the same Albion Hospital sign used previously. Sandbags were placed around the doors and the main gate. A big Red Cross flag hung from the front of the building, and the windows had crosses of tape over them. A corrugated iron fence had been erected above the outer wall, with KEEP OUT signs, and several wartime posters, about A4 in size. The three I saw were: one about reusing old bottles, another giving advice on constructing your own air raid shelter, and the third warning not to burn or destroy wastepaper - every scrap is needed for the war effort. Another large sign saying Danger - Keep out was on the gates.
The first shot recorded was of The Doctor walking up to the gates of Albion Hospital, rattling them and, finding them locked. He takes out his sonic screwdriver, which shines a blue light, and the padlock opens. He then opens the gate and walks through. The camera starts high above the gate and swoops down, taking in the Albion Hospital sign, ending up at ground level as Chris walks into shot. We had a good view of the camera monitor, and this swoop looks very effective. After a few takes of this, a close-up of the sonic screwdriver and padlock was recorded.
The next shot was of the zombies coming out of the doorway (freshly painted blue!). There were about two dozen by my reckoning; men, women and children; all in period costume and wearing gas masks. I remember a large chap at the front in a purple tank top, two schoolgirls in brown coats, with satchels, and I think a nurse. They all appeared to have a cut or scar on their right hands. The zombies walked out of the door, and straight down the pathway to the main gates - no other movement or emotion at all. Three takes were recorded of this shot.
Finally, an establishing long shot of the Hospital was recorded from two positions on the far side of the road.
After all this had finished, we hung around for a few minutes, went over to the only member of the crew left around, tidying up, and asked if we could nab the posters. Much to our surprise, he said yes! We got props!
In between takes of the first shot, the camera assistant (whose name I didn't get) came over to chat to us. She confirmed that the filming was for The Empty Child, and told me about the shots they were filming, describing the Zombies as having "Empty Child Syndrome", though then told me that this was not a scripted name, and was just the name the crew use. She said she'd seen the TARDIS set, and that it was very good, and massive. I tried to find out where they were filming next, but naturally, she wouldn't tell me. She did say though that "You wouldn't want to go where we're filming next."
Finally, I'd just like to say that the crew were very courteous in tolerating our presence. Especially the Director who, after we were moved to the other side of the road when they noticed we were in view of the camera for the final scene, made the effort to come over and thank us for moving.