Below are a collection of photos taken one week ago in Cardiff by correspondent John Williams as preparation began for the filming of "The Christmas Invasion" there, including shots of the department store being converted to Henrik's (complete with holiday angels); there are no actors present (although Billie Piper is seen from behind in one), as they are mostly shots of the production crew, but also an interesting look at the setup (with director James Hawes checking a shot angle on a tri-ladder, and the Confidential crew seen doing interviewing.) Also included below are Williams' reports from that location from last week; click on the spoiler tag for further details.
Monday 8 August
Having got word of the filming at the intersection of Wharton and Trinity Streets in Cardiff on Monday and Tuesday night this week through fellow Timelessö (Cardiff DWAS-LG) members, I successfully persuaded my wife to join me for a night of Whospotting. Arriving at around 7pm on Monday night, we found that a 30 ft Christmas tree was in the process of being decorated. Several Christmas market stalls were already in position, and both Howells and Waterstones bookstore window displays had jumped back in time to last Christmas (the sale offer dates on the display posters ended 12/04!). Oh, and you can get 3 for 2 Who novels, though itÆs unlikely that either of these elements will show up on screen.
After an hour or so of not a lot really, we decided to quench our thirst at the æis it?Æ bar next door. From our pavement table vantage point we watched more set dressing, before kindly being asked to move to allow for the arrival of a double-decker bus. Billy then arrived with Noel Clarke, and we watched several minutes of rehearsals. This comprised of them both running from something behind the market stalls. Apart from setting up the camera tracks and lighting rigs, it went quiet for a long time and we called it a night at 11pm.
Tuesday 9 August
This evening we were treated to a lot more action, as filming began at around 10.30pm. The first shot involved many extras dressed in heavy winter clothes, carrying Christmas shopping bags and presents. Before shooting, we were warned that the scene involved a series of explosions, and the police were asked to call HQ to warn them. Action had already occurred next to us in the crowd, where two less than appreciative drunken ônon-fansö had been cautioned by the police for the language they were using, which unfortunately including obscenities towards Billy.
Blocked mainly by the Christmas tree, the scene began shooting. Extras ran in terror with Rose and Mickey running through the stalls hand-in-hand, explosions going off around them. One of our less than courteous drunken neighbours shouted during the scene and was promptly marched away by the police once æcutÆ was called. Both Phil Collinson and James Hawes seemed more than happy with the result though, and the scene wasn't reshot.
We watched several more scenes being shot, most of which involved explosions from different camera angles. During one shot, an explosion went off just as Noel Clarke ran past it. He was thrown to the ground and the crew rushed over to him. Fortunately he seemed only to have sustained a ringing in his right ear, although it continued to aggravate him for some time afterwards.
As we called it a night again at 12.30, the next scene was to include 4 largely built Santas brandishing deadly brass instruments!