The first of two set reports today (after a conspicuous absence) from Outpost Gallifrey correspondent Ruth Gunstone features details of location work done in Rhossili, the western edge of the Gower Peninsula, over the weekend, including photographs which could be considered spoilers. The text is included in the spoiler tag; click on the images for larger versions.
Travelling to Swansea from Sheffield is a grueling 5-hour drive, so at the time of booking my place at "Regenerations 2005" I had decided to spend an extra day in Swansea so I could see something of the area.
Chatting to a fellow fan during Saturday's lunch-break, I mentioned that I was intending to do some sightseeing, and was recommended by the chap (so sorry, I didn't get his name), to visit the bay and headland of Rhossili, about one hour west of Swansea.
So, on Monday morning, after refuelling myself with a "Full English", I duly headed west, found Rhossili, parked my car, and walked out toward the "Worm's Head" - a spectacular outcrop of land joined to the headland by a causeway which can be walked at low-tide. Unfortunately, it wasn't low-tide, so after taking some photo's of the breathtaking scenery and fairly wild sea, I started back toward the car-park, intending to to get a quick cup of tea, and then drive on to somewhere else.
Walking around the cliff path, I noticed a group of people on the skyline, one of whom was holding a boom-mic. As I approached, I spoke to a lady who was sitting watching the proceedings. "What are they recording?" I asked, expecting something along the lines of a current affairs insert on the erosion of the coastline or somesuch. To my absolute astonishment, she replied "Doctor Who!", with a grin as wide as the Gower peninsular itself! I looked closer, and saw a lighting crew wrestling with a large fixture, and several other techy people wearing headsets and speaking into walkie-talkies. "Look" said my new acquaintance, pointing, "There's Billie - and there's David Tennant". "Haven't you seen the TARDIS?" she added, pointing back along the path. And there it was! Just on the horizon - I could make out the top half of the oh-so-familiar blue box!
"Give me a day like this!" I exclaimed, trying hard not to be too loud and disturb the shooting.
It was amazing! What were the chances of stumbling into this, the day after attending my first 'Who' convention? And even better - I had my new camera in my kit-bag, together with extra rechargeable batteries and a half-gig memory card. Bingo!!
I approached the filming area quietly, and managed to catch the eye of one of the crew. I mouthed and gestured a sort of "Am I o.k. to sit here?". He winked and smiled, so I took that as a "yes", sat down on the grass (being careful to avoid rabbit and sheep poo!), and got my camera ready.
The day was windy - /really/ windy, and Billie and David were having trouble with their costumes. Billie's hair was being blown about, as was David's long brown coat. The shot seemed to consist of the two of them lying on the ground (almost as if sunbathing!), and after some conversation, getting up, David putting on his coat, and the two of them walking off toward the TARDIS. David seemed to have real problems putting on his coat as the wind kept threatening to take it (and David!) over the cliff edge!
I was there for a good half-hour or so, and got some really good shots of Billie and David, as they rehearsed and recorded a scene.
A break for lunch was called. I took the opportunity to do the same, pausing on my way back to the car-park only to take a snap of the TARDIS, which looked surreal, sat there on this cliff-top.
After a very welcome pot of tea, and even more welcome steak-pie, peas and chips, I walked back along the cliff path. By this time, shooting had recommenced, but now the action was immediately outside the TARDIS, and involved a scene with Rose and the Doctor emerging from the TARDIS, and the Doctor telling Rose where and when they had landed.
*** Spoiler alert! *** As I mentioned earlier, it was a /very/ windy day (the sound guys were having problems with the noise), but I did manage to overhear something along the lines of "This is the year five billion and twenty-five, and it's the galaxy...".
The Doctor and Rose then laughed, and ran along the cliff-top, hair and clothes being pummeled by the wind.
The crew were obviously battling with the light - it was very overcast, and getting darker by the minute. The "Big Bertha" lantern was brought into play as they then set for another scene. This involved another actor, whom I didn't recognise. His make-up and costume were - "interesting"! Somehow I couldn't help but be reminded of Leo Sayer!
By this time, the weather was really starting to hamper the proceedings. The light was very low, and crew members dashed in with umbrellas and coats to try to protect the actors from the rain, which was now starting to fall. Electronic equipment was hurriedly covered in plastic sheets while the last few shots were recorded. Eventually a 'wrap' was called - much to the delight of one or two of the tech's who were starting to get thoroughly soaked!
I saw Billie dash for cover (with a good-humered scream!), and the crew started to dismantle the equipment. To my amazement, the roof of the TARDIS was carried to the truck, and I got a great view of its internal lighting arrangements!
As I walked away, back up the cliff-path, I looked back and saw the TARDIS lying horizontal on the ground, its roof absent. Now there's something you don't see very often!
Set Report and Photos 2: Gelligaer Common
General TV Series News
September 29, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
The second of our set reports is from location work done at Gelligaer Common, about an hour north of Cardiff in central Wales, courtesy our correspondent Steve Gerrard; the photos were taken during the filming of the second episode. Also included is a brief spoiler about episode one, "New Earth"; both are included in the spoiler tags. Click on each image for a larger version.
OUT ON THE WINDING WINDY MOOR . . . Blimey, I had a day yesterday. First of all I was late for my job centre appointment and then, after having it re-booked I was told to wait an extra half hour after I should have been seen. Anyway, not in the best of moods, I went home and heard a rumour that the new series of Doctor Who MAY be filming just five miles away from me. Not one to shirk responsibility, I put on my anorak - come on, we all have one - and went, along with my dad and the dog, to Gelligaer Common, approximately five miles from the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil, and about one mile from where the old Doctor Who series, The Green Death was filmed. You know, THE ONE WITH THE GIANT MAGGOTS....
Well, we parked the car and walked up to where we thought the Beeb may be filming. Couldn't mistake it really, not with those bloomin' great vans everywhere. We walked right up to where the cameras were, taking our time and care not to slip over any of the copious amounts of electrical leads strewn around the site. And there it was... The one constant thing about the entire programme... Standing proud, but dejected, atop one of the most bleak places in Wales - and let's be fair, Wales is pretty bleak at the best of times - the TARDIS! FANTABULOSA!!! There it was... In the flesh... Not quite in the flesh, but you get my drift. Any road out, I asked a production chappie if I could stand and watch, and as the site is a public area he said it should be okay. But I WASN'T TO STAND IN FRONT OF THE CAMERAS!!!! As if... Ahem, anyway... So, for the next ten minutes I saw a part of Series Two being made. What happened....? If you want to know the bits about the Doctor, skip the next few paragraphs as I ramble on and on about the minutae of what happened on that fateful day... Don't worry, I'll let you know in plenty of time... Oh, to hell with it - hoist up your skirts and let's go...
First of all, there was a black carriage - originally my dad thought it was a hearse - with some horses reined to it. There were some officious, and rather gallant looking foot soldiers with rifles pointing them at the Doctor and Rose. The sargeant atop the lead horse asked the Doctor who he was and this is what was said:
Soldier: (Thick Scottish accent) Who are you? And who is that half-naked strumpet? (At least that's what it sounded like to me) Doctor: (Thick Scottish Mockney accent) I am Doctor Jamie McCrimmon. I studied under Doctor Bell. (The Doctor shows him his psychic paper)
As the wind was really blowing, I couldn't quite make out what they said next. Rose looked cold. Then all of a sudden there was a booming voice saying "Cut! Lunch!" and they were gone. I do remember an assistant saying "All the soldiers go in the van!"
So there I was, with the TARDIS. Of course, I had photos taken. Sad, but strangely wonderful. Then, thinking that the day was over, we took the dog for a walk around where they filmed THE ONE WITH THE GIANT MAGGOTS. Well, flap me sideways... The production crew were there, along with the extras, scoffing their faces outside the food van. I saw Ms Piper and, being brave, I asked her if I could have a photo, it "Being a fan thing...". Wow! She obliged, and it looks lovely. Thank you Ms Piper!
Anyway, I thought that was enough for the day, and so went home, only to be told by my mum that she wanted to see David Tennant, as she's a big fan of his other work. So, off we traipsed again...
Basically, we saw the same set up, only this time a lot more filming seemed to take place. This time there were more soldiers, given directions to look as if they "meant business", and they all stood pointing their guns at the Doctor and Rose. Those two intrepid travellers walk up to the coach and a coachman opened the door. Blow me down with a feather!! Inside was Queen Victoria. Again the Doctor shows his psychic paper. Queen Victoria leans forward and takes it from him and says:
Queen Vic (not the pub in EastEnders): I see, Doctor. But you failed to mention that it says that you are to be my protector. The Doctor: Mumbles something I couldn't quite make out Queen Vic: Very well, Doctor... You shall accompany me... Drive on.
There were numerous takes of this scene - first of all was the rehearsals, then the filmed rehearsals and finally the filming itself. Most ran very smoothly apart from when one of the horses decided he'd had enough and almost fell asleep, causing the carriage to judder violently, and shaking ol' Queen Vic and the camera crew up considerably. There were multiple takes of close-ups, medium close-ups, wide shots, etc. The actor playing the Sargeant had to walk behind the camera crew and then step up a ladder so that his voice - offscreen - could be heard, to give the other actors a reaction to act against. All through this set up, the extras stood around, looking rather stoical, including earlier some as Buddhist monks looking rather cold with their shaven heads nicely catching the suns rays. Mr Tennant and Ms Piper also stood around in the cold, but were immediately given warm anoraks - see, we all have them - to wear. Poor Ms Piper, her outfit as you can see was not practical for time travel in bleakest Wales, and I did feel sorry for her. A break was called and me and my mum had our photos taken with Mr Tennant - see photo.
When with Mr Tennant, I asked him two questions, his answers are as follows:
Me: Mr Tennant, are you enjoying yourself, playing the Doctor? Mr T: I'm having A WHALE OF A TIME!!!
Me: Aren't you cold? Mr T: My ears are freezing... I've never experienced anything like this before!
And then time was called, and he had to return to the shoot. As you can see, the photos also show various set ups including Queen Victoria's carriage, and if you look carefully enough, Her Maj 'erself.
All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic experience. I thoroughly enjoyed watching a bunch of old pros at work, and above all else, I thought that Mr Tennant and Ms Piper were kind and considerate enough to take time from their busy schedule to talk to a sad anorak like me. Thanks.
EPISODE ONE "New Earth" SPOILERS
Contrary to popular belief, the Catwomen are in Episode One and are 'Nuns' - The Matron, the Sister and the Novice, in charge of a 'Plague Farm' where humans are experimented on, several of whom break out. The Duke of Manhattan is an obese character similar to Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers movies, or perhaps Baron Harkennon from Dune.
General TV Series News
September 29, 2005 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
Filming has occurred recently at Tredegar House in Newport... says an Outpost Gallifrey Forum correspondent, "My brother in law visited Tredegar House in Newport yesterday. This is a large house open to the public and only a short distance from the Newport studio. He says BBC Wales were building the Tardis in the basement but no one was allowed to see it." According to BBC Wales Southeast, "Ancestral home of the Morgan family and later the Lord Tredegars, this seventeenth century house is nestled just off the M4 near Newport. The Victorians re-modelled the original seventeenth century house so that they wouldn't have to receive guests straight into the Great Hall. They abandoned the main entrance, and turned the house on its side, building this new entrance in around 1850." Also, filming at the hotel building of the Headlands School in Penarth has taken place on September 29/30, with service vehicles located at the barrage car park ("Apparently, we will hear blank shots being fired!" says another of our Forum correspondents).