Updated: Jun 13
Block 2, Episode 2 - 3:30pm - 8pm, Various Locations around Cardiff
It finally happened. There were times when we thought even Mother Nature was against us, but at long last we managed to get the cycling shots for episode three, Andrew’s episode. It was dry, reasonably warm (if a bit cloudy, but at this stage we’re not complaining), so filming was a go.
A huge, grateful thank you has to go to Tez’s other half, Alex Marshman, for letting us borrow his trike so we could get the shots we needed.It must have been an odd site: Whovians’ director, Rhys Jones, pedalling a trike, with writer and exec producer Matthew Ford sat in the back, not only clinging onto the camera, but for his life. Rhys’ legs took a pasting, while Matthew’s buttocks got bruised going over Cardiff’s many speed bumps and the odd pothole.
During the auditions for Whovians, one of the questions we asked the male actors was, “Can you ride a bike?” It’s a good thing Ben Wilson can cycle, as he was doing loads of it! We started off down the Bay (outside the Atradius building, which we’re using as Andrew’s workplace), then off to Loudoun Square to get a sneaky shot of Ben cycling past the flats used for the Tyler residence in Christopher Eccleston’s opening episode of Doctor Who, over to St Paul’s Church in Grangetown for another nod to Eccleston’s Doctor (the exterior of the church was used in Father’s Day), and finally ending up in Llandaff, filming in the fields as well as the village (another nod to Who, the green featuring in Matt Smith’s first go as the Doctor, The Eleventh Hour) before calling it a day.It needs pointing out that while Ben and Matthew were being chauffeured around by our camera operator and all-round God send, Craig Handley, it was Rhys and sound supervisor Andrew White who pedalled all the way from the Bay across to Llandaff (plus detours).
St Paul’s Church in Grangetown was picked as a location because – usually – Paget Street is a quiet road and ideal for filming one of the few dialogue scenes in this montage. You couldn’t make it up… Cars, people talking ridiculously loudly from halfway down the street, doors slamming, music from speeding boy racers, one driver taking far too long to parallel park near to where we were filming, plus a group of children who, rather than cycle past and leave us alone, stopped directly in shot and stared right at the camera. These were just some of the many problems we faced. Guaranteed, the second Rhys said “Action!” there was noise coming from somewhere or someone walking into shot. Poor Andrew on sound wasn’t broken, but he very nearly cracked.
The filming in Llandaff went a lot more smoothly (still the odd pothole, mind), where we could fire through the shots we wanted. Problems arose when we tried filming the second and final dialogue scene for the day’s shoot. Clearly someone out there doesn’t just want the sound on Whovians to be terrible, they want it to be “What the hell?” bonkers. Pretty much the second we started filming Ben’s dialogue, music was blasting from somewhere nearby. We soon realised we had picked the same night as Llandaff Rugby Club’s summer bash to do our filming.Pedalling up to the green, as far as we could from the Rugby Club (the music was good, to be fair, all Blues Brothers soundtrack-type stuff; it just didn’t help us out all that much), we managed to get away with it by filming in-between songs (“Ray Charles is wrapping up! Go, go, go!!”), the music nowhere near the slap-bang in the middle of Glastonbury levels.Much thanks has to go to Ben for not only having to act and take directions, but the amount of cycling he had to do that afternoon/evening. Once again, it shows just how lucky we are with our cast and crew; the passion they have for what we’re trying to do here and going above-and-beyond what’s expected of anyone involved in a zero budget production.Thanks to Alex lending us the trike, we’ve got ourselves yet another classy looking episode.