Updated: Jun 13
Production Diary Day 6: Saturday 2nd July Alley off Howells Crescent, Llandaff (AM) / Rhys' house, Grangetown (PM) I think most of us can agree that 5.45am is an ungodly hour. Surely, you should be tucked up in bed, dreaming of... well, whatever takes your fancy. Well, for a brave bunch of cast and crew, this was the call time for Saturday's shoot.
It's fair to say that Episodes 4 and 5 of this series of Whovians are like nothing else we've ever done before. Writer Hannah Celyn Griffiths has given us scripts that are truly epic in scale. It's really difficult to talk about these episodes without spoilers. But hopefully they will thrill you, scare you a little and maybe even break your heart. So why so early? Well, make-up for a start. Six background artists (including myself) were required for make-up prior to the shoot time of 8am. We used Rhys' house in Grangetown as a base and then, once main cast and crew arrived for a pre-shoot briefing, a convoy of cars headed up to Llandaff.
Essentially the morning shoot was a chase sequence which takes place in Episode 4. Bradley, Jen and a wounded Andrew are cornered in an alley by a group of people and they have to run for it. The shoot took about three hours in total as there were lots of different components to the sequence which needed to be done. Most of it was contained in the alleyway so there was very little disturbance, although we did have a few people come out and see what we were doing at a few points. Largely though, we were left alone. We also did film out on the main street for the end shots of Episode 4 which will leave the audience on one hell of a cliffhanger.
With Rhys directing, Teddy and Craig on cameras (when he wasn't being a background artist), Matthew Ford on sound and Jake Middleton as our production assistant for the day, the shoot went smoothly, even taking into account some heavy rain showers, a couple of- thankfully- minor injuries and a pair of broken glasses.
I'll be honest, my thighs are still aching from all the running (I'd never make a good Doctor Who companion!); I haven't done so much cardio in years! We were running in sections down the alleyway as well as doing a full-on sprint of about two-thirds of it. The background artists also had to do some movement work- lots of jerky, angular movements- for reasons which will become apparent when you see the episode. We were able to wrap this shoot at around quarter to 12. Huge thanks to our brilliant make-up artists Jasmine and Jody, and our fantastic background artists Paul, Matthew, Ian, Kelly and Craig for their patience, dedication and hard work. I've had a look at some of the footage and the early start was definitely worth it.
* * * Now after such an early start and a physically active morning, you'd be forgiven for thinking we called it a day and went back to bed. Not so! Instead, we headed back to Rhys' house, had a bit of a break and then started again at 1pm to shoot scenes from Episode 3. We had a fresh cameraman, Luke, for the afternoon and Matthew Fisher joined us to shoot scenes as Rob.
The scenes filmed in the afternoon follow on from scenes filmed last Saturday. Andrew needs to help Rob out with something and drafts Bradley in to give him a hand. Craig moved into the director's chair with Luke and Teddy on cameras, Matthew Ford on sound and Jake as production assistant again, given the rather thankless job of steadying an outside light which he did without complaint.
As with the morning, there were lots of different components that needed to be filmed- let's face it, we at Whovians do like a good montage. The afternoon featured a variety of props, from Doctor Who action figures to a few different hats and a particularly iconic scarf and also included the passionate destruction of a copy of Match Of The Day magazine (other football magazines are available) by- at this point- a very frustrated Bradley. It also gave rise to an exquisite piece of physical comedy that had the entire crew roaring with laughter. We wrapped the Episode 3 shoot just before 6pm. A busy, long day- some people putting in more than 12 hours- but the footage got was worth the effort. Huge thanks to everyone involved.