Block 2, Episode 3 - Various Locations
So, myself and Matt set off to Cardiff Bay at 6:25am. We met our cast at 6:30am, ready to start our
shoot. Today we were filming what is best described without spoilers, as a… No, can't describe
what we were doing without spoilers. Scenes from episode 3 – leave it at that!
We arrived at Roald Dahl Plass and again, the Bay has failed us. We had checked the events
calendar for the city and that weekend: nothing going on. However, when we arrived we were
greeted with fences, half-built stalls and placards. Cardiff Food & Drink Festival does not kick off
until Friday 10th July, but construction for this event has already begun, making the Plass look like a
worksite, making the area unfilmable!
With a page of dialogue still to film we moved onto the next set up in Grangetown. We had two
scenes to film that day, one of these scenes being split across various locations, so I decided we
would have to film what we planned to do at the Plass another time and move on. The irony that
Cardiff Bay has yet to make it into a shoot has not been overlooked by us, Torchwood of course
being heavily filmed in the area makes it an ideal location for our series. I’m sure we will get it in!
The park in Grangetown is a location that has featured in Doctor Who episode ‘Silence in the
Library’. We filmed a good page of dialogue with our first two actors of the day, Ben Wilson playing
Andrew, who was joined by John Hutch, his first day with the production playing the Man in Black.
The scene was good fun to film, great to work with John, who we let loose, like a wild animal, to be
as villainous and enigmatic as possible. We had our usual fun filming on location in Cardiff:
7:00/7:30 in the morning we still had a number of people walking their dogs. Making this series has
put me off wanting a dog – they’re more demanding and noisy than children! We wrapped up the
scene at about 7:30am and moved on, for the first time, out of Cardiff. The road trips of the day
began: Whovians on Tour!
We headed off in a convoy of two cars towards Beddau, where we met Craig, our B Cam Operator,
at Cwm Coke Works. Cwm Coke Works was closed in 1987 and has been abandoned ever since; it
is an amazing place to go and see if you live locally. There is a public footpath around the site. It is
private property and dangerous to go onto the site, looking ready to collapse any minute. The
abandoned car park outside the site gave us an amazing view/backdrop for the scene and was
perfectly legal and safe to film there. Ben and John played around with the backdrop, Ben giving a
dramatic, heartfelt performance: not bad considering it was 9-10am!
After a quick coffee break, we carried on with our road trip to Dunraven Bay. Dunraven has been
used in Doctor Who various times, most famously as Bad Wolf Bay. We arrived, took a walk to
figure out the best way to approach the afternoon ahead. We had a beautiful sunny day, which of
course was filling the beach with people wanting to enjoy their day. What we discovered was an old
mansion house garden surrounded by stone walls and a medieval-looking tower. All public access,
so we filmed the scene we had to abandon in the Bay earlier that morning. Between holiday makers
wondering what we were doing and children being children, we got the scene filmed.
We relocated after a picnic lunch to the beach. Ben and John filmed the final piece of their scene
puzzle against the rocks – recognisable to any Whovian! John gave a full pelt performance as our
Man in Black. Pleasure to work with him, always full of energy and a real laugh to be around.
The rest of the day. Lisa Grace had arrived with a couple of extras in tow. We spent the rest of the
afternoon filming the opening sequence to Episode 3, a scene… No! Spoilers!
The scene involved three extras, with Ben and Lisa running all over the beach, giving their best
action poses as the Doctor and Billie Piper. Saying no more! The extras were fantastic, Steven,
Harry and our very own Matthew Ford! They were dressed in black costumes, wearing masks on a very hot day – they seemed to love it, never complained, pretending to shoot each other in the face with their guns. Give someone a water pistol made to look like a ray gun and they’re happy!
Diary of an Extra – by Matthew Ford
Filmmaking on a budget is a tricky business. Thankfully (and without putting a curse on us), we’ve
been incredibly lucky with the filming of Whovians so far. Sadly, one of our extras dropped out and
with only a day-or-two before filming, I was asked to step in.
Wasn’t sure what to expect; will Rhys do his best Stanley Kubrick impression, shouting at us and
making us do a hundred plus takes? I got given a mask to wear, which meant I could only see
straight ahead, no peripheral vision (I managed to mess up a shot by barging right into a tripod) as
well as a massive cape, that swirled all over the place in the wind, looking very moody (who
doesn’t love a big swirly cape?).
When it came to filming, it was like being a child again, having to walk menacingly and fire on command. I’m no De Niro, but I like to think my evil, menacing side was on show. Without giving anything away, this scene is going to look amazing once it’s been tinkered with in post-production: very fifties/sixties Dan Dare sci-fi.
A massively enjoyable few hours, with Rhys doing his best George Lucas impression.
After much running around and Rhys screaming “WALK… FIRE!” We wrapped after a long but
enjoyable day. On the drive back, myself and Rhys both noticed we had managed to burn ourselves
after we had told the cast and crew to be careful in the sun!