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Who is Where in Britain

Doctor Who locations as visited by Jon Preddle

Last issue I covered some of the Doctor Who experiences I had whilst in Britain last year. This issue, I will take you on a guided tour of some of the locations used in Doctor Who that I visited. I hope this provides a different perspective to the location guides published recently in DWM, and have presented the following in the form of a travel diary...

16 July

I had arrived in London from America the day before, so Monday was my first true day in England. I arrived at Gatwick Airport, the location for the 1966 story, The Faceless Ones. Armed with a copy of the guidebook Travels without the TARDIS and notes taken from the location guides published in DWM, I went on several sightseeing tours / location hunts.

[IMAGE]
Westminster Bridge

My first stop was Acton in North West London, a suburb commonly used for filming as it is near the BBC TV Centre. Acton was the major locale for Attack of the Cybermen, and places I visited were the scrap yard where Lytton had his base, the empty lot used as IM Foreman's junkyard, and the residential streets that the Doctor and Peri walked along in their search for the alien signals (Davis Road, Becklow Road, and Birkbeck Street).

It was also on this day that I visited Westminster Bridge and saw Big Ben, both seen in The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

17 July

I visited only two locations this day: John Sanders store in Ealing Broadway - famous for being the department store whose window dummies have a habit of coming to life and blasting people (Spearhead from Space); and Villers House in the same suburb. This is an ex-BBC building featured in The Enemy of the World as Giles Kent's HQ (and where missing The Ice Warriors films were located.)

18 July

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Obelisk

This day I visited many locations. First was Trent Park, situated in North East London, about a 75-minute train ride. It was here, in the grounds of Middlesex Polytech that Mawdryn Undead was filmed. Although it took me a while to find it, the obelisk on the hill is still there, although the bushes surrounding it are rather overgrown. The square urns that appeared in the serial aren't there, but the small bench that Tegan and Nyssa sat on is. Although access to the school itself was not possible, I was still able to view the grounds and saw the cottage that doubled as the Brigadier's home.

From there it was off to Butler's Wharf where Resurrection of the Daleks was filmed. In that story it is said that the warehouses were being converted into flats. When I visited, this had indeed happened, and the abandoned warehouses are now apartments and offices. The whole area has been completely revamped, however the iron girders still criss-cross the street overhead. Even the wharf itself has been extensively refurbished. The jetty where Tegan saw the man with the metal detector who was then shot by Lytton's men has gone.

[IMAGE]
St Paul's Cathedral

A short bus trip from there got me to Pudding Lane (The Visitation), and then a short walk to the infamous steps of St Paul's Cathedral. The large domed roof of the cathedral is a major London landmark, and I walked all around trying to find the famous steps, but they eluded me. Giving up, I crossed the road and went between two buildings covered in scaffolding - and there they were, the steps as seen in The Invasion with the Cybermen strolling down them after emerging from the sewers. At street level I found a manhole cover similar to those in the serial, although I was later informed by David Howe that the one actually used in the serial was covered up long ago.

19 July

I crossed Albert Bridge, where the Doctor spoke to the Watcher in Logopolis, and from there one can see onto the pontoon pier that the TARDIS landed after the Doctor's failed attempt to 'drown' the TARDIS.

20 July

When in London, a visit to Madame Tussaud's waxworks is a must, as well as the Planetarium. One ticket gives access to both attractions. The famous waxworks was, of course, used in Spearhead from Space.

I was planning to travel up to Sheffield on Saturday 21 July for a signing session at the Polytech there, but David Bishop talked me out of it. It would have been my chance to meet Sophie Aldred and Colin Baker!

22 July

As I was shopping in the area, I went to Willesden Cemetery, used in Remembrance of the Daleks. The chapel building looked was different, and I couldn't identify the 'Omega' grave. Oh, well...

23 July

[IMAGE]
Telecom Tower

I had hoped to visit Euston TV studios (where Verity Lambert works), but I was disappointed to discover that they don't give tours. Nearby however was the Telecom Tower seen in The War Machines.

24 July

Also worth a visit is the Museum of the Moving Image, which I mentioned last issue. The exhibit is located on the South Bank in the National Theatre complex. This 'ugly' building came to mind when the Doctor Who production team needed a futuristic-looking building to stand in for the prison in Frontier in Space. Running around the complex, one can be forgiven for thinking that Ogrons and Draconians are lurking nearby...

26 July

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Perivale

This was the day I visited the BBC (see last issue), but first I went to Perivale, Ace's hometown. The playground through which the Cheetah people chased Ace is just opposite the train station. At first the streets seen in Survival eluded me. I found the shops, and some distance away is Horsenden Hill. From the top, one can look across Perivale and the surrounding districts. It was here that the infamous motorcycle battle took place. Interesting to note, the telephone box that Ace used is nowhere to be seen!

Later I returned to Willesden Cemetery, previously visited on 22 July, but this time with a photo of the grave used in Remembrance of the Daleks, and yes, I found it, so it was the right cemetery after all.

27 July

[IMAGE]
The church from
the Daemons

I hired a car so I could drive to the south of England. I visited relatives who lived in Alton. This was a good place to stay, as it is central to many of the places used by the BBC. Aldbourne is a little village in the middle of nowhere - this sort of village is found all over England. The Dæmons was filmed here, and even today, the church and village green look unchanged. The maypole isn't there, but the pub, 'The Blue Boar' still houses the 'Devil's Hoof' sign inside. Definitely worth a visit.

28 July

Aldbourne is near Stonehenge, and I covered this area the next day. Stonehenge is worth a visit too, however due to erosion, the stones themselves are roped off, and so you have to admire their beauty from some distance. Next was Longleat, manor of the Duke of Bath. It was here that the 1983 Doctor Who celebration was held. Within the grounds are public attractions like a hedge maze, mini railway and gardens. The house, too, is worth a visit. The original painting of the 'Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies' from 'Allo 'Allo is hanging in one of the state rooms, donated by the BBC. But the best attraction of all is without a doubt the Doctor Who exhibition. On display inside a huge TARDIS-shaped building are Haemovores, Yeti, Cybermen, Fifi and Cheetah people. The display changes every year, and this year the display concentrates on the McCoy era, with something from each of his stories there. Opposite is the Doctor Who shop, where lots of merchandise can be bought.

North of Stonehenge is Avebury, site of another stone circle, apparently older than Stonehenge. This village appeared in the short series Children of the Stones. Very spooky.

29 July

Arundel Castle is located south of London, on the road to Brighton. It was here that the BBC filmed Silver Nemesis, doubling for Windsor Castle. It cost too much to get admission to the castle grounds so I had to enjoy it from the outside. Arundel village, however, is accessible, and one can wander down the street looking as puzzled by the variety of shops just as Lady Peinforte and Richard did in the serial.

I chose a bad day to go to Brighton - there was a cycle race on, so most of the streets were closed to traffic. I decided to return to Alton and go back the next day.

30 July

[IMAGE]
St Lawrence's church
from
The Curse of Fenric

Back in Brighton I walked along the promenade and pier glimpsed in The Leisure Hive. JNT lives nearby. Nearby is Bodiam Castle, which featured as Fitzwilliam Castle in The King's Demons. Again, it costs to actually enter the grounds, so instead I walked around it.

One of the highlights of my touring around this area was visiting Hawkhurst. Situated at the end of one of the many roads criss-crossing the town centre is St Lawrence's, the medieval church that was renamed St Jude's for The Curse of Fenric. The cemetery that featured the fake tombstone for the Sundvik family was easily recognisable, but the door against which McCoy, Aldred and Nicholas Parsons posed for a publicity photo, I didn't recognise. The school across the road was used for part of the Naval station and the mine workings. A haunting place to visit.

From there it was on towards Tunbridge Wells to visit a friend. On the way, I passed through the town where Harrison's Rocks can be found - but I couldn't find them! These rocks are popular with mountain climbers, and appeared in Castrovalva and The Mind Robber. From the road, I also viewed Blackhurst House, the private residence that became Cranleigh Hall for Black Orchid.

31 July

On this day I only went to Leeds Castle, again it was very expensive to get in, so instead I peered through the trees. This castle was used in The Androids of Tara.

1 August

Back in London, I started making my plans for travelling to Europe, but first a quick stop off at Cornwall Gardens, used as UNIT HQ in The Mind of Evil, and the nearby pedestrian pathway in which the Doctor trapped one of the War Machines.

Whilst in Europe...

Paris: As seen in City of Death. I visited the Louvre - it takes hours to queue, and the Eiffel Tower (don't use the elevators - walk up the steps!)

Amsterdam: I saw the flower markets and bridges used in Arc of Infinity. The house with the crypt is actually located outside the city so I didn't see it. Also worth a look is Anne Frank's house.

Vienna: There I found a shoe shop called TARDI'S!

31 August

Back in London, I went to Heathrow to try and find the mezzanine floor that the TARDIS arrived on in Time-Flight, but it eluded me.

4 September

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[IMAGE]
Cambridge

I caught a train up to Cambridge, famous for its university. Used in Shada, Emmanuel College is open to the public. This features the cloisters, and porter's house from the story. After a bit of a walk I reached the river Cam, where the Doctor and Romana went punting, as seen in The Five Doctors. I found the bridge that their punt passed under when the black shape swallowed them, but most of the river crosses private land.

After looking around Cambridge, I took the train back to London, but stopped off on the way at Oakham in the hope of visiting the locations used in Battlefield. It was getting dark by this time, so I missed my chance, although I'm sure I saw the lake from the train.

7 September

In August I had tried to locate the school that featured in Remembrance of the Daleks but I had been unable to find it. However this day I went back to Hammersmith, armed with a street name obtained from DWM editor John Freeman, and finally located St John's School on Macbeth Street. Annoyingly a ruddy great bus was parked right in front of the main entrance, making the taking of decent photos rather difficult.

11 September

I left London for the Northern aspects of Britain. During the next few days I visited various SF shops in Birmingham, Leicester - and I finally managed to get to Sheffield!

15-16 September

I attended FantasyCon, a two-day event in Birmingham. I got to speak with Warriors' Gate and Terminus writer Stephen Gallagher, who told me the storyline for his unused Season 21 story.

17 September

Off to Wales - and in particular Portmeirion, the Italian-style folly near Portmadog, used as the Village in The Prisoner series, seen also in The Tripods but better known as San Martino in The Masque of Mandragora, This place is really amazing.

Near here, in Snowdonia, The Abominable Snowmen was filmed, and just south a bit is the landscape used as Gallifrey in The Five Doctors, but I didn't visit these locations.

18-21 September

I visited Scotland. As mentioned last issue, Glasgow still has Police Boxes, and I visited the Museum of Childhood with its Doctor Who display.

21 September

I stopped off at Blackpool on my way back south; this is the location that would have been used for The Nightmare Fair - it's a weird place; very wet, cold and smelly!

24 September

Back in London, I returned to Perivale after viewing a video of Survival, and I managed to identify the streets. I also found the judo hall used as the boxing club building.

28/30 September

Sadly my three-month trip was over, and I flew back to New Zealand. (Never go direct - I lost a day, and landed in Auckland at 8am Sunday.)

This item appeared in TSV 22 (April 1991).