Torchwood Location Filming, Charles Street, Cardiff, 4th May, 2006
by John Campbell Rees

The circus has moved on, if only temporarily, from Doctor Who to its spin-off series Torchwood, which had its first day of location shooting today. When I arrived at 4pm, there was filming inside the Bar Icon at one end of the street. Impenetrable black drapes covered the front of the bar, hiding the filming taking place inside from prying eyes. I thought the afternoon would be a bit of a wash out, so I wandered off to do some shopping.

After meeting up with Tim, I returned to Charles Street at 6.30pm, to find that filming had moved to outside the rear of Minsky's Nightclub. I immediately spotted John Barrowman and Eve Myles. Barrowman was wearing an old RAF Officer's greatcoat, similar to the one he wore when playing Captain Jack in The Empty Child/Doctor Dances. A few minutes later, I spotted Naoko Mori and Burn Gorman.

The Torchwood Range Rover aka the JackmobileThe very impressive vehicle that the Torchwood Crew used was parked opposite Minsky's. A souped-up and apparently armour plated Range Rover with the word Torchwood in embossed large friendly letters on the side (aka the Jackmobile). It looks as if the Art Department had a great deal of fun with this vehicle. Although, it must be an absolute pig to drive, as all the windows are black tinted glass, whilst the extra bits of fibreglass stuck on the body make it look armour-plated must really affect the aerodynamics and centre of gravity of the vehicle. Inside, the front passenger seat appears to have numerous screens and keyboards in front of it, making it look as if this car is also a mobile office for the crew. Burn Gorman was seen exiting the car from this seat during filming, which makes me suspect that the initial press release (which stated he was playing the group's medical expert, whilst Naoko Mori, who played a doctor in the Doctor Who story Aliens of London/World War III is the computer expert) is ever so slightly wrong.

The first scene I saw being filmed was the Torchwood crew getting out of the Jackmobile. They crossed the road, and three of the crew go down the stairs to nightclub, whilst Eve Myles stayed behind and talked to the two police officers guarding the entrance. On the second take, Burn Gorman tripped on the curb and fell in front of the road, much to the amusement of the assembled cast, crew and onlookers.

The next scene to be filmed was a close-up of Eve Myles talking to the local police. It is obvious that she is recognised by the officers and that she recognises them. Which leads me to suspect that the character of Gwen Cooper is a policewoman who has recently been seconded to Torchwood. The snatches of dialogue I heard were Captain Jack asking Gwen if she was going to be much longer, and Gwen asking the police woman on duty to "say hello for me", probably back at the Station where she until recently worked. Whilst filming this scene, a drunk wandered onto the location, an became loud and unruly when he was not allowed to continue down Charles Street. The on-site Security quickly bundled him away.

The final scene I saw being filmed before they broke for their lunch, and I had to head home was the Torchwood Crew's arrival in the Jackmobile. It was at this point that it started to drizzle. In order to make it look as if it had been raining heavily, a large truck belonging to Any Effects Ltd drove down Charles Street drenching the roadway, as the dampening from the light drizzle would not have registered.

Throughout the filming, Jack would be wearing the RAF greatcoat. The questions that springs to mind are
bulletWhere did he get it? The one he had in The Empty Child/Doctor Dances was destroyed with the timeship he was piloting?
bulletWhy does he feel the need to wear such an ostentatious outfit?

The highlight of the evening has to have been being within 10 yards of the lovely Eve Myles and Naoko Mori. Lowlight was the drizzle.

© John Campbell Rees, 2006

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