Doctor Who Location Report : Mount Stuart Square
by John Williams

At around 10.30 on Saturday 7th January, I arrived in Mount Stuart Square to the magical cry of "action" emanating from around the farthest right-hand corner. As I approached with my 8 year old son Gareth and his best mate William, two armed soldiers dressed in camouflage uniforms marched around the corner towards us, followed by two young lads in suits, each wearing what looked like a hands-free ear-piece. Once rounding the corner they relaxed, as they were apparently now out of shot. We moved to one of the side buildings once we knew it was safe to be nosey, where we had a great view of the proceedings. Billie and David were about 30 feet away from us, between a row of parked cars, waiting for their cue for the re-shoot. As usual, they were happily larking about between scenes, despite the nip in the air.

The scene was re-shot twice more, involving the Doctor and Rose casually walking down the street chatting to one another, with about 30 extras (including policemen and soldiers) going about their daily business. A silver van was seen to be driving down the street, and was also present in the two other scenes I saw.

We overheard via a nearby walkie-talkie that the last shot was a goer and that they were relocating to a neighbouring street. This scene was a close-up discussion between the two leads, and took only 10-15 minutes to shoot - a quick rehearsal, followed by only two takes. It was at this point that I was spotted with my video camera, and I was politely requested to refrain from using it.

By now though, the boys were getting a little restless, not to mention cold. So we took time out to revisit the exhibition, as William hadn't seen it.

Returning about a hour later, and briefly encountering a certain Mr. Farr, we viewed the next scene being shot in another of the Square's very Londonesque streets. This involved much of the same (extras, walking, chatting etc); this time with close-ups and high shots using a crane.

Shortly afterwards, along with the collected crowd, we were ushered out of the street, as despite being quite a distance away we were all in background shot. We decided to call it a day then, because the boys' attention span had been exhausted, and I'd also promised to show them the Bad Wolf graffiti.

© John Williams, 2006

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