Tag Archives: David Tennant

Pompeii, Italy – April 2015

Pompeii and Vesuvius

Salve!

In this post I am back in Italy and this time I am in Pompeii! In my last adventure I visited Cinecitta, Doctor Who filming location for The Fires of Pompeii (2008) but today I am visiting Pompeii, the actual story location! David Tennant also went to Pompeii for the episode’s Doctor Who Confidential and was amazed by what he saw.

I travelled to Pompeii via train from Rome and had a little stop off at Naples on the way. I then took a train on the Circumvesuviana line and enjoyed looking at the mountains and the Bay of Naples for the short ride.

People believed Pompeii was destroyed in 79AD when Vesuvius erupted, but it was actually buried and now it has been uncovered we can see what life was like in Ancient Pompeii. When I arrived at the excavations of Pompeii I first went in to the Suburban baths which were the public baths for the residents of Pompeii. I prefer a bath at home myself!

In the Fires of Pompeii the Pyrovile want to make earth their new planet and are using Vesuvius to set up a fusion matrix to convert the human race into Pyroviles! They would use energy from Vesuvius which would stop the eruption but the Doctor knows he must let the eruption go ahead or the whole world would become Pyrovile.

Overlooked by Vesuvius

Vesuvius is the first volcano I have seen and it was breathtaking. I felt a little bit unsafe being so close to a volcano but I knew that people monitor it to check when it will erupt. Vesuvius has erupted 30 times since Pompeii’s tragic moment and last erupted in 1944 killing 26 people. With more than 3 million people living around the base of Vesuvius it is considered the most dangerous volcano in the world!

I walked up to the Foro which is just like the Town Centre. This is where the Pompeians came to shop, trade and worship all under the shadow of Vesuvius. This is where Lobus Caecilius (played by Peter Capaldi)  would have sold his marble sculptures and where he bought the TARDIS as a piece of Modern Art!

The Macellum was an indoor fruit and veg market so it would have been like popping to the supermarket for the Pompeians. In a glass case was a plaster cast of a body which was not nice to see. There were many casts to see at Pompeii preserving bodies at the moment of death which made me sad for the real people who were caught in the grip of the eruption.

Pompeii Macellum

After the Foro I walked up the Via di Mercurio to see the houses and I pictured Caecilius and his family living in one of the houses. There was even artwork on the walls which reminded me of Caecilius’ family worshipping their household Gods. On the way back from the houses I enjoyed a mystery flavour Gelato – possibly kumquat – then I explored some more baths! I am very glad that I have a bath in my own house!

Lobus Caecilius Fires of Pompeii

 

Pompeii was BIG! Next I set off right across town to where all the entertainment was held. The Amphitheatre is the oldest surviving Roman Amphitheatre and was used for gladiatorial  fights – nowadays it is sometimes used for concerts. I would not want to see a gladiator fight as it is cruel but for the Pompeians it would be entertainment. I think those people were sick! All over Pompeii I kept finding little lizards but in the Amphitheatre I found over 50!

Pompeii amphitheatre

From the amphitheatre I walked past the sports stadium, which was closed off, and made my way to the Teatro. The theatre was where Pompeians would watch performances of comedies and tragedies. I would have liked to have seen some of the comedies but not the tragedies as I prefer laughing to crying.

Pompeii theatre

I spent over 5 hours exploring Pompeii and by the end my body felt like jelly on a plate, I was worn out by exploring in the ridiculously hot heat. I had an amazing day and learnt a lot of things and felt so sad for the people who lost their lives in 79AD. I wish there really had been a Doctor to prevent the eruption but then the world would be in someone else’s hands.

Pompeii

Thank you for reading my post about Pompeii, I hope you have learnt a bit and have enjoyed reading about my adventure. I hope you will join me again another time.

Vale!

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Cinecitta, Rome, Italy – April 2015

Cinecitta entrance

Buongiorno!

This month Project Indigo went international and I travelled in my TARDIS to Italy – and now I am back and ready to tell you all about it.

In this post we are visiting Cinecitta (Cinema City) in Rome – filming location for the Doctor Who episode The Fires of Pompeii (2008). In this episode the Tenth Doctor and Donna arrive in Pompeii on 23rd August 79 AD, the day before Mount Vesuvius is set to erupt, and meet with the Pyrovile. This story is Donna’s first travel through time and also features the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, playing Caecilius and Karen Gillan as a Sibylline Soothsayer. Both Peter and Karen have English accents  – that must have been strange for them! The cast and crew travelled to Cinecitta to use the amazing ready built sets – they had considered Wales and Malta but they felt that Cinecitta was the place to be. This was the first time that Doctor Who had been filmed abroad since the Doctor Who movie in 1996.

Venusia Cinecitta

 

When I arrived the first thing I saw was a statue of Venusia from the movie Casanova by Federico Fellini.Then I went in the Fellini Room and watched a documentary about the fims made at Cinecitta. This room tells the story of Cinecitta from 1936-1945.Cinecitta is the largest film studio in Europe and was founded by the Italian Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, to boost the Italian film industry. It was bombed during the Second World War and afterwards was used as a refugee camp for two years.

Zoolander 2 Cinecitta

Next I took part in a guided tour of the outdoor sets. Some of the areas were closed to the public because two Hollywood movies were being filmed right then in the studios- Ben-Hur (2016) starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston and Zoolander 2 (2016) starring Ben Stiller! I didn’t get to see any of the filming unfortunately. Usually on the tour you can see the set of New York and Broadway created for the Martin Scorsese film Gangs of New York (2002) but that was being used for filming so I couldn’t see it.

Rome Cinecitta

 

I could see the set of Ancient Rome which covers about four hectares. It was created for the Anglo American TV epic Rome (2005) which starred Indira Varma from Torchwood who I saw last year in The Globe Theatre rehearsing Titus Andronicus. I have never watched Rome as it is a bit fruity I think! The set recreates Rome at the time of Julius Caesar and shows the buildings of The Roman Forum with the Via Sacra, Triumphant Arch and the Temples of Venus and Jupiter. Earlier in the week I had been exploring the real ruins of Ancient Rome such as the Colosseum , the Forum and Palatine Hill and I had a race in the Circus Maximus (which I won!)  so it was fantastic to wander around and see the colourful buildings as they would have looked two thousand years ago. These sets were made of fibreglass , plastic and wood and will only last 15-20 years – not 2000!

Rome Cinecitta

Doctor Who was filmed in the Subura area where people’s homes and workshops were created. I saw the streets of Pompeii where the Doctor and Donna landed in the TARDIS and where they witnessed the devastating event of Vesuvius’ eruption. Luckily for me there was no sign of the Pyrovile!

Doctor Who Cinecitta

After the Rome set I saw the set of a new film Christ the Lord (2016) which is due out next year and tells the story of Jesus as a young person. This film stars Sean Bean and Doctor Who actor David Bradley who plays Solomon in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012) and William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time (2013). I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures – Spoilers!

Rome Cinecitta

After a picnic I visited the Presidential Building which contained an exhibition all about the many films that have been made at Cinecitta including Roman Holiday, Ben Hur, Cleopatra The Taming of the Shrew, Quo Vadis and A Fistful of Dollars!  After the war Cinecitta became known as ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ with lots of American movie stars coming here to film. I saw lots of old cameras and film making equipment and writing and photographs and costumes telling the story of the great films that have been made here. I also watched lots of Western film clips including Django and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which I watched sat in a Saloon. My favourite part was the Facts and Figures room – a dark room with lights dancing round the walls and I span around until I felt sick – good thing I didn’t get sick! I left via a submarine set that was in the film U 571 – it looked just like a real submarine and it was hard to believe it was not real.

U-571 Cinecitta

I had a great time at Cinema City and enjoyed learning about all the films that have been made here. The studio was very big and it was so interesting and exciting to look around. Thank you for reading my first post about Italian Doctor Who locations – I have more to come and hope you will come back again. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of my first international report!

Arrivederci!

Coventry, West Midlands and Warwick, Warwickshire – January 2015

 

All Hallows Street

Happy New Year everyone!

This is my first post of 2015 and I hope it is a good one! On New Years Day I went on a short holiday to Warwick and while I was there I wanted to visit some Doctor Who locations around those parts. I went on to the fact-filled Doctor Who – The Locations Guide and discovered that filming for The Shakespeare Code (2007) had taken place in the area!

I had already been to The Globe Theatre and now was my chance to explore more locations from The Shakespeare Code. I had only just finished learning about the Tudor times at school so this was a surprise for me and I was excited about seeing some real Tudor buildings.  The Shakespeare Code was Martha’s first time-travel adventure with the Doctor and he took her to Elizabethan London in 1599.

Welcome to Cheylesmore Manor House

My first stop was Cheylesmore Manor in Coventry which was very easy to find as it was very close to where I parked my TARDIS! Cheylesmore Manor is now part of Coventry Register Office and while I was there people were arriving for appointments. What a cool place to have your wedding photos taken, it is the oldest Register Office building in the whole country and opened as a Register Office in 1968.

The current building is only part of the original manor house. It was first built in 1237 for the Earl of Arundel  and was then owned by Queen Isabella, Edward II’s wife before passing to her son Edward the Black Prince.

The Carrionite's house and famous window!

I could immediately recognise the building as All Hallows Street, home to the Carrionites.  I was most excited to see the window which Lilith leaned out of to watch Wiggins sing to her. Later in the episode she escapes out of the window with her doll of the Doctor leaving him for dead, and levitates outside . Luckily there weren’t any psychokinetic Carrionites around while I was there!

Welcome to Ford's Hospital, a place which is obviously Tudor !

Next I found my way to Ford’s Hospital, a few streets away. The exterior was used for The Elephant Inn where Shake-a- spear stayed. Ford’s Hospital was built in 1509 by local merchant William Ford. It was constructed as almshouses for men and women. An almshouse is a house which is funded by charity for poor people to live in, usually elderly people who can no longer work.

After 1800 it became a home for women only. Unfortunately the building was hit by a bomb during World War 2 and sadly eight people died. The building was restored in 1953 using original materials.

You can see through to the courtyard which was used in the episode as an Elizabethan street although I didn’t go in because it is private and still used as sheltered accommodation. If you would like to see some photos taken during filming please see the Historic Coventry website.

It must be so cool to live in an original Tudor building! I wonder what William Ford would say if he knew his almshouse would still be there in 500 years?

After Ford’s Hospital I spent a few hours exploring Coventry.

TARDIS at Coventry Transport Museum

In the afternoon I went to the Coventry Transport Museum and I found a tiny Time And Relative Dimension in Space! The TARDIS was part of a big collection of models collected by a collector called Tibor Reich and has been shown on Blue Peter. If you ever get a chance to go this great museum see if you can spot the TARDIS too!

Welcome to Lord Leycester Hospital!

Late that afternoon I returned to Warwick and went to The Lord Leycester Hospital.  Like Ford’s Hospital it is not a hospital for sick people as we would know it, the word ‘hospital’ meant “a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged” in Tudor times.  The buildings date back to the 14th Century but became a retirement home for old warriors during Elizabethan times. Even today the building still provides homes for ex-servicemen and their wives.

I recognised that this was the location where the TARDIS and the Doctor and Martha arrived in Elizabethan London and Martha asked “when are we?” – a useful time-traveller phrase which she used for the first time.  They narrowly avoided being covered in pee when someone emptied their chamber pot out of the upstairs window!

The outside of the building was used for the street scenes and the area outside the Elephant Inn. The Doctor and Martha were chased back there by Queen Elizabeth I’s guards and the TARDIS was hit by arrows ( like in Robot of Sherwood (2014)!) but luckily the TARDIS de-materialised in time!

I had a great day in Coventry and Warwick and hope you enjoyed reading about it. I hope I can go back that way another time and check out more Doctor Who filming locations. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon to check out more of my adventures through time and space!

Parting is such sweet sorrow! Goodbye!