Tag Archives: Wales

Plas Brondanw Gardens , Gywnedd – August 2015

Welcome to Plas Brondanw Gardens filming location of The Five Doctors
Welcome to Plas Brondanw Gardens!

Hello and welcome back to August 2015 – let’s go to Plas Brondanw Gardens in North Wales! We are here to learn all about this Classic Doctor Who location where the episode The Five Doctors (1983) was filmed. This was a special episode made to celebrate Doctor Who’s Twentieth Anniversary that featured all five of the Doctors from the first 20 years, and many companions. It would have been hard to believe then that one day there would be thirteen Doctors and a Fiftieth Anniversary celebration!

Plas Brondanw is in Carreg Llanfrothen in the county of Gwynedd. It was the home of the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who created the village Portmeirion (aka San Martino if you are a Doctor Who fan!) The gardens and village share the same style. The house was built by John ap Hywel in the 16th Century. Clough Williams-Ellis was given Plas Brondanw by his father in 1908 when he was aged 25, with the aim to restore it and take care of it. And boy did he do a good job!

The home of Clough Williams- Ellis and family at Plas Brondanw
The home of Clough Williams- Ellis and family

I visited the gardens in Summer 2015 when I was on my journey around Wales. It was not nice weather when I visited, I had to travel through the rain and wind, through thick and thin, but luckily I made it there in the end. I took my TARDIS through the Snowdonia National Park and the journey was worth it as I got to see the picturesque mountains along the way.

When I arrived I had some lunch in the café to warm me up and I sheltered from the rain. When it cleared up I explored the gardens.

These gardens were where the First Doctor was stolen by the Time Scoop and taken to the Death Zone on Gallifrey. Sadly William Hartnell had passed away so Richard Hurndall was called upon to play the role of the First Doctor instead.

Luckily for me I am still around to tell the tale because there was no sign of the Time Scoop and it was very tranquil in the garden. It was fun to spot the places where the Doctor had walked. I wonder what he was doing there. Maybe he was trying to take his mind off the whole regeneration thing as he knew his body was growing frail.

Next I went into the forest and up the hill to see Folly Castle. A folly is a quirky or extravagant building or structure built for fun or to make a view more interesting. A plaque says

This outlook tower was subscribed for as a wedding present to Clough Williams- Ellis and his bride Amabel Strachey in 1915 by his brother officers of the Welsh Guards. In the Second World War it was prepared as a local military strongpoint to repel the expected German invasion.

 

At the beginning of The Five Doctors the Fifth Doctor, Turlough and Tegan are relaxing and admiring the view at the Eye of Orion aka the folly. The Doctor said that

‘For some the Eye of Orion is the most tranquil place in the universe’.


Turlough was making a picture and said he felt ‘so calm and relaxed’. Everything was nice and peaceful until the Doctor had a twinge of cosmic angst caused by temporal instability. I loved the view too and felt a ‘high bombardment of positive ions’. I particularly enjoyed climbing up and down the tower.

A panoramic shot of the Eye of Orion aka Plas Brondanw
Welcome to the Eye of Orion

These scenes were the first to be filmed but due to a technical difficulty they had to be reshot. Mark Strickson, who played Turlough, had gone on holiday when this was discovered and the BBC had to search the country to find him!  As well as Doctor Who, scenes from the Ingrid Bergman film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) were filmed at the folly.

Tom on the swing at Plas Brondanw
Enjoying my childhood whilst I still can!

I had a lovely afternoon at Plas Brondanw despite the weather and I would love to go back there on a sunny day. You should go there too but make sure it is the right day for the weather so you can really enjoy it.

Thank you to Doctor Who The Locations Guide for helping me to find this filming location. Also, thank YOU for reading!

Ouch! My TARDIS cast

I’m sorry I haven’t written a post in a while, I have had a lot going on, including some exams, and I also broke my wrist! Luckily my wrist is a lot better now. I will be in Dublin next week, if any readers know any Doctor Who related places I can visit there please let me know.

Right, I’m off to wrestle Rassilon. Goodbye!

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Portmeirion, Gwynedd – July 2015

Tom Project Indigo at Doctor Who filming location Portmeirion
Welcome to Portmeirion!

Ciao! Welcome to Fifteenth Century Italy – otherwise known as Portmeirion in July 2015! We are travelling back in time to last summer to visit North Wales for the filming location of the Tom Baker Doctor Who episode The Masque of Mandragora (1976).

In this classic episode, The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane materialise the TARDIS in an orange grove on Earth in the 15th Century, which the Doctor describes as

‘not a pleasant time’.

They are in San Martino, Italy in 1492 and have brought a piece of energy from the Mandragora Helix with them by accident! This story is a historical drama which was rare for Doctor Who at that time.

The Gate House at the entrance to Portmeirion
The Gate House at the entrance to Portmeirion

Portmeirion is located in area of Wales called Gwynedd and is near Porthmadog. It was designed and built by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the style of an Italian village, and it is now a tourist village. Work started in 1925 and it took 50 years for him to build this village but it was finished just before he died. He built it to show how you can develop a naturally beautiful site without ruining it. If you would like to find out more about the history of Portmeirion please check out this excellent blog post A Very Brief History of Portmeirion Village.

Apart from Doctor Who, Portmeirion has served as the location for many films and television shows, and is very well known as the filming location for the 1960s television show The Prisoner. It is also famous for pottery – in fact my own plates are made by Portmeirion Pottery from the Botanic Garden range .

I visited Portmeirion during my Welsh road-trip of 2015 and it was my first Northern Wales stop – the weather was very sunny which showed off the colours of Portmeirion and it looked very cheerful.

In The Masque of Mandragora DVD extra ‘Secret of the Labyrinth’ (the original name for this episode) the episode Producer Philip Hinchcliffe said that he had been to Portmeirion many years before and that the writer Louis Marks had studied Renaissance Italy at Oxford. They couldn’t go abroad to film this episode but Portmeirion stepped up!

The Central Piazza at Portmeirion
The Central Piazza. What a view!

Production Manager Chris D’Oyly-John thought it was good news that they had a location but a lot of time and money was spent travelling back and forth between London and North Wales. With travelling the shoot would take 5 or 6 days and there were no motorways. It was hard to get horses, props, costumes and make-up vans there.

To keep it looking like 15th Century Italy the Director Rodney Bennett did very selective shooting and not many panoramic movements. He used the Italianate backgrounds and covered up bits that didn’t look right for the period. A fake catacomb entrance was made to link the studio scenes with Portmeirion.

Set design at Portmeirion
These were covered up during the episode.

There is also a DVD extra, produced by Richard Bignell, called Now and Then. It says that in a memo, written on 03.01.76, Philip Hinchcliffe said:

‘The only suitable location for exterior location filming is Portmeirion in North Wales’.

Filming started on the 3rd of May 1976 and lasted three days. In three months it will be the 40th Anniversary!

The DVD extra shows us a map the places that were used for filming. I didn’t get to visit the woods but I visited everywhere else in the village.

The first stop was the Bridge House which was used as the City Gate when Count Federico returns to San Martino. He also passes the Pantheon.

Battery Square was used for the market scene when the Doctor was on the run from the soldiers. Hangings were used to hide the bits that didn’t look suitable. There was no market when I was there, it was all set.

The Doctor passes The Loggia which houses a big Golden Buddha.

The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Giuliano scurry along the Bristol Colonnade on their way to the Temple Ruins.

In the Piazza there is a gloriette facing the ornamental pond. The Doctor is brought there to be executed but luckily tricked the executor to get away. It’s not a real building, it is just a façade. Rugs covered the iron work in the same way the hangings were used.

The Doctor rode a horse past the Hercules Hall and jumps the balustrade and steps on his way to the woodlands.

The beach at Portmeirion is the estuary of the River Dwyryd.
The beach is the estuary of the River Dwyryd

Between Neptune and Trinity Cottages, the Doctor is chased, past the Watchhouse and Belltower down towards the beach.

Clough Williams-Ellis liked the look of the ruins Temple of Demnos and asked the BBC to leave them. Sadly they were made of polystyrene!

Jim Sangster, a TV Historian said

‘…..we know it’s Portmeirion, but actually when you are watching it I don’t think that distracts, I don’t think it gets in the way at all. I’m absolutely convinced they went to Italy as far as I’m concerned’

which proves that Portmeirion was the most convincing place to film The Masque of Mandragora!

Portmeirion is Bellissimo
Bellissimo!

Portmeirion is a calm, tranquil and cool place to visit and is worth the travel. My favourite part was paddling in the pool in the Piazza – I was lucky that it was sunny that day because it is Wales which is a very rainy country. I hope that it will be bright for you too if you go.

Paddling at Portmeirion
Getting soaked!

In other news, I am VERY peeved about the latest Doctor Who news – Steven Moffat is quitting and there will be no new series to watch in 2016! I guess I will just have to watch some old episodes instead – there are lots for me to watch still so at least I have that to look forward to. What do you think of this news? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Thank you for reading my post, I have another classic location to tell you about next.

Arrivederci!

West Wales Museum of Childhood, Carmarthenshire – August 2015

The entrance to the West Wales Museum of Childhood
Welcome to the West Wales Museum of Childhood

Croeso and welcome to the West Wales Museum of Childhood in ….West Wales! We are travelling back in time to August 2015 for a trip down Memory Lane. I visited the West Wales Museum of Childhood during my summer road -trip around Wales, and I popped into the museum when I was leaving Newcastle Emlyn on my way to visit Conwy. I got a big surprise when I discovered there were a lot of Doctor Who toys there – I was expecting all the toys to be old fashioned.

The West Wales Museum of Childhood is at Pen-ffynnon, 1 mile from Llangeler in Carmarthenshire. There is a tea room and a gift shop and the museum has 10,000 exhibits! A warm welcome is offered to ‘everyone who is – or ever has been – a child’.

The museum was created by Paul and Hilary Kennelly and Vic Davey to display the toys and memorabilia that they have been collecting for most of their lives. They bought the farm, Pen-ffynnon, in August 2002 and gradually turned it into the place I am reviewing today. I had a good chat with Hilary and she told me that she met the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, many years ago when he was playing Worzel Gummidge.

When I arrived I went into the ‘Oriel Amser’ (Gallery of Time ) which is a timeline of the 20th Century with memorabilia and displays of toys to look at.
Next to this is a stable where you can see costumes and traditions from Wales, and an antique toyshop window ‘Siop Deganau’ displaying Welsh toys.

Metal toys at the West Wales Museum of Childhood
Spot the TARDIS!

Next door is a barn full of little metal toys and an old school room that shows you what school was like in Wales’ old days. Next is the carthouse which contains train sets and a huge collection of Action Man toys.

The school room at West Wales Museum of Childhood
Hope I don’t have to wear the Dunce’s Hat!

Finally we come to my favourite bit – the Doctor Who stuff in the Television and Film Gallery! This was originally the kitchen in mid-Victorian times. It contains lots of merchandise from film and television over the last 60 years. At the entrance is a magnificent mural painted by Paul, depicting a Dalek exterminating a TV , whilst the Eleventh Doctor and James Bond have a sonic weapon-off!

The TV and Film Gallery at West Wales Museum of Childhood
The TV and Film Gallery

The room is crammed with Sci-Fi treasures including an original Dalek Dress-up suit from 1965. I dressed up as a Cyberman but deleted nothing as I was a good Cyberman. I would recommend any Doctor Who fans who live in, or visit West Wales, to go and see this collection. There are A LOT of special Doctor Who treasures to treasure which have been happily collected and displayed for you to enjoy. It was lovely to look at the toys and imagine what it would have been like to be a Doctor Who fan 50 years ago and I even saw some items from my own toybox.

This museum was an amazing place to visit and I really enjoyed riding on the kiddy cars. If you are ever in Carmarthenshire make sure you stop off and see it for yourself! If you have been already please leave a comment and tell me what you liked best.

Tom playing at the West Wales Museum of Childhood
I’m a little kid again!

In other news, I am off to London this weekend to go to the Doctor Who Festival! There will be lots of stars there including Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver. I hope you will come back soon so I can tell you all about it.

Goodbye!

The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire – July 2015

Welcome to the National Botanic Garden of Wales!
Welcome to the National Botanic Garden of Wales!

Hello and welcome to my post which is coming to you from Mars!

Just kidding – we are actually at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. In the Doctor Who episode The Waters of Mars (2009) the Tenth Doctor visits Bowie Base One on November 21st 2059 and the National Botanic Garden was used as the filming location for Biodome 1. In ‘Doctor Who Confidential’, it said that Russell T Davies (who wrote the script along with Phil Ford) had the Botanic Garden in mind when he wrote the story!

In The Waters of Mars the Doctor encounters The Flood. In real life, just over a week ago, Nasa released satellite pictures of Mars which shows evidence of flowing water! This is big news because, if it is water, it could prove there are such things as Martians! Water is  vital for humans and this discovery might mean we could explore Mars ourselves instead of using robots and maybe even live there in the future! Luckily there was no sign of The Flood when I was there….

I visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales during my summer holiday whilst I was staying in Carmarthenshire. This is the most visited garden in Wales and was opened in May 2000, the first botanic garden of the new millennium and it is built on parkland dating back 400 years. I was very chuffed to be able to use my Blue Peter badge for free entry!

When I arrived I walked through the Broadwalk to The Rock of Ages which tells the story of 300 million years of Welsh geology. I found a rock from Silurian times (Madame Vastra, you should make a visit to see this rock!). In Doctor Who we learnt that the Silurians are lizard like creatures that have lived on earth since pre-historic times -longer than us humans. This rock was 431 million years old!

Inside the Biodome at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
Inside Biodome One on Bowie Base One!

Next I went into The Great Glasshouse aka Bowie Base One’s Biodome 1! This is the world’s largest single span glasshouse and is based on the shape of a raindrop. It has an amazing indoor display of Mediterranean climate plants and protects and conserves many endangered plants. These plants come from six areas of the world – California, Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa and the Mediterranean Basin and it feels like you are travelling the world in Wales!

In The Waters of Mars the Tenth Doctor meets the first human colonists of Mars, led by Captain Adelaide Brooke. I found out that the glasshouse has the same climate as Adelaide – the city not the person. Adelaide in Australia is one of two places in Australia that has a Mediterranean climate. I wonder if that is how Russell T Davies came up with her name?

Half way through my exploring I stopped for lunch at the café and I was surrounded by a bunch of hungry birds – I even saw one hop into the kitchen. In the episode Captain Adelaide explained that the crew had taken birds with them to Mars to keep the insect population down in the Biodomes to help the crops grow.

Up high in the Biodome at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
No sign of the Doctor and Adelaide from up here!

It was sweltering inside the dome, a lot warmer than the Welsh climate. I felt as warm as if I was in a hot-air balloon. I explored all around, up high and down low and it was very peaceful. I didn’t see The Waters of Mars but I did find a lovely indoor waterfall, complete with fish.

Tom by the waterfall in the National Botanic Garden of Wales
How many fish can you spot in this pond?

After I left the glasshouse I travelled the rest of the Botanic Garden and enjoyed everything else it had to offer. I really enjoyed my time at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, it was a fantastic way to spend a relaxing day of my holiday. Whilst writing this I realised that I missed out on seeing a Ghost Forest – so if I ever get the chance to go again that is the first thing I will do!

Outside the Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
Look at the clouds on Mars. Ooops I forgot my spacesuit!

Would you like to visit Mars? Please leave a comment and tell me what you would do.  Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you again next time when I will be telling you all about a very special museum full of surprises…..

Goodbye!

The Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff Bay – July 2015

Tom outside the Doctor Who Experience
Welcome to the Doctor Who Experience!

Welcome! Croeso!

We are travelling back in time to my summer holiday in Wales. Today we are at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, this time in July 2015. I was very excited to go to The Doctor Who Experience again as it was the first time I had been since it was updated with the new Doctor. In August 2014 I was stood outside the closed Experience whilst Peter Capaldi was inside filming the new interactive story so I was looking forward to seeing the new adventure!

When I arrived there was a giant queue as it was the summer holidays and Whovians had come from everywhere to experience the experience! As soon as I arrived I went into the interactive adventure with the other fans. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who is planning to go but I will tell you that I entered the Museum of Gallifrey expecting to learn about Timelords and the history of Gallifrey. Instead I embarked on a journey when the Twelfth Doctor transmitted a message saying he needed our help – and we had to grapple with a threat which could destroy the universe……..

The First Doctor's TARDIS at the Doctor Who Experience
The First Doctor’s TARDIS

It was very exciting helping the Doctor and some of the children were a little scared, but we survived. The Doctor didn’t quite return us to where we started though so I never got to look around the Museum of Gallifrey! Maybe if you visit everything will go a bit smoother for you!

After I made it back to Cardiff 2015 I had my photo taken in a green screen TARDIS. I chose to wear a Fez , which was cool, and I chose to be in the Twelfth Doctor’s TARDIS because that is my favourite TARDIS in the history of Doctor Who! I look quite perplexed in my picture because when I was posing in front of the green screen I didn’t know how the background would look. When Peter Capaldi had his photo taken he couldn’t choose so wore the Eleventh Doctor’s Fez and the Fourth Doctor’s scarf!

After my photo I went upstairs to The Exhibition Hall to revisit ‘the world’s most extensive collection of original Doctor Who props and artefacts’. This is my favourite part of the whole Experience because all the suspense from the interactive part is relieved from you and you can relax and look at all the items from the series! Since my last visit the hall had regenerated and moved around and there were lots of new items from the Series 8 (2014) episodes! Here are some of my favourites:

From my favourite New Who story Deep Breath – the hot air balloon made of skin that Half-Face Man tried to escape in.

Balloon from Deep Breath at the Doctor Who Experience
A balloon made from skin!

From Mummy on the Orient ExpressThe Foretold. If you can see him you only have 66 seconds to live!

From Robot of Sherwood we can see a knight’s armour and the Sheriff of Nottingham costume worn by Ben Miller.

The Sheriff of Nottingham and Robot of Sherwood at the Doctor Who Experience
The Sheriff of Nottingham and Robot of Sherwood!

From In the Forest of the Night – a lion from Trafalgar Square. This giveaway told the Doctor he was in London and not a forest.

A lion from 'In The Forest of the Night' at the Doctor Who Experience
A lion from Trafalgar Square!

From The Caretaker – the Skovox Blitzer which was a danger to Coal Hill School and one of the most dangerous weapons ever created!

The Skovox Blitzer from The Caretaker at the Doctor Who Experience
The Skovox Blitzer from The Caretaker

I didn’t have enough time in the exhibition because I had to leave Cardiff at lunch time to go to another part of Wales and carry on with my holiday. Sadly for me I had hurt my back too so I couldn’t join in with everything, for example, learning how to walk like a Doctor Who monster.

Finally I visited The Official Doctor Who Shop. The shop is giant and full of Doctor Who merchandise – it is the only official Doctor Who shop that you can visit in the whole world! Maybe there is one on another planet though..… Anyone can visit this shop; you don’t need to pay for a ticket. I bought a new Doctor Who T-shirt because my old one is getting smaller and smaller by the minute. I will be wearing my T-shirt in lots of future posts, it is in the style of a comic – I hope you will like it.

The regenerated experience is better than ever, I’m really glad that I got the chance to visit it before I left Cardiff. No-one should leave Cardiff without having a Doctor Who adventure. And I’m glad to report that my back is better too! Have you been to the Doctor Who Experience? Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about this amazing Doctor Who attraction.

See you soon for a new Doctor Who location report – next time I will be reporting from Mars, I hope you will come back and read all about it.  

Disclosure: Thank you very much to the Doctor Who Experience for allowing me free entry to report on my adventure. All opinions are my own!

 

Bellini’s, Cardiff Bay – July 2015

Slitheen at Cardiff Bay
Slitheen Stop this Stealing!

Croeso!

Today we’re in Cardiff just like the Ninth Doctor who visited Cardiff in Boom Town (2005). The Doctor was in Cardiff because there is an invisible rift running through the city and the TARDIS was soaking up the radiation from the rift to use as fuel. I was there for a different reason – the first day of my summer holiday in Wales!

Although the Doctor, Rose, Mickey and Captain Jack thought they could relax and have fun the Doctor soon discovered that Blon Fel Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen was still posing as Margaret Blaine and had been elected Mayor of Cardiff! The Doctor and his companions knew they had to stop her plans for the Blaidd Drwg Project to save the planet….

Although it was my summer holiday it was a rainy and misty Sunday evening. I explored Cardiff Bay and saw where the Doctor parked his TARDIS that night– close to the Millennium Centre and above what would become the Torchwood Three Hub. I also passed Cadwaladers where the Doctor and co went to hang out until the Doctor saw Blon on the front of the paper! I hope to go there another time.

Cadwaladers - Doctor Who Boom Town
Cadwaladers where the Doctor went with his companions.

When Blon was caught she knew she would be executed if the Doctor returned her to Raxacoricofallapatorius so she asked for one last meal. She asked to go to

‘A little restaurant around the bay …it became quite a favourite of mine.’

And that is where we are going now – Bellini’s at Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay! I was hungry after my journey to Cardiff in my TARDIS and I wanted to go to the same restaurant the Doctor took Blon for a treat and where Blon asks the Doctor to spare her life.

Mermaid Quay - Doctor Who Boom Town
Welcome to Mermaid Quay
Bellini's - Doctor Who Boom Town
Do you recognise this restaurant?

I climbed the stairs to Bellini’s and asked to sit at the table where the Doctor and Blon had their meal. The Doctor ordered ‘steak and chips’ but I don’t eat meat so I ordered a Margherita Pizza from the adults menu with a lemonade to wash it down. The pizza was as good as the pizzas I ate in Italy. I could have eaten more than one as I am a Pizzaholic!

 

I was interrupted by a greedy Slitheen who kept trying to eat my dinner but I didn’t give any away. Perhaps Raxacoricofallapatorius had been invaded and the Slitheen had invaded Cardiff again?

Bellini's pudding - Doctor Who Boom Town
This is good and you know it!

For pudding I ordered a Coppa Gelato – chocolate flavour of course. It was yummy and tasted like heaven. I moved to sit by the window – the same window that exploded when the rift started opening. Blon had tricked the Doctor. Luckily that didn’t happen when I was there and I got to finish my pudding.

Although the Doctor went when it was dark, Bellini’s was light when I was there and as I ate pudding I enjoyed the changing view of Cardiff Bay – misty, rainy, sunny and misty again.

The staff in Bellini’s were very friendly. I told Mehmet about Project Indigo and he told me that he remembers the day of filming well – he was there as a waiter 10 years ago and you may see him serving in the episode! The dinner scene was filmed in January 2005 when Bellini’s was called Bistro 10 and Mehmet met Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor, and Annette Badland who played Blon. This was before New Doctor Who was aired on TV so no one knew how popular it would be again.

Mehmet at Bellini's
Meeting Mehmet who served the Doctor and Blon

I had a lovely evening at Bellini’s and would give my meal 10 out of 10. If you go you should definitely have the Coppa Gelato – but watch out for a greedy Slitheen.

Thanks for reading my first Ninth Doctor adventure – I hope you enjoyed it and will come back and join me very soon to read about more of my Doctor Who adventures in Wales this summer. My holiday was FANTASTIC!

Goodbye.

Slitheen at Cardiff Bay
Aaaagh – small Slitheen Invasion!

Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire – August 2014

Chepstow Castle

Croeso and welcome back to another Doctor Who locations post!

Timey-wimey stuff! Today we are travelling back in time again in my TARDIS to August 2014 and visiting Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire. This is where The Day of the Doctor (2013), the 50th Anniversary Special was filmed and I wanted to see where the Doctor married Queen Elizabeth in England 1562!

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle was also used as a filming location for the monastery in the Doctor Who two-parter The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People (2011), and also Merlin,  the 1980’s TV series Robin of Sherwood ( not Robot of Sherwood ) and Ivanhoe – which was filmed 102 years ago!

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle is on a cliff overlooking the River Wye. As you can see in the amazing shot in the episode when the Doctor and Elizabeth are first seen, it is breath taking stood on top of the cliff looking out over the valley. This Norman castle is the oldest still-standing stone fort in Britain. It was built in the 11th Century and started just a year after William the Conqueror’s invasion of Britain. It was built by William Fitzosborn, a relative and friend of William the Conqueror, who became the Earl of Hereford. Until the late 14th Century the Normans called the castle  ‘Striguil’ from the Welsh word ystraigl meaning “river bend”.

Chepstow Castle is managed by CADW who conserve Wales’ heritage, and I have been to many Doctor Who locations looked after by CADW including Caerphilly Castle and Neath Abbey. I had a great time at this castle and explored all around. I saw the oldest castle doors in Europe (800 years old and made of wood!) Imagine all the history that these doors have seen! I walked along the battlements and climbed a tower and had a fantastic view of Wales. I even saw the scariest toilet in probably the whole world – the scary thing is that it is over a cliff. Aaaaargh!!

Chepstow Castle doors

I saw where the Tenth Doctor and the First Elizabeth got married, watched by the War Doctor, Eleventh Doctor and Clara. Clara threw confetti over the couple as Elizabeth gave the Doctor a very big snog! Then the Doctors and Clara went ‘back to the future!’I wonder if they saw Marty McFly?

Chepstow Castle
Where the Tenth Doctor married the First Elizabeth

I spoke to the Chepstodians about Project Indigo and how I like to follow in the Doctor’s footsteps. One of them was there when the crew were filming and she told me that they had built the Zygon’s nest in the castle cellar! She was so lucky – if I could watch Doctor Who being filmed I would be so happy.

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle was the first location I visited on my Welsh adventure last August and I am happy to say I will be going back to Wales again this summer to revisit my Welsh roots – and visit some more Doctor Who locations of course 🙂 .

I’m sorry there has been a delay with this post – I have had computer trouble but I made it in the end. Thanks for reading, I hope you will come back and join me again for my next Doctor Who adventure!

Hwyl fawr!

Llandaff, Cardiff – August 2014

Llandaff Cathedral GreenHalloooo,

lately  there has been a lot of grotty weather so lets go back in time again and go to yet another Welsh location – Llandaff! My holiday in August 2014 was so much fun and I love to remember and tell you all about it!

Llandaff is north of Cardiff City Centre, beside the River Taff. It is famous for being the birthplace of Roald Dahl, the author of children’s books and Terry Nation – the creator of the Daleks!Look at the Roald Dahl plaque!

I arrived there on a nice tranquil summer’s evening. I picked a great night to go as I was there on the day of the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the 1st World War, and the Welsh National Service of Remembrance was being held that night in Llandaff Cathedral.

Look, they're waiting for the action!

This location was used in the episode The Eleventh Hour (2010) under the name of Leadworth, the home of Amelia Pond.  This was where the newly-regenerated Doctor first met Amy and he investigated the village to find Prisoner Zero to save the world from incineration by the Atraxi!  When he met young Amy she was worried about the crack in her wall. Did you know that Steven Moffat came up with the idea after looking at a crack in his ceiling?

Once I got to the middle of Llandaff I saw some  kids playing football in the cathedral green where the Raggedy Man first met Rory. I asked them if I could play and I got a match! I didn’t score any goals but I got an assist, so that was good. It was a great match that I really enjoyed playing even though the team that I was on lost.

Any sign of Prisoner Zero?

The green seemed much smaller than on the TV. There was no sign of the duck-pond without any ducks! That was just built for the episode and is not there in real life. There was no exploded phone box either – lots of details were added to make Llandaff look like a typical English village.

No ducks in the duck pond. Or a pond!

At one end of the green is a very special statue which is the Llandaff War Memorial created by Sir William Goscombe John. It is called The Memorial Group,  and used to be called ‘The Departure’. There are three stones with a female figure in the middle, which represents Llandaff, and beside her is a workman, representing the village, and a cadet representing the school.  You will recognise this statue from The Family of Blood ( 2007) when Tim Latimer attends a Remembrance Day Service as an old man, watched at a far distance by the Tenth Doctor and Martha.

The Memorial Group

After the match I went to walk around the cathedral whilst the World War 1 Commemoration preparations went on inside! I saw some people filming outside of the church for BBC  and ITV News as I walked around to tire my feet out. It was fun exploring about the grounds and watching the guests arrive for the service.

ITV News. Woooh!

There was no sign of Prisoner Zero or a giant Atraxi eye floating above the spire! Llandaff Cathedral is also the location of the wedding of John Smith ( the Tenth Doctor) and Nurse Redfern in the Family of Blood ( 2007) and of course is it the Church of Auvers from Vincent and the Doctor (2010) where the Eleventh Doctor, Vincent and Amy confront the lonely Krafayis. Luckily there was no sign of the Krafayis either!

Llandaff Cathedral

After I left Llandaff I returned to my hotel to watch the church service that was broadcast live on S4C. It was led by the Archbishop of Wales. We kept our lights out along with the rest of the nation as a mark of respect because 100 years ago the Foreign Secretary sadly said

“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

My heart goes out to all the people that fought and lost loved ones in the war.

The Eleventh Hour White House

My first anniversary of blogging will come soon and to celebrate Project Indigo’s first birthday I will be holding a mega epic competition; please don’t miss it!I’m welling up with excitement and can’t wait to tell you about it!

Thanks for reading ! Gooooodbuy!

Skenfrith, Monmouthshire – August 2014

In the Castle Grounds .Hello – is this a dream or is it reality? I don’t know, you choose!

Today we are travelling back in time again to my summer holiday in Wales, and visiting Skenfrith – a filming location for the Eleventh Doctor episode Amy’s Choice ( 2010).

Before we start I would like to tell you two facts I have learnt this week. Firstly I became Kids Blog Club‘s first ever Kid Blog Star of the Week which was quite good. What am I saying? It was AMAZING! Secondly, Project Indigo has now reached 10,000 views. Woooh – hooo! Thank you all so much for helping me do this, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures so far and will keep reading about them in the future.

No old people coming from Sarn today!

Now, time to get on with the post. Skenfrith is a small village near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, South East Wales and is  close to the English border. On the way there my TARDIS got stuck on a never ending muddy road and it took me a while to find it! When I landed my TARDIS I could recognise that I was in Upper Leadworth where Amy is pregnant and Rory has a pony-tail. Or is it? Are they just dreaming? Are they in Leadworth or are they in the TARDIS slowly freezing to death?  Luckily for me there was no sign of the Dream Lord when I visited – or was there? I don’t know! It was all so confusing, just like in the episode.

When I parked my TARDIS it was right opposite Sarn,the Residential Care Home where the Eknodines lived in disguise as VERY old people.

Still no one coming out...

Straight away I went across to Skenfrith Castle, or what is left of it. In Amy’s Choice this is where the children were playing on a school trip. The Doctor, Amy and Rory fell asleep and woke up to find the children have been turned to dust! I was pretty brave to go there, wasn’t I?

No piles of dust left . Or play things .

The play park was not there anymore which was a shame as I was looking forward to playing on the swings like the Doctor, and saying ‘bow-ties are cool!’. But there was a mysterious circle in the grass, maybe the ghost of a roundabout?

Mysterious circle ... what will it do ?

Skenfrith Castle is managed by CADW and the National Trust and it is free to explore. It is in the centre of Skenfrith on the banks of the River Monnow.

Welcome to Skenfrith Castle !

Along with White Castle and Grosmont Castle it is one of the ‘Three Castles’ in the Monnow Valley built during the Norman Conquest. It was probably built in the early 13th Century by Hubert de Burgh.

Here is the Great Tower , everyone !

It was fun exploring the ruins and it was amazing to be in an 800 year old ex-building!

My only escape is climbing !

Next I explored the village which the Doctor raced around in a camper van rescuing the young people. Much of the village is built with stone that was originally used to build the castle! It was so quiet and peaceful that I did not see anybody – perhaps the Eknodines had come back?

Look out for a mad man in a camper van!

In the middle of the village stands St Bridget’s Church which was consecrated in 1207. This medieval church is one of the oldest in Monmouthshire. The original altar stone was hidden in the church floor to protect it during the Reformation!

It was at this spot beside the church where the Doctor realised that ‘this one is going to be tricky!’  It was a little bit tricky, yeah!

This one is going to be tricky !

I spent a bit of time looking for the Doctor’s ‘nice benches’ where he, Amy and Rory  kept nodding off- there were lots of benches to choose from so I tried them all wondering which one was the one. I might not have found it but it was worth a try! For such a small village there were A LOT of benches!

Trying out a bench....

I had such a nice time in the beautiful village of Skenfrith, it was great and I really felt as if I was in Upper Leadworth. I kept imagining that I was in a dream and the Doctor would walk round the corner at any moment!

Thank you for reading about my Skenfrith adventure, I hope to see you back again soon.

Night night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite! Sweet dreams!

Southerndown Beach, The Vale of Glamorgan – August 2014

Can you see the Atlantic behind me?Hei og velkommen tilbake!

Sorry it has been a long time since my last post but it has been Christmas and I have been pooped out! Now I am back blogging and back in the flow of blog. I hope you have had a good Christmas and enjoyed watching the Doctor Who episode Last Christmas (2014)!. I can’t believe we have to wait months now for the new Doctor Who series which will open with The Magician’s Apprentice. Anyway, back to the post…

Doomsday

You may notice I greeted you in Norwegian – this is because we are travelling back in time to August 2014 when I visited Darlig Ulv Stranden in Norway – also known as Bad Wolf Bay! Not really, it is actually Southerndown Beach on the Welsh Coast which has been the filming location of several Doctor Who episodes, most famously Doomsday (2006) where the Tenth Doctor burnt up a sun just to say goodbye to Rose.

Welcome to Southerndown Beach

I visited Southerndown Beach on a beautiful summer’s evening just before sunset. The beach is officially known as Dunraven Bay and it is near the town of Bridgend. I arrived as people were leaving and the beach was almost deserted so I could run about freely and explore the picturesque scape. The weather was mild and the sun was glimmering off the sea. I could recognise straight away that this was used for Bad Wolf Bay as it looked just like it did on the screen . I could see where Rose and her family travelled to meet the Tenth Doctor’s hologram in Norway . It was also where he said goodbye to Rose for the final time in Journey’s End (2008) – leaving her with his clone who had one life, one heart so that they could grow old together! It was awesome to be there because these scenes are so iconic.

Bad Wolf Bay

I explored all around.The tide was out which meant that I could climb all over the rocks. It was like walking on the surface of an alien planet. In one rock pool I found a mysterious object that looked like it was part of an engine – could it have been the engine of the Byzantium that crashed in The Time of Angels (2010)? This beach was used as the location for the planet Alfava Matraxis in this episode. Luckily there was so sign of any Weeping Angels left behind because I blinked a billion times whilst I was there!

Was this left behind by The Byzantium?

The coast is Jurassic and guess what that leads us to? I’ll give you a clue – it lived in the Jurassic period. That’s right, dinosaurs! You will also recognise this filming location from the episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012). I didn’t see any pterodactyls but the beach is a site of Special Scientific Interest and there are many fossils such as ammonites  and Devil’s Toenails to be seen. People should not disturb them though and should leave them where they are for others to enjoy.

You can see millions of years of history here

This looks like an alien planet

I  took the time to write Project Indigo and Doctor Who in the sand and watched the Atlantic crash on to the beach. My shoes got filled with sand! I had a fantastic time at Bad Wolf Bay – this is a great place for any Doctor Who fan to visit. For more info on what has been filmed here please check out  Doctor Who – The Locations Guide.

Promoting Project Indigo!

This is the last post I am writing in 2014 but there will be more to come in 2015 – I have had so many adventures this year that I haven’t told you about yet so we will still travel back in time to 2014! Thank you to all my readers for a wonderful year – this blog has meant so much to me and I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

Ha en Godt Nyttår ! Farvel !

This is a panoramic shot of Southerndown Beach. But who's shadow is that?