I grew up in a family that always watched Doctor Who. In fact I used to hide behind the settee during the opening titles for the episodes featuring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor because the whirlpool and his eyes would scare me! However, what I didn’t know was that our family would end up doing the same thing but over 40 years apart.
In September 1967, my parents were on holiday with their parents and my month-old older sister in north Wales, and they stumbled across the BBC filming Doctor Who – it was The Abominable Snowman series of episodes, of which only one survives intact. The Welsh mountains were doubling as the Himalayas. One of the men, be it one of my grandfathers or my dad, took some pictures of my mum, her mum and my dad’s mum with an abominable snowman.
Some 40 years and 5 months later, at the end of February 2008, I was in Cardiff with a group of friends from around the country that I’d met via a Doctor Who forum called Outpost Gallifrey. Our group had joined up with a group of Cardiff and Newport-based people who would seek out filming on a regular basis and knew all the local haunts of the film crews or knew what signs to look for.
The Wales-based group were taking us on a walking tour of filming sites around the city when one of them was tipped off about filming at ‘Donna’s house’, so we all piled into cars and made the trip to a road in Cyncoed to find the film crew there. We were lucky enough that David Tennant came out to chat with everyone and I managed to have my photo taken with him. We stayed and watched them film until they stopped at just gone midnight. They were filming the episode where the Doctor has to wipe Donna’s mind and after saying goodbye to Wilf Mott walks back to the TARDIS in the rain, but we didn’t have a clue what was happening, we could tell it was something sad, but other than that we had to wait until the episode was shown in July.
Watching filming is so interesting and I’m proud that I’ve seen it and that I have made the friends I have through a mutual interest and love of Doctor Who.
I’m hoping that the luck rubs off and my daughter also ends up seeing Doctor Who being filmed somewhere, sometime in the future. It would keep this unofficial family tradition going.