Tuesday 20 July 2010

Revenge of Les Random Shoes

This is another one of my delayed entires.

I should have posted this at least a week back, but due to my vertigo attack, I was unable to finish writing it.
Here it is at last.
Here is the list of my week:
Today les boot was on the other foot, so to speak.

Back in March I went on a day trip to Paris to see the locations used in City Of Death. This weekend I returned the favour and gave a guided tour of London to Jonathan, the tour guide I had in Paris. All this ironically only two days after attending a guide tour of Cardiff myself!

I had organized a two-day tour back in February for my friend Bob Mitsch while he was over here for the Time Quest 2 event, so I have a good idea of where to go and what to see, though I have a couple of special requests to include as well.

Now, as much as I’m pleased to see Jonathan again, today wasn’t really the best day to choose for this by any means: I have had a manic week which included a Bonhams Auction, a trip to Cardiff, as well as my birthday! - AND tonight it’s Matt Smith’s season finale - and I’m afraid I fully intend to be home for that regardless!

Anyway, Jonathan and his brother had bought their EuroStar tickets before telling me the date, and since they are non-refundable and non-transferable, the day will have to happen as they need, though not as long as planned and I will have to head home by 5pm in time for the episode.

I met them bright and early off the 8:30 train at St Pancras, which was thankfully on time. Our day was pretty packed, so we heading straight off for our first location: an old traditional greasy spoon cafe on the Farringdon Road. So what Doctor Who story was this in?

Well, none actually, but one thing on Jonathan’s checklist was to have a typical English breakfast, which he thought was beans on toast. Now I’ve never had that as a breakfast myself (maybe an afternoon filler or a lazy dinner), and I know of no-one does.
So we had a full English breakfast instead – a real artery-clogger (see left)!

From here we walked to St martin Le Grand, to see the first of the two surviving original period Police Posts in London. It hasn’t been in commission for many years, but it’s great that it has been kept as a reminder of times past (see right).

When I conducted this tour I thought there were only two surviving Police Posts in London.
I have since discovered that there are a lot more.

You can read about all of them under
Eleven TARDISES For Eleven Doctors
We then walked around the corner to see St Paul’s Cathedral.
Jonathan was also interested in Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, as well as its predecessor, Danger Man. It was just opposite St Paul’s that John Drake would sometimes collect his brief at World Travel, a front for MI5’s agency.

We then walked around to one side of St Paul’s to see St Peter’s Steps, which is where the cybermen proudly marched down in The Invasion.
The building alongside the steps has been demolished, and the site of the steps is now the landfall for the Millennium Bridge, but you can get an idea of what it used to be like by standing under the bridge (see left).

Walking across the Millennium Bridge we arrived at the Globe Theatre, used in The Shakespeare Code.
The theatre also has another tenitive Doctor Who connection: the driving force behind getting it built was American actor and film maker Sam Wanamaker, He founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust and his involvement was pivotal in its completion, though he sadly died before it opened to the public.
His daughter is Zöe Wanamaker, the voice of the Lady Cassandra from The End of The World and New Earth.

Alongside the theatre is a small row of terraced houses (see left). These appeared briefly in The Talons Of Weng-Chiang.
We then took the riverside path down the Thames, walking through Clink Wharf, which also had been used in The Talons Of Weng-Chiang.
We stopped briefly at Hay’s Wharf to catch our breaths, where there is a striking, animated statue of a tall ship.

Continuing our riverside walk, we passing under Tower Bridge to arrive at Butlers Wharf on Shad Thames, the iconic location for Resurrection Of The Daleks.
We took a look at where the TARDIS lands (see right, bottom); where a Dalek was thrown out of the wharf (see right, top right); and the street area where the massacre takes place in the opening of the story (see right, top left).

A short walk back along the riverside took us to London Bridge station, from where we got the northern line south to Oval. This is where the Brandon Estate is located.
I’ve never been here before, and covering some 30 acres, I actually had no clue of where to find the right spot, but somehow we followed our noses and quickly found the small square where the TARDIS crash lands in The Christmas Invasion, the first exterior we see David Tennant as The Doctor. It is also pretty much his last in The End Of Time part 2 as well, where he staggers into the TARDIS before he regenerates (see montage below).

We did look around some other bits of the estate, but having discovered that some of the location had been built from scenes shot in Cardiff, I wasn’t surprised that we didn’t come across any other recognizable spots.

We headed back to Oval station, and got the train to Waterloo. It was around some of the back streets here that some scenes for Remembrance Of The Daleks was shot.
The story was a casebook example of constructing a location for an episode. You would have thought that everything was within a short walking distance of each other, but they are actually distributed across the whole of central London.

The Totters Lane junk jard can be found in Kew (marked A on the map); The Coal Hill school is in Hammersmith (marked B on the map); the cemetery is in Willsden (marked C on the map); and the Dalek battle was shot close to Waterloo (marked D on the map).

The last of these is where we were now. We approached through Theed Street (see below, top centre), where the yard is located. It is now a private house, having been converted (see below, bottom left). It is on this street that the last remanning Dalek has a nervous breakdown and spins itself into destruction. (Having been laid up with vertigo recently, I can relate to that!)

Just round the corner is Wootton Street, site of the Dalek battle (see above, bottom right).
Finally, around the corner is Windmill Walk, a paved area adjacent to it was where the Doctor and Ace hide from a patrolling Dalek (see above, top left), before running off in the direction of a pub at the end of the street! (see above, top right).

From here we walked to the South Bank Centre, which was seen in Frontier In Space as a futuristic cityscape. Anyone who has been to the South Bank Centre will have clocked its distinctive 1960s concrete structure!

After stopping for a snack and a drink outside the BFI cinema, we walked across Hungerford Bridge, stopping off briefly at John Adams Street. With some simple, but clever redressing, the front door of a house opposite the Adelphi hotel became the entrance to No 10 Downing Street in Aliens Of London and World War Three.

From here it was a short walk to The Stand, to stop off at the Stamp Centre (see right). Though its core business is first day covers and stamp collections, they have a big side-line in Doctor Who related merchandise.
Living in Paris, Jonathan does not get the opportunity to see first hand so much memorabilia for sale in one place as there is basically nowhere that stocks this stuff in France.

It was funny to watch, as everything was new and exciting to him, but with a limited budget, narrowing down what he would buy was a difficult task!

While I was in there, not planning to buy anything, I spotted a limited edition print on the wall that I wished I bought when it was first issued several years ago (see left). It was quite expensive at the time and I had limited funds. Not wanting to miss the opportunity this time around, I enquired how much they wanted for it. Being ‘shop soiled’ they asked £15 which wasn’t too bad. Taking it off the wall, we found the back had glops of blue-tack and an enormous boot print in the centre! I bought it anyway, and it now adorns the wall of my sewing room.

We still had plans to visit Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue, so it was decided to hold onto pennies until then.

We heading off to Trafalgar Square.
As I had shown Bob Mitsch when he visited in February, this was seen in the original Dalek Invasion Of Earth in 1946 with William Hartnall when the Daleks patrolled around the deserted city; as well as appearing in the first new series episode, Rose.

From here we walked down Whitehall – along which the decoy Slitheen ship is seen flying just before it hits Big Ben (see left) and crashes in the Thames. This leads to Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge.

As well as being the site of Daleks crossing the bridge in Dalek Invasion Of Earth, and where the Auton transmitter is concealed in the London Eye on the south bank of the Thames, Jonathan was interested in its use in The Prisoner.

In the opening sequence of a majority of episodes, Patrick McGoohan was seen driving across the bridge in his green and yellow Lotus Super 7, before turning past the Houses Of Parliament and descending into the Abingdon Street underground car park.

This marked the first of a few non-Who locations I had been specially requested to show Jonathan, who also has an interest in the ITC series of the 1960s and 1970s.

From the Abingdon Street car park, we cut through some back streets to arrive at Queen Annes Gate. A house here was used as the apartment for Sir Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! (see right).
Jonathan had wanted to see this door for many years, and it showed in his face has he proudly posed for a photo! (see below)

I was not a fan of The Persuaders!, only ever having watched one or two episodes, but it was interesting to find another notable genre location so close to my often trodden route.

A nearby neighbour to Brett Sinclair is The Prisoner’s Number Six himself, who lived at No 1 Buckingham Place, only a few streets away (see below).

Like queen Annes Gate, this street has hardly changed in the 40 years since the scenes were shot there (though the front door, grey in 1966, is now black).

The same can’t be said for Stag Place which is just across the street.
This has changed quite drastically in the intervening years.

The two tower blocks (see right) that form part of the square are the last thing Number Six sees before collapsing unconscious onto his sofa, having been gassed.

One of these has recently been demolished and the square below has been notably remodeled.
An enormous modern art statue of a stag which used to stand in the centre of the square has been removed and relocated elsewhere.

From here we walked to Victoria station, from where its a couple of stops down to Earl’s Court on the District line.
I could hardly show Jonathan around London without taking him to the Police Box, now could I!

After a quick photocall (see left), we headed back into central London to finally hit Forbidden Planet.

But before getting there, we stopped off at Picadilly Circus to see the third and final public-access Police Box, or post.

I like the two posts left in London, but they are markedly different from each other.
The St Martin le Grade one is in much better condotion, and at least has writing on the front panel; whereas the Picadilly one is getting a bit tatty, though has a much better and mare TARDIS-like lamp on the top.

After this we cut through Soho and reached Forbidden Planet.
If Jonathan was dazzled by the goodies on offer in The Stamp Centre, then his eyes were on stalks here!
The range of five DVDs available in WH Smiths in Paris looked pathetic compared to the shelves and shelves on offer here.

Time was ticking on, and I had to leave him to scour the displays for what he wanted to buy.
Today was the day of the final Matt Smith episode, The Big Band, and I wasn’t missing that for anyone!

So gave Jonathan some directions to where to possibly go after leaving Forbidden Planet, I shook his hand and left him to it!

It had been a long day, and we had done a LOT of walking - a comfy sofa awaited me at home . . . .

1 comment:

  1. That is pretty nifty about the Persuaders location- I enjoyed that series though not sure I'd call myself a big fan like I am of the Prisoner and Who. Makes me nostalgic for my trip last March!