Today I’m going to the London Film and Comic Convention at Earl’s Court, and since I’m gonna be in London anyway I thought I’d go along to the BritTours Doctor Who tour.
We have to meet at Temple station on the Victoria Embankment, and the tour is by bus so we can take in so far flung locations.
From here we took the bus out to Wapping, which had been used extensively during the 1977 Tom Baker story The Talons Of Weng Chiang.
I had never been here before, so was quite keen to see how it looked and what had survived. To my surprise the area was pretty much unaltered, bar some sympathetic restoration work into expensive homes and apartments.
Apparently, the real police were in attendance to assist with any crowd control and they officers asked to borrow the fake body after filming. They placed it somewhere and called the station to mobilise a rookie officer who was called out to investigate - much to the amusement of the rest of the force!
Two of the quadrants were used: one as the exterior of the morgue; and the other as the exterior of the house of one of the lead characters.
It’s one of these wild stories that only once you look at the shot form the episode you realise is it totally true!
Back onto the bus we then headed south over the Thames at Tower Bridge to visit Butler’s Wharf on Shad Thames.
Anyone who’s read my tour write-ups before will know this is my absolute favourite location in London, and I will take any excuse to walk its cobbled road, so this was a highlight on the tour (aside from the locations I had never visited before).
These are some amazingly untouched back streets in London. They look absolutely no different to how they appeared in 1988, and I’m sure at that time they looked no different from when the episode was set, November 1963.
I hadn’t been back here since taking Mark Ferris on his tour last year, so I was curious to see of the chalk-marked graffiti we found was still there. it was, along with a couple of other instances I hadn’t noticed first time around.
One of the tour group noticed my interest and asked what they were. I explained and said how we had found them around, but had no clue as to why they were there. Very curious.
The Hayward Gallery is still very recognisable from the episode, though a steps leading down from it have been totally removed and the upper walkway extended across.
So instead the bus pressed on and we headed for the Brandon Estate in South London.
This is the location used to establish the home of Rose Tyler and appeared in numerous episodes from Rose and Aliens Of London in series one; to The Christmas Invasion, Army Of Ghosts and Doomsday in series two; before reappearing in The End Of Time Part Two for David Tennant’s final scenes.
The location is recognisable, but somehow it seems smaller in real life. Of particular interest is the corner where the TARDIS crash landed in The Christmas Invasion, and where The Doctor watches Rose walk past at a time prior to meeting him at the close of The End Of Time.
On the redbrick wall beside the doors was the chalked name MARK - exactly as I had found the year before in Waterloo’s Windmill Walk!
That sorta clinched it for me - whoever had written this MUST be some form of Doctor Who fan. What are the chances that two locations associated with the series, some 5 miles apart, would bear the same hand-written graffiti?
I wonder Who was doing it?