Friday, 26 October 2012

Hungry Earth/Cold Blood Location and Sky One's Stella

So I've decided to split last weekends adventures in South Wales up a bit in terms of the blog, otherwise I will be  bombarding you poor people with too much information and pictures all at once. 

Before I start, I just want to say a BIG thank you to the Doctor Who Locations website and everyone that contributes to the site - I wouldn't find half of the places I travel to, or even know about them, if it wasn't for this site. So... THANK YOU

So here it goes - I woke up on my first day in South Wales to beautiful skies and a stunning view from the lodge, grabbed my list of location spots, switched on the Sat-Nav and headed off on the road. 

Doctor Who - The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood

We were heading to the Church used in the Eleventh Doctors Series 5 Silurian two-parter The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood. I have looked at the church in the past on Google Maps, and knew it was in the area we were heading to explore on our first day, so I thought it was a great idea to head up to the location. The two episodes are based in Wales during 2020 and follow the disruption a drill is causing to the civilisation of Silurian's living deep inside earth. Read a full write-up of the plot, here:-

When keying in the area code for St Gwynno's Church into the Sat Nav, we had a few problems, as it ended up sending us to a Golf Course, so I can confirm for future reference that the postcode that will take you to right outside the church door if you are interested in travelling here will be Brynffynon Hotel's postcode (which is just a few yards up the road) -  CF37 3PH . You can park outside the church on the gravel to the left or outside the hotel.

The church itself is very creepy and gothic looking on first glance. I mean, a church is not made to visually look inviting, but this one is pretty intimidating as it stands towering over you and is located in the middle of woodland and forest! The gates were open when we got there, but I have to admit it does look as if they are locked up -all you have to do it move the chain across and make sure you place it back when you exit (there are signs on the gate with instructions when entering). We walked around the church yard and I noticed a few spots used in the episodes straight away, namely the huge church doors and archway which are used in shot when The Doctor speaks to Ambrose at the end of Cold Blood. But also, the spot where the Tardis lands overlooking into the distance a large wooded area (where the drill was edited into shot for the programme).  

 However, my absolute favourite part of this location was looking ahead from where the Tardis was stood to the small raised hill in the distance. Here, during the storyline, Amy and Rory see what they believe to be their future selves waving back at them. And, of course, at the end of this two-parter, when Rory has been 'erased from time' Amy spots only her future self on the hill, still waving. 
All Images Courtesy of BBC
I really wanted to either head around to the hill myself, or get my partner to, just for the photo opportunity... but I was a scaredy cat and didn't want to be left alone! I have threatened to edit myself onto my photo of the hill.... I suppose there is still time...

Sky One's Stella:-
Heading off my normal subject slightly, I knew that the first Doctor Who location I wanted to visit was near where they shot one of my favourite television series of the moment- Sky Ones Stella, starring and written by Ruth Jones. So, I used this opportunity to see the sights and stop at some of the spots used. 

Looking online before heading off to the Valleys, I did notice how hard it was to locate some of the areas used in the series, so I thought I'd set the record straight for some of the sites. Stella's House is based in Ferndale in Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales. More specifically 'Elm Street'- head right down the bottom and its the second to last house on the right, painted red. From here, there's a stunning view down into the Valleys. Please be warned though that you will need to turn your car around to get back out of the housing estate as all of the other streets along are dead ends. Me and my partner met another couple who had also made the journey from the West Midlands for the same reason whilst we were taking some photos, so they kindly offered to take one of us together. 
Heading south from here, along East Road and into Tylorstown, you will pass a Red brick building on your left called "Welfare House", this is where Emma and Sunil's engagement party was held and has been used for other occasions during the series. 

The third and final place I (tried) to visit for Stella was where the bench was located overlooking the Valleys. I had a postcode for this area CF43 3HA, but me and my partner parked at the bottom of the hill and tried to walk up, to no avail. I, being the unfit one, thought I was going to pass out at any given moment and we just couldn't see anything we recognised ahead. However, after coming home and watching the series all over again, I can see that we were closer than we realised. The area behind me was used in the shot from the bench... its all just a mystery to me...
As I stated at the beginning of this post, I have a few more blog entries lined up and which are currently being drafted. They are from the same weekend in South Wales and include my second visit to Dunraven Bay (which doubles up as the famous Bad Wolf Bay, and used in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship in the most recent Series 7), and I also intend to write up my visit to the location where we said our final farewell to the Pond's. 

Sorry I couldn't include everything in one big post but I am currently splitting my time between work, dissertation overload and my not-so-social calender! I upload the rest of my weekend as soon as I can!

I hope you all enjoy reading my posts as much as I love going out and finding these locations, its a real buzz and I intend to keep on exploring!

Have a lovely weekend everyone, take it easy, write to you soon! 

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Girl Who Waited… for Matt Smith

I have sat here for a while now trying to come up with a more imaginative title to this post than the one I have chosen but my heads still spinning from the last few days, not to mention the long day I’ve had trying to get my dissertation proposal completed! I’d like to apologize for my absence from blogger, and more importantly, from my blog - I’ve been super busy as I head into my final year of University, boo :-(

So yes, I’ve had a very exciting few days! I turn 22 years old (AAH!) on Wednesday, so me and mum decided to head to Cardiff Thursday and Friday for some shopping, sightseeing and in hope of seeing some Doctor Who filming.

Once I’d survived the drive in the most torrential rain I have ever driven through, I noticed sadly that it was pretty clear from online sources that there was going to be no filming happening that night… (Just my luck- the day I decide to drive down there was nothing going on:-( ). So me and mum decided to make a night of it anyway, I took her sightseeing around the Bay and we had a lovely meal and a few cocktails in Eddies Diner. But when I logged onto Twitter that night I started to see a few mysterious tweets from a few different sources about something Doctor Who related happening the next day…

Friday morning arrived and both me and mum woke up early, had a quick walk around the Bay in the sun and headed off into the city centre on the train to visit the castle (I’ve always wanted to go in there!)

Here, the long corridors surrounding the castle grounds were used as the location for scenes in Doctor Who Series 6 ‘The Almost People’ and ‘The Rebel Flesh’.

Apart from this, Cardiff Castle was also a great addition to our day out and the views were stunning. Me and mum both paid for an Essential Ticket which cost a student like myself £9.50 and for an adult like mum £11.00. Included in the price was a chance to watch a film about the history of the castle (which we never had the chance to view because of our own time restraints) and we also received an audio pack which explained various parts of the castle as you walked around. You can find out more about Cardiff Castle, here:

  Luckily, whilst I was at the castle, I happened to check Twitter and saw that Matt Smith was currently down at the Doctor Who Experience in the Bay, making an appearance to unveil some of the new exhibits from Series 7. From here, mum gave me an ultimatum – Stay in the city to shop for my birthday or risk it all by jumping in a taxi to see if there was a chance of meeting the main man himself…. inevitably I chose the latter.
 Within 10 minutes of waiting outside the Experience, my luck was in as out of the front main doors walked writer and producer Steven Moffat and Executive Producer Caroline Skinner. I asked for a picture and they both agreed straight away, even after my mum had a bit of trouble with the camera, telling Moffat that he had blinked! (Embarrassing – but very ironic!) They were both very lovely- a pleasure to meet! 
From here, the weather took a turn for the worst as me and mum battled to stay warm in the cold and windy conditions for the next half hour. Matt Smiths Chauffeur turned up at 2pm and headed around the side of the building, behind huge gates – I didn’t think I had a chance of seeing him let alone meeting him, but I kept hold of my picture and sharpie pen just in case. 

But then luck struck again as a security van pulled up, blocking the gates and all Matt’s chauffeur could do was whip his car around the front of the building, right next to me! A scuffle from a few security men later and mum whispered ‘I think I can see Matt through the glass’ - sure enough, there he was, heading straight for me out of the front doors

Seeing as I was the only one there, I shouted him a few times to get his attention as he headed for his car and he turned and walked straight over. All I could think at this point was that I had just demolished a egg and cress sandwich, both mine and Matt Smiths favourite... bad move Kelly, bad move. From here, I can’t really remember much else, it was a complete blur, but he signed my picture, apologized for covering my face with his signature and posed for a few photos – yes, mum had to take a few *again* exclaiming ‘I hope to god they turn out’ – how embarrassing! With that I thanked matt tremendously for stopping and I wondered off as he retrieved his Doctor Who script out of the boot of his car and was driven away. What a dream come true, I'm a very lucky lady!!

Mum rounded off our day with an evening meal at Eddies, and I treated myself to a 50’s style cola bottle! We sat in the booth used from Series 6 (which is now decorated with pictures from the episode on the wall).

What a fantastic two days! I never would have expected to bump into Matt Smith, but what an amazing treat for my upcoming birthday! I don’t think anything will ever be able to top that as a present :-) You can read my review of my Doctor Who Experience visit HERE and my first encounter with Matt smith HERE. To find out more on what Matt Smith was up to at the Experience, visit the BBC news page HERE

Thanks for reading