Friday, 24 June 2016

Pearl Mackie shoots Bill’s first location scenes for Doctor Who

 There’s an old adage that if you throw a stick in the air in Cardiff you’re likely to hit a Doctor Who film crew, and while that might have been true for the last 10 years, it’s been a long time since Doctor Who has been out on location in the Welsh capital.
As such, it was with great joy that the fans massed at the gates of Cardiff University in late June, barely a stone’s throw from where Danny Pink was run over in 2014, and in the shadow of the Temple of Peace, a location featured in at least half a dozen episodes.
The Cathays Park campus is a resourceful location for filming, and also encompasses the National Museum of Wales. Eagle-eyed locals had spotted the tell-tale yellow arrows pointing to the location the night before, and the  white  ‘fake snow’ lining that was laid out on the lawn of the building was a giveaway that filming was imminent.
After a furious morning of activity where crew added fake trees and generally making the site more wintry, Pearl arrived on set a little around 2pm to film her first scene under the public gaze.
Mobile phones jostled with paparazzi long-lenses and everyone strained to look what new companion Bill was wearing. She was carrying a long bendy tube wrapped in Christmas paper and made her way to the front of the of the building, which was now  identified as St Luke’s University, Bristol.
Supporting players were wrapped in scarves and woolly hats while the crew wondered around in shorts and flip-flops. They threw fake snowballs and huddled on benches to keep warm as our new companion re-trod her steps two or three times for multiple takes until the director was happy.
And then the camera relocated to the top of the building, allowing an overhead shot of the students at play with Bill making her way through the slight snowfall, snow machines belching fake flakes into the atmosphere.

A lengthy ten-month shoot lies ahead, but surely it’s the trip of a lifetime and I have no doubt that she’ll have an entourage of the fans following her wherever she goes.

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