Over the years, Doctor Who has had a close relationship with Cardiff. From a range of filming locations, to the Doctor Who Experience, this wonderful city has always held a warm place in hit TV show’s heart.
So, with the announcement of Jodie Whittaker taking over from Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor and a recent visit from the tardis, we thought we would look back at the times the TV series has come to the Coal Exchange, or as it’s known today, the Exchange Hotel.
Filming at the Coal Exchange
Throughout the years, Doctor Who’s production team have moved all over the country, and sometimes outside of it, to get the best shots for their hugely popular show. However, one of the most beautiful and poignant has been the glimpses of the Coal Exchange in Cardiff.
A grandiose building that has thankfully been saved and renovated to become the beautiful Exchange Hotel, this stunning site has been the focal point of many Doctor Who Episodes. So, let’s look back at all the times the Doctor set foot in the Coal Exchange.
Attack of The Graske: filmed 3 November 2005
One of the first times the Coal Exchange made an appearance in the popular sci-fi show was way back in 2005, when it was used as a filming location for an interactive mini-episode.
It was also one of the first episodes that David Tenant made his debut as the tenth Doctor, following Christopher Eccleston’s departure.
It was first broadcast on the BBC Red Button service on 25 December 2005 as a Christmas Special.
The Coal Exchange is very hard to spot, but it is hiding in the background of some of the wintry outdoor scenes. The crew used Mount Stuart Square and the Coal Exchange to represent London at Christmas in 1883.
Rise of The Cybermen/The Age Of Steel: filmed 7 January 2006
The second time the beautiful Coal Exchange makes an appearance is during the two-part story in the sixth episode of the second series which centres around the Cybermen and their return.
During this episode the Tardis becomes stranded in an alternative universe where Rose Tyler’s (Billie Piper) father is alive and a corporation called Cybus Industries is plotting to convert the population of London into monotonous cybernetic creatures, resembling enemies the Doctor has faced before.
The Coal Exchange, Mount Stuart Square and Cardiff Bay were the locations of most of the shooting, in place of London, where the episode is supposed to be set.
David Tennant and Billie Piper acted out scenes as the Doctor and Rose walked through ‘London’. The distinctive dome of St Paul’s Cathedral was added to the skyline in post-production.
Army of Ghosts/Doomsday: filmed 10 December 2005, 7 January 2006
Next was the twelfth and penultimate episode in the second series, which was split into a two part story, first broadcast on 8th July.
The episode takes place on contemporary Earth, sometime after the Doctor and Rose’s last visit the Earth in ‘Love and Monsters’.
During this time, the public have become accustomed to intermittent appearances of ghosts. The Doctor tracks the source of the ghosts to the Torchwood Institute, where the Doctor learns of the Cybermen from “Rise of the Cybermen” and “The Age of Steel” crossing a breach in the Void created by a Dalek-piloted Void ship.
The Coal Exchange is the background setting for a lot of the scenes where the Cybermen army are in action and attacking Earth.
When the Daleks swoop in to attack the cyborgs, they did so by coming in over the Coal Exchange, near Baltic House.
Blink: filmed 21 November 2006
“Blink” is the tenth episode of the third series and was first broadcast on 9 June 2007.
The episode was directed by Hettie MacDonald and is the only episode in the 2007 series written by Steven Moffat.
Location shooting for scenes set at the Police Station Garage where the Tardis was impounded took place in the interior of the Coal Exchange.
But the haunted house in which the Doctor and Rose come across the weeping angels is Fields House, located in Newport.
Voyage of The Damned: filmed 16-18 July 2007
The famous episode that featured none other than Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue was filmed in Cardiff and many of the scenes were in the Exchange’s Grand Hall.
The narrative continues from the final scenes of both “Last of the Time Lords” and the mini-episode “Time Crash”, when a luxury space liner called the Titanic, a pastiche of the historical ocean liner, breached the walls of the Tardis.
Scenes at the Titanic’s reception area were filmed at the Coal Exchange and the scenes depicting the ship’s collision with meteors.
The Lie of the Land: filmed 16 July 2017
We skip forward a few series and Doctor Who is back in Cardiff, in the form of Peter Capaldi.
“The Lie of the Land” is the eighth episode of the tenth series, written by Toby Whithouse and first broadcast on 3 June 2017.
Continuing on after Bill (Pearl Mackie) gives her consent to the Monks, she and Nardole (Matt Lucas) have to find a way to rescue the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) after he is imprisoned, and end the Monk’s invasion of Earth. It is the third and final of three loosely connected episodes called “The Monks Trilogy”.
During this episode, scenes where filmed outside on Mount Stuart Square, with armed costume actors spotted outside of the Exchange.
There are also several scenes filmed within the newly renovated Grand Hall of the Exchange, it is dimly lit but eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot the unique wooden furnishings and grand ceiling.
The new monsters were spotted outside of the Coal Exchange, as well as Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie.
And most recently…
The Tardis and one of the Doctor’s most well known enemies, the Daleks, came to visit the Exchange Hotel this month.
The Doctor Who Experience
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Cardiff, the Doctor Who Experience is another reason Doctor Who lovers flock to the city.
It hosts the world’s most extensive collection of original Doctor Who props and artifacts, including new props, sets and costumes from Peter Capaldi’s debut series as well as sets and monsters from throughout the history of the world’s longest-running sci-fi series.
However, after five successful years The Doctor Who Experience is set to close in Cardiff, despite petitioning from some of the fans.
This is the last summer that the Experience will be open and so the venue have organised some special events to see it off.
These will include the return of Filming Walking Tours around Doctor Who shooting locations past and present, the restoration of classic series foe the Yeti by Model Unit expert Mike Tucker, a Cyberman-themed Monster Event packed with workshops, Q&As and the chance to become a Cyberman, as well as a Cosplay Celebration that will encourage fans to come to the Experience dressed as their favourite Doctor Who character or monster.
There are also apparently some hopes that Doctor Who tours and similar activities could still take place after the exhibition closes.
And don’t forget, the Exchange Hotel is one of the most famous filming locations for the series, so a visit there is always a great start.
The Future is Female
With Peter Capaldi announcing that he would be leaving his role as Doctor Who, the hype around who would take his place was in over drive.
However, last week it was announced that the 13th Doctor would be a woman, Jodie Whittaker.
The actor who rose to fame in Broadchurch is the first woman to play the Doctor, so for the first time in the show’s 54-year history, a woman will be at the helm of the Tardis.
Jodie has been described as a funny, inspiring and super-smart force of nature, with hopes she will bring wit, strength and warmth to the role.
Whittaker, 35, previously known for roles in Black Mirror, will pick up her duties from December in a Christmas special and has already come under an intense scrutiny.
It may have been met by mixed reviews, but we are excited about the new female Doctor and hope to see her visiting the Exchange soon!