Bute Park, Cardiff

Filming schedule

Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution Of The Daleks: filmed 9-11, and 13-14 November 2006

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Daleks In Manhattan: Bute Park, Cardiff

Clip taken from Daleks In Manhattan, featuring David Tennant as The Doctor and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones walking through Bute Park, masquerading as a Hooverville shanty town in New York.

Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution Of The Daleks

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 21 April/Saturday 28 April 2007
Director: James Strong
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

The outdoor area required for numerous scenes which would represent the Hooverville shanty town of Depression-struck New York in November 1930 saw the Doctor Who production team spending several days at the extensive area of Bute Park in the heart of Cardiff, adjacent to Cardiff Castle.

With features dating back to Roman times, the park was constructed from 1873 by Andrew Pettigrew, Head Gardener to the Third Marquess of Bute, and was presented to Cardiff Council in 1947.

Filming in Bute Park for the episodes Daleks In Manhattan and Evolution Of The Daleks began on the afternoon of Thursday 9 November 2006, with the area behind the castle appearing as Central Park for the sequences of the Doctor and Martha after their arrival and then saying farewell to Laszlo and Tallulah; meanwhile, Hooverville was being constructed in the woodlands near Cardiff University.

"It felt fantastically real because it existed on every side of you," commented the show's star David Tennant on BBC Three's Doctor Who Confidential when he started working on the Hooverville encampment the next day.

The team were blighted by poor autumn weather while out on location, having started on Friday 10 November with the arrival of the Doctor and Martha at the make-shift encampment. Recording on the following day was due to run through into the evening, covering the Doctor's warnings of the imminent Dalek danger and urging Solomon and his people to evacuate. An armourer was present on this evening to supervise performers using firearms as the homeless defended themselves against the alien attackers.

The assault continued through the night on Monday 13, with stunt performers leaping from hidden mini-trampettes to simulate the force of explosions which had apparently sent them flying. The hovering Dalek menace was represented on set purely by cut-out images of the creatures, held aloft on long poles by members of the production team, and later to be replaced by computer generated images of the famous monsters.

Production at the sodden parkland concluded with the final scenes of the attack recorded through the night on Thursday 14 November, with a freezing cold crew wrapping at 4am. "For five nights, it absolutely poured down," recalled producer Phil Collinson when recording a commentary for the episode, while director James Strong noted that the muddy venue "suited the scene and the desperation of it all."

Episode synopses: Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution Of The Daleks

The TARDIS materialises in New York in November 1930. While investigating a number of mysterious disappearances, Martha Jones and the Doctor discover the sole Daleks survivors at work in the partially-constructed Empire State Building.

Dalek Sec the Cult of Skaro, who escaped the Battle of Canary Wharf, plan to reinvent the Dalek race by impregnating humans with Dalek DNA.

Return to the Doctor Who in Wales map.

  • Region : South east Wales

How to get here

Bute Park lies in the centre of Cardiff. It is an extensive area best explored on foot or bicycle.

The park stretches northward from Cardiff Castle to Blackweir Fields, alongside which are the equally spacious Pontcanna Fields.

There are a number of entrances to the park but we recommend entering via Castle Street. Alternatively, limited parking can be found on North Road close to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

A water bus stop below Canton Bridge on Castle Street offers regular trips to and from Cardiff Bay, Penarth and the Cardiff Barrage.

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