Llandaff village, Cardiff

Filming schedule

Human Nature/The Family Of Blood: filmed 28 November, 12 December 2006
The Eleventh Hour: filmed 29 September, 5-7 October, 20 November 2009

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Human Nature: Llandaff Cathedral

Clip taken from Doctor Who: Human Nature starring Thomas Sangster as Tim Latimer and Harry Lloyd as Jeremy Baines.

Human Nature/The Family Of Blood

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 26 May/Saturday 2 June 2007
Director: Charles Palmer
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

The Eleventh Hour

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 3 April 2010
Director: Adam Smith
Starring: Matt Smith as the Doctor

The picturesque village of Llandaff, four miles from the city of Cardiff, was the birthplace to writer Roald Dahl, singer Charlotte Church and also Dalek creator Terry Nation who was born there in August 1930.

Central to the suburb is Llandaff Cathedral, erected on the site of a sixth century church founded by St Teilo, and built from 1107 under the supervision of Bishop Urban who had been appointed by the Normans. Restored in 1882, the cathedral was damaged by the Luftwaffe during World War Two.

Back in 1913, the Doctor - or rather John Smith - found himself unaware of his existence as a Time Lord as he worked as a human teacher at Farringham School for Boys. The teaching establishment itself was an amalgam of various locations, and on Tuesday 28 November 2006 while stars David Tennant and Freema Agyeman - who played the Doctor and Martha Jones - were recording the episode Blink, director Charles Palmer was at Llandaff Catherdral recording scenes for the episodes Human Nature and The Family of Blood which depicted the staircases and dormitory inside the school.

Tuesday 12 December then found the teams of both Doctor Who and BBC Three's Doctor Who Confidential back at the Cathedral for recording on The Family of Blood. The holy venue was where Mr Smith and Nurse Redfern would be seen getting married in the timeline that never was, as well as for the moving scenes at the end of the narrative where the Doctor and Martha observed from a distance as the now elderly Tim Latimer took part in a Remembrance Day ceremony for his fallen fellows from the Great War.

Three years later, and Llandaff would become Leadworth, the home of Amy Pond, the Doctor's latest TARDIS travelling companion on whom time had played a cruel trick during her childhood. The Welsh cathedral green was transformed into a typical English village; one house was transformed into the tavern of the Travellers' Rest, other homes were repainted to ape an olde Englishe village, flowers and greenery was added, signage changed, and the corner of a car park transformed into a duck pond... without any ducks.

Recording on Tuesday 29 September began with work at the White House, the home of the cathedral clergy, which was featuring as the living room of Mrs Angelo's home as visited by Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond.

The BBC were back in Llandaff/Leadworth on Monday 5 October with director Adam Smith. The main unit focused for the day on the sequences of the Doctor and Amy hearing the Atraxi message from everywhere and the Doctor declaring that he only had 20 minutes to save the planet. While these scenes with Matt and Karen were recorded, Partizan Lab directors Anthony Dickenson and Dan Lowe took photographs which would form the stop frame animation sequence showing the Doctor's thought processes as he analysed the scene on the green.

Images from the day's work quickly appeared in the media. "Doctor Who's new assistant Karen Gillan shows off her long legs in sexy policewoman's outfit" announced the Daily Mail, while BBC Wales presented photographs of the village's transformation.

Rain fell on Tuesday 6 October, and between the cloudbursts the BBC Wales crew attempted to tape the important scene of the Doctor returning Amy's apple to her while trapped by his tie in a car window. "We just got killed by the weather. Torrential rain on the two days we had to shoot it," recalled showrunner Steven Moffat of the key village green sequence in Doctor Who Magazine.

"We've had trouble with the rain," explained Matt Smith to the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday 7 October. "It's meant to be an idyllic, sunny village. But, as you can see, it's pouring down." The rain again hampered work on the recording of the Doctor confronting Prisoner Zero with his sonic screwdriver and sending objects around the village green berserk; many of these were recorded in cutaway shots by a second unit under director Alastair Siddons. The climax of the sequence was the destruction of the Doctor's current sonic screwdriver.

Because of the poor weather, elements of the confrontation between the Doctor and Prisoner Zero on the village green and its aftermath were recorded back at Llandaff Village on Friday 20 November, requiring only Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, along with Arthur Darvill as Amy's sort-of-boyfriend Rory. Eventually, all the scenes in Leadworth were committed to tape, and Amy Pond was too to be whisked away on a fairytale adventure in space and time.

Episode synopses: Human Nature/The Family Of Blood

November 1913, and Martha Jones is working as a maid to John Smith, a school master at Farringham School for Boys. Only John Smith looks like the Doctor, and has strange dreams about adventures in time and space.

While Smith falls in love with Matron Joan Redfern, Martha has to stand alone when local scarecrows are animated by the arrival of the alien Family.

Episode synopsis: The Eleventh Hour

On fire, the TARDIS soars across the London skyline and eventually crash lands into a garden in Leadworth, a village some way from Gloucester. Newly regenerated, the erratic Doctor emerges to encounter seven year old Amelia Pond who has bravely ventured out into the night. Attempting to stabilise his time ship, the Doctor promises young Amelia that he will be back in five minute ... and returns 12 years later with only 20 minutes to save the world.

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  • Region : South east Wales

How to get here

The picturesque village of Llandaff lies a few miles from the city centre of Cardiff.

By train: The nearest train station is Llandaff; change at Cardiff Central or Cardiff Queen Street for a connecting service.

By bus: various service numbers frequent the area. Check the Cardiff Bus website for timetable listings and routes.

By car: leave the M4 motorway at junction 29 and take the A48(M) toward Cardiff. Continue on the A48, taking a slight left at A4119/Mill Lane, turn right at Cardiff Road and take the turning right into Llandaff High Street.

Alternatively, leave the M4 at junction 32, exit onto A4054/A470 toward Merthyr Tydfil/Cardiff and follow the A4054. At the roundabout, take the third exit onto Kelston Rd, turn left at Heol Don and continue to the roundabout. Take the second exit onto Bridge Road and at the next roundabout take the first exit onto Cardiff Road, then take the turning left into Llandaff High Street.

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