National Museum of Wales, Cardiff

Filming schedule

Dalek: filmed Monday 25 October 2004
The Lazarus Experiment: filmed Monday 16 October 2006
Planet Of The Dead: filmed Monday 19 January 2009
Vincent and the Doctor: filmed Friday 27 November 2009
The Big Bang: filmed Monday 25 January 2010

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Planet Of The Dead: National Museum

Clip taken from Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead featuring Michelle Ryan as Lady Christina de Souza, filmed in the National Museum Wales.


Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 30 April 2005
Director: Joe Ahearne
Starring: Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor

The Lazarus Experiment

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 5 May 2007
Director: Richard Clark
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

Planet Of The Dead

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 11 April 2009
Director: James Strong
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

Vincent And The Doctor

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 29 May 2010
Director: Jonny Campbell
Starring: Matt Smith as the Doctor

The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 12/Saturday 19 June 2010
Director: Toby Haynes
Starring: Matt Smith as the Doctor

In the heart of Cardiff's civic centre, the National Museum of Wales was officially opened in April 1927 by King George V. The national archaeology of Wales is housed in the museum's many galleries, with collections of art, geology and natural history telling the story of the country and demonstrating the evolution of its land and people.

Doctor Who's first visit to the museum was in October 2004 for the episode Dalek, when the then-unused Exhibition Hall became the Exhibit Room of Henry van Statten's collection of alien artefacts, half a mile beneath the surface of Utah in the year 2012.

Glass cases housed props such as the arm of a Slitheen and also a 1970s-style Cyberman head which were studied by Rose and the ninth Doctor when they emerged from the TARDIS upon their arrival. Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper were also joined for scenes in the museum by Bruno Langley who played Adam, a short-lived TARDIS traveller with the duo.

A couple of years later, in The Lazarus Experiment, a new Doctor was back at the museum, accompanied by a new companion in the form of Martha Jones.

On the evening of Monday 16 October, the Edwardian exterior of the civil complex in Cathay's Park was to feature as the exterior of the Lazarus Laboratories in London, with David Tennant and Freema Agyeman joined by numerous other cast members, and the camera crew of BBC Three's Doctor Who Confidential who appeared as the television team covering Professor Lazarus' monumental demonstration for the media.

With the exterior scenes completed, the BBC Wales team moved inside to record sequences in the West Wing which featured as the laboratory foyer and security station and so wrap up the night shoot.

Production on the Doctor Who Specials began in January 2009 with a night shoot back at the museum for the Easter adventure Planet Of The Dead. This time, the museum was playing the part of the International Gallery in London, with the atrium area given over to the BBC Wales team for a night shoot on Monday 19 January.

"These places are so kind to us," observed executive producer Russell T Davies of the museum on Doctor Who Confidential, with the location giving a spectacular backdrop to the heist executed by Lady Christina de Souza as she dropped in from the Dome and appropriated the chalice of King Athelstan from its display in the Entrance Hall.

Guest star Michelle Ryan was delighted to perform as much of the sequence where she was suspended on wires as possible in her role as the lady thief, telling BBC Three: "The wire work was great. I'm a real adrenaline junkie!"

Later in the year, Vincent And The Doctor was recorded at the museum, with one of the exhibition areas transformed into a display of artwork by the famous Vincent van Gogh. This was visited not only by the Doctor and Amy - played by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan - at the Musee D'Orsay in 2010, but by the end of the tale would have been gazed upon by Vincent himself.

Writer Richard Curtis was present on location to watch director Jonny Campbell bringing his tale to life on Friday 27 November, and also to catch up with his old friend actor Bill Nighy who was playing Doctor Black.

Next time the BBC team visited the museum was Monday 25 January 2010, with the establishment this time playing the National Museum - home to the Anomaly Exhibition and the Pandorica - in the 2010 series finale, The Big Bang.

The sequences in the museum foyer were recorded here, including little Amelia's arrival with her aunt, and also sequences of the Doctor telling his colleagues about the powers of the strange Pandorica box.

Episode synopsis: Dalek

The Doctor and Rose Tyler soon trip an alarm when the TARDIS deposits them inside the museum of alien artefacts in the underground lair of the powerful and ruthless Henry van Statten, buried in the depths of Utah in 2012. Claiming to be an expert in aliens, the Doctor is shown van Statten's proudest possession, a living specimen which he has named a Metaltron ... but which the Doctor immediately recognises as a Dalek.

Episode synopsis: The Lazarus Experiment

The Doctor's curiosity is piqued by the elderly Professor Richard Lazarus' claim that his latest experiment will "change what it means to be human." He and Martha Jones attend Lazarus' live demonstration where the scientist manages to turn back the ageing process. However, in his new youthful form, Lazarus' DNA structure is dangerously unstable, and monstrous changes soon occur.

Episode synopsis: Planet Of The Dead

While checking some energy readings in London, the Doctor boards a Number 200 double decker bus which is then caught up in a wormhole and transported to an alien desert, all that remains of the planet San Helios. The Doctor and his fellow passengers - including the daring adventuress and jewel thief Lady Christina de Souza - must find a way to get the wrecked vehicle back to London before being consumed by a strange swarm.

Episode synopsis: Vincent And The Doctor

While visiting the Musee D'Orsay in France in 2010, the Doctor is rather disturbed to discover that Vincent van Gogh painted an alien creature in the detail of one of his last works: The Church at Auvers. He whisks Amy back to June 1890 to investigate the extraterrestrial activity, and to bring moments of happiness to the mentally ill artist.

Episode synopses: The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang

A message from the start of time carved into a mountainside on Planet One is translated by the Doctor, and brings him to a Roman encampment near Stonehenge in 102 AD. Here, River Song shows him a warning: a painting by Vincent van Gogh showing the TARDIS exploding, with the title The Pandorica Opens.

Return to the Doctor Who in Wales map.

  • Region : South east Wales

How to get here

The museum stands in the heart of Cardiff's Civic Centre, and is a short walk from the city centre.

By bus or train: the museum is an apporoximate 20 minute walk from Cardiff Central bus and railway station. Alternatively, the nearest train station is Cathays (Change at Cardiff Central) or catch the number 27 bus - check the Cardiff Bus Company website for more information.

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