St Mary Street, Cardiff

Filming schedule

Rose: filmed 20 July 2004
The Runaway Bride: filmed 24 July 2006
Planet Of The Dead: filmed 26 January 2009

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Rose: St Mary Street, Cardiff

Clip taken from Doctor Who: Rose, featuring Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler on St Mary Street in Cardiff.

Rose

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 26 March 2005
Director: Keith Boak
Starring: Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor

The Runaway Bride

Original BBC One broadcast: Monday 25 December 2006
Director: Euros Lyn
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

Before she began her adventures in time and space, Rose Tyler's rather mundane life saw her working at Henrik's, a department store in central London.

In reality, Henrik's was actually Howells, a department store on St Mary Street in Cardiff established by James Howell in 1856, and it was here on Tuesday 20 July that Billie Piper recorded her first scenes as the Doctor's companion-to-be, showing her at work and then making her fateful descent to the shop's basement where her life would be saved for the first time by the Time Lord.

On the next evening, Rose's escape from the shop continued with scenes in St Mary Street itself, as all manner of debris rained down on the thoroughfare in the wake of the explosion triggered by the Doctor. This was also the first night that the new TARDIS police box prop was in use.

"Tardis lands on streets of city," declared Paul Carey of the Western Mail on Friday 23 July, as he reported that "Dr Who's Tardis has landed - in a deserted Welsh shopping centre in the middle of the night. Late-night revellers stared in disbelief as the famous police box materialised, from the back of a BBC props lorry."

The location recording was described by pubgoer Andy Beynon who commented: "I couldn't believe it. I was walking home from the pub when I saw the Tardis on the pavement in front of me. I honestly thought I was seeing things at first and had to do a double take thinking it was the drink. A couple of lads had carried it out of the back of a van and one looked like he was cleaning or repairing it. I have always been a massive Dr Who fan but never thought I would see the day the Tardis landed in Cardiff."

A couple of years later, and another unsuspecting lady was being whisked off into the world of the Doctor. Donna Noble - the Runaway Bride herself - had been plucked from her own wedding to find herself aboard the TARDIS, and after the Doctor landed back in London she was desperate to make it to the church on time. Despite the sunny summer weather of July 2006, David Tennant and Catherine Tate were theoretically dressed for Donna's big day which coincided with Christmas.

Howells was again decked out as a rebuilt Henrik's for sequences of the Doctor attempting to help Donna make it to her ceremony by supplying her with cash before she flagged down a taxi and departed, not realising that her driver was one of the sinister robotic Santas previously encountered by the Doctor. Director Euros Lyn's shoot in the city centre even made it onto the BBC News.

The third lucky lady to embark on a space odyssey from St Mary Street was elegant thief Lady Christina de Souza who found herself aboard the Number 200 bus with the Doctor in Planet Of The Dead.

A night shoot on Monday 26 January 2009 saw the shopping area representing Oxford Street in London, with sequences of the two key characters boarding the bus - one to follow worrying signals on his rhondium sensor and the other to evade the police in the wake of her daring robbery at the International Gallery. The red double-decker then spent much of the night driving back and forth along the partially closed St Mary Street.

Episode synopsis: Rose

The last thing that Rose Tyler expected on the morning that she set off for her mundane job in a London department store was that by the end of the day she would have been attacked by murderous display mannequins and see her place of work explode. But suddenly she finds herself ensnared in the world of the mysterious Doctor as he battles to prevent the Nestene Consciousness taking control of the Earth through its plastic servants, the Autons.

Episode synopsis: The Runaway Bride

The Doctor is astounded when a woman in a wedding gown appears in his TARDIS. Bride Donna Noble isn't too chuffed about it either, having been whisked away from the altar on the day of her Yuletide wedding. Returning Donna to London, the Doctor attempts to discover how the argumentative woman arrived in his vessel, and finds himself facing a new threat to Earth in the form of the spider-like Racnoss.

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.

Return to the Doctor Who in Wales map.


  • Region : South east Wales

How to get here

St Mary Street in Cardiff is one the city centre's largest retail and leisure areas.

By train: The nearest train station is Cardiff Central station; St Mary Street is a brief walk away.

By car: St Mary Street is undergoing a process of pedestrianisation, but there are a large number of city centre car parks and park and ride services operated in the city. Visit the Cardiff County Council website for further information.

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