Cwm Bychan, Llanbedr

Filming schedule

The Five Doctors: filmed 15 March 1983

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The Five Doctors: Cwm Bychan

Clip taken from Doctor Who: The Five Doctors, featuring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.

The Five Doctors

Original BBC One broadcast: Friday 25 November 1983
Director: Peter Moffatt
Starring: Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, Richard Hurndall, Tom Baker and William Hartnell as the Doctor

Produced and broadcast in 1983, The Five Doctors was focus of celebrations for 20 years of Doctor Who and was crafted to reunite Doctors, companions and enemies from the previous two decades.

It was also allocated a budget which allowed a substantial amount of the Time Lord tale to be filmed out on location rather than confined to the studios of Television Centre in London, and a great deal of the locations required for the story were found in North Wales.

The remote area around the glacial lake of Llyn Cwm Bychan in Snowdonia National Park (a source of the River Artro flowing out to the sea via Llanbedr) offered a single roadway and rocky outcrops which were ideal for sequences of the Doctor in his third incarnation - played by Jon Pertwee - driving his highly distinctive car Bessie through the Death Zone, accompanied by Sarah Jane Smith, portrayed by Elisabeth Sladen.

These sequences were filmed in March 1983 along with the third Doctor's encounter with the Master - at this time played by Anthony Ainley - who was, on this occasion, attempting to help the Doctor.

However, the Doctor failed to trust his old nemesis, and when energy bolts streaked down from the sky, the Master narrowly dodged them to survive. With one of the blasts striking Bessie, the Doctor and Sarah were left with little option but to abandon the vehicle and continue their journey on foot.

Episode synopsis: The Five Doctors

Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, Richard Hurndall, Tom Baker and William Hartnell as Doctor Who Story: Relaxing with his companions, Tegan and Turlough, at the Eye of Orion, the Doctor feels that his previous selves are being taken out of time. With the fourth Doctor stuck in the time vortex, the other incarnations find themselves in the Death Zone on Gallifrey, aided by former companions in a quest to the Dark Tower and combating various foes from their past on their way.

Return to the Doctor Who in Wales map.


  • Region : North west Wales

How to get here

Cwm Bychan is situated approximately four miles east of Harlech, and is best accessed by car or on foot.

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