Southerndown beach, Vale of Glamorgan

Filming schedule

Army of Ghosts/Doomsday: filmed 16 January 2006
Journey's End: filmed 5 March 2008
The Time Of Angels/Flesh And Stone: filmed 20-21 July 2009

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The Time Of Angels: Southerndown

Clip taken from Doctor Who: The Time Of Angels featuring Matt Smith as the Doctor, Alex Kingston as River Song and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, in a scene filmed at Southerndown.

Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 1 and Saturday 8 July 2006
Director: Graeme Harper
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

The Stolen Earth/Journey's End

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 28 June and 5 July 2008
Director: Graeme Harper
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

The Time Of Angels/Flesh And Stone

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 24 April and 1 May 2010
Director: Adam Smith
Starring: Matt Smith as the Doctor

Twenty miles to the west of Cardiff close to the village of Southerndown, the stretch of the Bristol Channel beach is a picturesque area with good surfing conditions (thanks to the Gulf Stream) and grand cliffs of sedimentary rocks.

Officially known as Dunraven Bay, it was designated as a piece of Heritage Coast in 1972. Thirty-four years later, the Doctor Who team arrived to turn it into the location for some of the most moving scenes of the series: Bad Wolf Bay in Norway.

The highly secret climax to the 2006 series of Doctor Who as the tenth Doctor bade a tearful farewell to his former companion Rose Tyler - now trapped with her family on a parallel Earth in a different universe - was recorded by director Graeme Harper and his minimal crew, with a little disruption from some local windsurfers, on Monday 16 January.

For these closing scenes in Doomsday, David Tennant and Billie Piper were joined by Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri, and Shaun Dingwall as Rose's former boyfriend Mickey Smith and her parents Jackie and Pete Tyler. The stretch of sand was also the alien world where the Doctor and Rose were seen at the start of the previous episode, Army Of Ghosts.

Just over two years later, Graeme Harper and his team were back at the same venue where - this time - the Doctor would be able to say a more definite goodbye to Rose at Bad Wolf Bay, and leave her with a Doctor of her own to spend her life with.

Carefully timed around the local tides, this scene for the closing act of Journey's End saw Catherine Tate as Donna joining David, Billie and Camille... all balancing on duckboards to prevent them sinking into the sand. With noise from some nearby buildings disrupting the shoot, some of the close-ups were later completed in the nearby car park after the tide had covered the sands.

Dunraven Bay was to be the first place where Matt Smith and Karen Gillan went before the BBC Wales cameras to start recording Doctor Who as the latest incarnation of the Doctor and his latest companion, Amy Pond, in July 2009.

The performers' first two days were spent at Southerndown recording the coastal scenes on the alien home world of the Aplans, with the Doctor introducing Amy to River Song - somebody from both his past and future - and also watching her return to confinement in handcuffs once their life and death struggle with the Weeping Angels in the depths of an Aplan mortarium and aboard the crashed starliner of the Byzantium were concluded.

Monday 20 July 2009 was the first time the nation saw the new Doctor in costume and his new TARDIS, now complete with restored St John Ambulance logo. Writer and executive producer Steven Moffat recalled of this first day of recording: "By accident it was the most magical beginning. We went down onto this perfect, white beach. The TARDIS and our two main characters were there and we could just see that blue rectangle facing us. It was like a stamp stuck on a picture, it was so perfect!

"I remember walking down thinking this is properly magical; we're not starting with some secondary characters that end up getting killed by an electric slug, or something. We're actually starting with the Doctor and the Companion stepping out of the TARDIS talking to River Song ... My other memory is of this day ending early because the tide came in unexpectedly. I did slightly wonder if this would be the shape of things to come!"

On the second day, it was rain, not the tide, which threatened the BBC crew. "The rain on the second day of filming was so torrential that I suggested I could cut three pages, provided I could relocate them in a new TARDIS scene," explained Steven, "I ended up sat in the production van, very grumpy, hastily rewriting scenes."

Episode synopses: Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday

When Rose Tyler and the Doctor return to Rose's home to visit her mother, Jackie, the Doctor is soon intrigued by the appearance of "ghosts" across the world, and their connection to the mysterious Torchwood Institute. The spectres are soon revealed to be Cybermen, breaking through from a parallel universe via a Void. The aliens are soon engaged in battle over London with the occupants of a strange spacecraft from the Void: the Daleks.

Episode synopses: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End

Warned of terrible events by Rose Tyler, the Doctor and Donna Noble return to Earth in the TARDIS just as the entire planet is teleported away, becoming one of a number of missing worlds transported to the Medusa Cascade. Aided by his former travelling companions, the Doctor discovers that the Daleks are behind the terrible events, and again comes face to face with the alien's creator - the scientist Davros.

Episode synopses: The Time Of Angels/Flesh And Stone

A message in Old High Gallifreyan on a museum artefact brings the Doctor and Amy back in time to save his past/future acquaintance River Song from the starline Byzantium as it crashes towards a colonised world. Its cargo turns out to be lethal: a Weeping Angel. As a party of clerics venture into the moratorium of an alien world, they realise the terrifying truth about the statues of the ancient civilisation around them.

Return to the Doctor Who in Wales map.

  • Region : South east Wales

How to get here

Southerndown beach, located on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, is a sandy expanse backed by dramatic cliffs.

By car: Exit the M4 at junction 35, and then follow the A473 towards Bridgend, then follow signs for Llantwit Major, and then Southerndown. When you reach Southerndown turn left onto Beach Road and follow to the car park.

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