Old Swansea Central Library

Filming schedule

Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead: filmed 31 January to 2 February, 4-8 February, and 11-12 February 2008

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Silence In The Library: Swansea library

Clip taken from Silence In The Library starring David Tennant as the Doctor, Catherine Tait as Donna Noble and Alex Kingston as archaeologist River Song.

Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 31 May/Saturday 7 June 2008
Director: Euros Lyn
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

"Doctor Who's in town," announced This Is Swansea as they reported on "the stellar cast" seen at the "former central library in Alexandra Road [set] to take centre stage for the special two-parter, which is based on the secrets of an old abandoned library".

For the episodes Silence In The Library and Forest Of The Dead, the Doctor and Donna Noble's arrival at the planet-sized 51st century data repository complex of the Library required an impressive venue which the BBC Wales team could use for several days of location recording in early 2008.

To give the suitably studious and literary atmosphere to these scenes, director Euros Lyn and his crew were able to use the premises of the Old Swansea Central Library. The building had been closed on 6 November 2007, with its services transferred to the city's Civic Centre pending the opening of a new establishment in March 2008.

The magnificent Victorian structure on Alexandra Road had originally been opened by former British Prime Minister William Gladstone on 6 June 1887, and offered a striking circular reading room in particular. Euros recalled the venue as where he had revised for his A level examinations years earlier.

Since all of the books had been removed, the empty shelves were restocked by the Doctor Who art department using thousands of stationery folders bearing special graphics. An elaborate pattern to represent a marble floor had been painted by the team on multi-density fibreboard for laying at the abandoned location.

The first day of recording, Friday 31 January, covered the pre-credit sequence for Silence In The Library with the mysterious Girl in the library, and also the Doctor and Donna's entry to the Blue Index; the colour-coding of the chamber was achieved by shining light through a blue filter onto the white folders.

By Thursday 7 February, all the scary scenes with the archaeological team and the approach of the Vashta Nerada in the Blue Index had been recorded, and with a simple change of lighting, the same area became the Red Index where the Doctor's party got its glimpse at an indistinct image of Donna.

By Monday 11 February, the chamber had been re-illuminated as the Yellow Index so that the Doctor could leap into the light beam of the lift that would take him to heart of the repository. Work at the location then concluded the following day with the sequence of the Auto Destruct countdown commencing.

Episode synopses: Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead

The TARDIS materialises in a vast, apparently deserted Library in the 51st century. The Doctor and Donna Noble meet a group of archaeologists including River Song, a woman whom the Doctor had never met before, but who knows him intimately. As the group investigate the premises, they are stalked by the shadows of the Vashta Nerada.

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  • Region : South west Wales

How to get here

The old library stands to the north of the heart of Swansea's city centre on Alexandra Road, and situated opposite the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

By train: the nearest train station is Swansea.

By car: There are multi-storey car parks in Orchard Street and at the railway station nearby. There is also an open-air car park in Alexandra Road, located between the art gallery and the station.

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