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You are in: Somerset > Entertainment and Leisure > Art, Films and Television > Doctor Who in Somerset

David Tennant and Freema Agyeman in Doctor Who

Doctor Who in Somerset

The Doctor travelled through time and space to Wells Cathedral for an episode of the third series. Listen to an interview with one of the stars and find out about the county's other connections to the Gallifreyan galavanter.

The finale of episode six, starring the League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss, was filmed in England's smallest city.

The Doctor brings Martha back to Earth in The Lazarus Experiment. Could this be the end of her travels?

When she discovers her family is caught up in the scheming of Professor Lazarus (Mark Gatiss) and his Genetic Manipulation Device, it becomes a fight for survival, as human DNA twists into monstrous form.

Mark Gatiss in Doctor Who

Mark Gatiss as Professor Lazarus

Mark Gatiss wrote an episode for the first series, entitled The Unquiet Dead, but the die-hard Whovian really wanted to be in front of the camera.

Speaking to BBC Somerset's Elise Rayner, he said: "I was going to try to wait [to see it on TV] but I had to do some post-production dubbing on it.

"The bloke pressed play [in the edit suite] and then he started making phone calls.

"I gave him about 30 seconds and then I said: 'No, you've got to start it again. Turn the lights out and please leave.' I was thinking: 'I've not waited 35 years for this!'

"It's a huge dream-come-true after all these years, and I'm really thrilled with the episode."

The Wells Journal reported in October 2006 that David Tennant was spotted by fans in the city's branch of Starbucks enjoying a cup of strong coffee before filming. As we found out in the 2005 Christmas episode, his alien alter-ego prefers tea.

David Tennant in Doctor Who

Wells Cathedral doubled as Southwark Cathedral

He told Doctor Who Confidential (the behind-the-scenes documentary series): "Wells is increasingly used for filming period dramas. We're doing a modern-day episode in Wells, which has got to be a first.

"I'm very glad we got to go there, because it's such a stunning location. You've got these incredible vaulted ceilings and the great organ loft, which was so much part of what we needed [to double as Southwark Cathedral]."

Doctor Who: The Lazarus Experiment was first shown on BBC One on 5 May 2007.

BBC Somerset's Simon Parkin spoke to Who producer Phil Collinson and the voice of the Daleks, Nick Briggs, on Saturday Breakfast in April 2007.

Anthony Head

Readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Anthony Head (star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as the best villain of the second series.

Anthony Head in Doctor Who

Anthony Head as Mr Finch

The actor who lives near Bath played a scary headmaster, Mr Finch, in episode three, entitled School Reunion.

BBC Somerset's Helen Otter visited Tony on his farm in April 2006.

Over a cup of tea, he said of his role: "It felt on the page very subdued, but there were other scenes where I just let rip to see what would happen - some stuff came out that surprised both me and the crew!"

Since playing Mr Finch, the former Buffy star has read a Doctor Who audio book at studios in Bath and is currently starring as the voice of Baltazar - Scourge of the Galaxy in a cartoon, The Infinite Quest, on CBBC's Totally Doctor Who. He is also the narrator of the third series of Doctor Who Confidential.

Will Thorp

Sneaking up behind Anthony Head for the best-villain title in the fans' survey was another Somerset actor - Will Thorp, who grew up in Frome.

Will Thorp in Doctor Who

Will Thorp as Toby

The former Casualty actor played scientist Toby who transformed into the Beast in a two-parter: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.

On being in the series, he said: "It was fantastic - it was a little boy's dream.

"Anything you do that you used to watch as a boy is surreal. It was just really exciting and a fantastic experience."

Sarah Parish

The actor originally from Yeovil starred as the evil Empress of Racnoss in the 2006 Christmas special.

Sarah Parish in Doctor Who

Sarah Parish as the Empress of Racnoss

Sarah told BBC Breakfast: "I think it's the biggest real monster that Doctor Who has ever done. They've done big CGI monsters but this was actually made."

She had to endure punishing 14-hour days to become the awesome arachnid. These included a full two hours in the prosthetics department each morning of the three-day shoot, where she was fitted with a prosthetic head, contact lenses and dentures.

Wearing a body suit, she then took her place within the complex set, having to contort her body into a kneeling position and arch her back for the entire 11 hours of shooting, before spending a further hour at the end of the day having everything removed.

Billie Piper

The Swindon-born actor starred in Christopher Hampton's Treats at the Theatre Royal Bath in February 2007 prior to her West End stage debut.

Billie Piper in Doctor Who

Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

In 2006, we had said goodbye to her character at the end of the second series.

Speaking to the BBC's Richard Lewis, she said: "I miss not doing Doctor Who and I miss Rose Tyler. I hope I made the right choice.

"It's going to be really hard when the new series [with Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones] starts - I'm going to find that quite hard to watch.

"I had a great two-year run and I'm really enjoying myself trying other things.

"And there's always the chance that Rose may return. You never know - that's the beauty of sci-fi!"

James Purefoy

The Taunton-born actor stars with the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, in a Big Finish audio adventure called Son of the Dragon. It is due for release in September 2007.

He also stars as Mark Antony in Rome and has voiced one of the chapters in BBC Somerset's short-story competition.

Wookey Hole Caves

Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor ran into the Cybermen in the depths of Wookey Hole Caves in 1975.

Out of the Box - and Beyond

An exhibition of Graham Humphrey's original illustrations produced to package classic Doctor Who toys took place at the Rook Lane Chapel in Frome in May 2007. It was curated by a locally based design firm - Product Enterprise.

last updated: 25/01/2008 at 09:58
created: 25/12/2006

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