St Fagans Natural History Museum, Cardiff

Filming schedule

Human Nature/The Family of Blood: filmed 13-15 December 2006, 4-5 and 7-8 January 2007

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Human Nature: St Fagans

Clip taken from the Doctor Who episode Human Nature, starring David Tennant as The Doctor/John Smith and Jessica Hynes as Joan Redfern.

Human Nature/The Family Of Blood

Original BBC One broadcast: Saturday 26 May/Saturday 2 June 2007
Director: Charles Palmer
Starring: David Tennant as the Doctor

St Fagans is an open-air museum near Cardiff, opened in November 1948 in the grounds of the 16th century manor house St Fagans Castle and its gardens.

Original period buildings have been re-erected in the 100 acre parkland, including a farm, a school, a chapel and a Workman's Institute, giving an impression of how the people of Wales lived around a century ago, complete with craft workshops and exhibitions for visitors.

Director Charles Palmer and the Doctor Who team spent two periods at the establishment either side of Christmas 2006 where the lovingly restored buildings were the perfect setting for the village exteriors seen during the Doctor and Martha Jones' spell in England of 1913.

Recording on the first day, Wednesday 13 December, saw a well-aimed cricket ball from schoolmaster John Smith - the Doctor's human incarnation - saving a mother and child from a falling piano on the village green in the episode Human Nature.

One of the buildings then featured as the Cartwrights' cottage for some of the climactic scenes in the second instalment of the story, The Family Of Blood.

The dance at the village hall due to be gate-crashed by the Family and their scarecrows was the main focus on Thursday 14 December. The Workman's Institute building was ideal for these complex sequences, offering both suitable interior and exteriors. "The dance hall scene was quite complicated to do," explained Charles Palmer to Doctor Who Confidential. "Working with that many extras is always quite difficult, and they are all in period costume and make-up so that takes a long time."

After Christmas, Freema Agyeman (who played Martha) was back at St Fagans from Thursday 4 January where various exterior sequences were taped, including the fateful encounters of the little girl and Jenny with the scarecrows, plus night-time sequences in the woodlands of Baines seeing the strange lights and of young Tim Latimer encountering both Hutchinson and Martha.

The following day, David Tennant taped more scenes of the Smith family with their children as seen fleetingly in the montages, before sequences in the barn where the TARDIS was parked were recorded, followed by material in the school garage for the evacuation of the boys and a night shoot for scenes at the local pub, situated close to the A4232.

Sunday 7 January then saw the detonation of an explosion to represent the destruction of the Family's spaceship along with other scenes in the field where the craft landed. Work at St Fagans concluded on Monday 8 January with a few more exterior scenes at the village and on the lane.

Episode synopses: Human Nature/The Family Of Blood

It's November 1913, and Martha Jones is working as a maid to John Smith, a school master at Farringham School for Boys. Only John Smith looks like the Doctor, and has strange dreams about adventures in time and space.

While Smith falls in love with Matron Joan Redfern, Martha has to stand alone when local scarecrows are animated by the arrival of the alien Family.

Return to the Doctor Who in Wales map.

  • Region : South east Wales

How to get here

St Fagans National History Museum is located four miles west of Cardiff city centre.

By car: Follow road signs for the Museum of Welsh Life after leaving the M4 at junction 33, following the A4232.

By bus: local bus services run from Cardiff Central bus station (immediately outside Cardiff Central railway station) to St Fagans. Check the Cardiff Bus Company website for route numbers and timetables.

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