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That's a Hell of a House Call

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 11, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 11, 2010 |

For the first time in its thirty and change seasons, “Doctor Who” will be filming on location in America. That’s a long time for the Doctor to never come on over here for some filming, I mean by my calculations that goes all the way back to when we were colonials and wore white wigs. I still wear mine on the weekends. The BBC released a little press statement on the subject:


Upcoming season’s first two episodes to be set in the U.S.

The BBC announced today that season six of Doctor Who, which delivered record ratings for BBC AMERICA earlier this year, will open with a spectacular two-parter set in the U.S. and penned by ‘Who supremo’ Steven Moffat.

In the special two-parter co-produced with BBC AMERICA, key scenes will be filmed in Utah for a story set in the late ’60s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah—right to the Oval Office itself.

Production on episodes one and two of the new season starts in Cardiff this month and Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will then travel to America in mid November to shoot pivotal scenes. They will also be joined by Alex Kingston who reprises her role as River Song.

Showrunner and lead writer, Steven Moffat, said: “The Doctor has visited every weird and wonderful planet you can imagine, so he was bound get round to America eventually! And of course every Doctor Who fan will be jumping up and down and saying he’s been in America before. But not for real, not on location—and not with a story like this one! Oh, you wait!”

Piers Wenger, Head of Drama BBC Wales and Executive Producer, added: “Steven’s scripts generally inspire us to go that extra mile - this time we’re going that extra four thousand. Thanks to our friends at BBC AMERICA and to the continuing ambition of our lead writer and production team, the first two episodes of Matt Smith’s second season as the Doctor are going global and look set to become Doctor Who’s most action-packed and ambitious season opener yet”.

The new season follows on from the Doctor Who Christmas special guest starring Katherine Jenkins and Michael Gambon which is due to premiere at Christmas. Season six will start airing on BBC AMERICA in spring 2011 and has been split into two blocks, with the second block airing in autumn 2011. By splitting the series Moffat plans to give viewers one of the most exciting Doctor Who cliffhangers and plot twists ever, leaving them waiting, on the edge of their seats, until the autumn to find out what happens.

2010 has been a breakthrough year for the Doctor Who franchise across all platforms since BBC AMERICA became the official home of the series. The series reached the number one spot on the “Top TV Seasons” chart on iTunes and now Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Season hits stores on Blu-ray and DVD on November 9.

Doctor Who was co-commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning for BBC One and Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One and will be produced by Marcus Wilson (Life on Mars) and Sanne Wohlenberg (Margaret). Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer (Sherlock Holmes) with Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, BBC Wales and Beth Willis (Ashes to Ashes), also Executive Producing.

Filming is taking place in Cardiff until March 2011.

Okay, so that might have been the opposite of little. Here’s the summary bits:

  • It will be shot in Utah. Which seems a waste to bother with the trip. It’s desert. Don’t they have desert in Britain? [checks wikipedia] Oh, right.
  • River Song will be showing up again.
  • The season will be split in two parts, spring and fall, with a cliff hanger between them to make sure your summer isn’t that relaxing.

Also, I hate press releases. I really only pasted it because since I read the damned thing, I just felt like sharing. The language used is the sort of abominable mindlessly positive effusiveness that shouldn’t be seen outside of teenage text messages. I like reading them out loud in the movie announcer voice. “Who Supremo Steven Moffat”, really? It really takes an extra bit of skill (or something) to make the people who like the show want to vomit upon reading press for it.

(source: Blastr)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.