Doctor Who: The fans seem to know where we are filming before we do

The man in charge of finding Doctor Who's filming locations talks forests, fervent fans and why Cardiff is great

Now everyone knows you Doctor Who fans have a reputation for your unerring commitment and enthusiasm… but it seems Iwan Roberts, the show’s locations manager, knows the true extent of your passion.

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It would appear you’re capable of travelling through space and time to get as close as you can to the show’s stars… “Sometimes [the fans] seem to know where we’re filming before we even know where we’re filming,” said the Who crew member, who is responsible for finding the show’s filming locations. 

“But they’re great, so dedicated,” he went on. “I remember we were filming a night scene in Penarth. We were there all night and the fans were there until 5am just to get an autograph from Matt. And he did it too, he’s good with the fans.”

Speaking to Wales Online about his job, the Welsh born crew member shared a little bit about how he picks the locations for the iconic show’s episodes: “I have a huge database of pictures on my laptop, from parks and woods, to residential houses, just so many of them. And you use that as your library. So you look at a Doctor Who script when you get sent it, and think to yourself ‘I’ve got that location’, ‘I know a great place for this scene’.”

Most of Doctor Who is filmed in Wales, where the series’ studio is also located. “We’re bang in the middle of a city, but within 10 minutes you have beautiful countryside or coastline. It’s such a versatile place to film,” said Roberts. “It’s such an easy city to work in, the authorities here make it easy to work. We have the full support of the police and the council, which helps a great deal.”

“Some scripts, though, you need to do a lot of leg work,” revealed Roberts. “The Doctor Who Christmas special in 2011, we had to find a wood or a forest, and it took us so long to find the right woods for that episode.”

The next series of Doctor Who is expected to start filming in the autumn.

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Main image © Laura Blakemore BBC_Fangirl