Dr Who and his Journeys to Wiltshire

on Friday, 22 November 2013. Posted in Wiltshire Places

Unless you are one of the minority of people who do not own a television, you will no doubt be aware that 50 years ago the BBC began broadcasting a television programme which has become a cultural phenomenon. ‘Doctor Who’ was predicted to last only five years but is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this month, an incredible achievement and one that the BBC is celebrating with a documentary about the making of the show, as well as a special anniversary episode called ‘The Day of the Doctor’.

However a much smaller number of people, mostly die-hard ‘Whovians’ or local people who remember the filming, will be aware of the connections between Dr Who and the county of Wiltshire.

Wiltshire has provided the landscape for episodes of Dr Who on a number of occasions – memorably in 1971 the village of Aldbourne provided the backdrop for the Jon Pertwee story: ‘The Daemons’. Aldbourne was transformed into the fictional village of ‘Devil’s End’ where the Doctor’s nemesis, The Master, was masquerading as the local Vicar in a diabolical plot to take over the world. The five part story culminated with the destruction of Aldbourne church – fortunately not in reality!

Not long afterwards, Doctor Who returned to Wiltshire in the 1974 story the ‘Planet of the Spiders’ which famously was the story in which Jon Pertwee regenerated into Tom Baker. This story used Membury in Wiltshire as the backdrop for several scenes – more information and photographs are available at the end of this article.

Doctor Who most recently returned to Wiltshire in February 2010, in the episode ‘The Pandorica Opens’ in which an alliance of the Doctor’s enemies, including the Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen and others, created a prison for the Doctor, under Stonehenge. The episode famously used footage of the actual stones, as well as CGI stones which no longer exist, as it was set in 102 AD when the circle was more complete.


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