Thursday 4 November 2010

Revenge of the Invasion of the Aussies

Had a great day today, meeting up with a couple of forum members who were in the UK from Australia.

I’ve previosuly met up with Bob Mitsch, Ian Cummins, Jonathan from Paris. This time it was the turn of Mark Ferris, who last year did a run of replica five and Six Shirts, and is known as linxthesontaran. He has also made a SUPERB replica Dalek ala The Chase (see below).

He is currently half-way through a one-year trip to the UK, and has been living and working in Harrogate in Yorkshire. We had been hoping to meet up sooner, but travelling costs down to london and back can be prohibitive, especially on a tight budget.

As it happened, Mark and his friend James, have been on a short holiday to Egypt and were routing through Heathrow for their journey. The return trip from Ciaro to London and then Harrogate would have been a nightmare, so they sensibly broke it up with an overnight stop at a London hostel, giving them a free day in town and a chance to finally meet.

The plan, as usual now when I meet forum members in London, is to do a walking tour of Who locations around the capital.
Mark is much more of a classic series fan than new, so the emphasis was on these stories for the locations I choose.

It wasn’t the best day to be in central London as there was a tube strike, which had closed a number of stations with a lot of lines on reduced service, however, we planned to walk pretty much everywhere, so it didn’t really affect us as such, beyond a busy bus to get us to where we needed to start from.

I won’t go into masses of detail of the first leg of our tour, but we took a look at Smithfeild Market, where The Third Doctor drove WHO-1 around, avoiding dinosaurs in the deserted London streets of Invasion Of The Dinosaurs; dropped past the Police Post on St Martin Le Grande (see right); saw St Pauls Cathedral and the site of St Peters Steps where the Cybermen bold strode down in the Trougton story, The Invasion; crossed the Millennium Bridge to see The Globe Theatre, use in The Shakespeare Code, ; took a walk through Clink Wharf, where scenes for The Talons Of Weng-Chiang were filmed (at night in rolling Victorian fog, so not much to really see there!); before heading down to one location Mark was eager to see: Butler’s Wharf on Shad Thames.
When I conducted this tour I thought there were only two surviving Police Posts in London.
I have since discovered that there are a lot more.

You can read about all of them under
Eleven TARDISES For Eleven Doctors
Ressuretion of The Daleks is one of Mark’s fav stories, and it showed on his face as he looked around the street and its impressive bridges spanning the warehouses.

We chatted a fair bit about the story, and I pointed out that despite it being a Dalek story, and this being the sole exterior location, only one scene using a Dalek had been shot here.

A couple of operator-less Daleks were brought down for a queyside photocall with Tower Bridge in the background (see right), but only one Dalek (and a rather battered one at that) was used for filming the fall from the warehouse window (see above).

Once we had seen where the TARDIS landed; where Col Archer tries to use the phone box; where Tegan ran from the police officers; and where the Dalek fell from the warehouse to its doom below (see left), we headed back towards Waterloo.

It was around the back streets here that the Daleks had staged their running battle in the Sylvestor McCoy story, Remembrance Of the Daleks.
I was telling Mark about how at the time of filming, in 1988, there was a lot of bomb threats from the IRA with them targeting places in the capital. The bridge where the scenes were shot (see left) is under one of the main artierially routes into the nearby Waterloo station, and when the special effects guys detonated their explosions they had forgotten to inform the local fire brigade or police.

As a result there were some panicked phone calls to the emergency services fearing a terrorist attack!
A fire engine was duely dispatched and arrived to find the street full of smoke, which cleared to reveal a row of Daleks approaching them! After explaining what was going on, the panic was over, though the authorities were not entirely pleased with the crew and what had happened . . .

As we were looking around Mark spotted a little bit of grafitti on the wall. It said his name - MARK. Walking around the corner we spotted another. And another. Before long we had spied nearly a dozen of these chalked tags on the walls and it was starting to freak us out!
It was like some kind of warning from the future ala Bad Wolf!

We headed off towards the South Bank Centre, which had been used in the Jon pertwee adventure, Frontier In Space, where The Doctor and Jo Grant are chased by Draconians and Ogarons around the concrete fururistic structures (see left).

Something Mark said, which I had taken for granted and never quite appreciated, is the proximity of buildings to the Thames. Knowing the place for many years, and simply recognising it in the series, meant I just knew where it was and didn’t notice that you don’t see the river.
Again, looking at it through new eyes, it is a very ugly part of London, with juxoposed walls and textures. It was fururistic when it was built, and you can see why it was used - but maybe it’s had its day . . .

From here we crossed Hungerford footbridge and met another Aussie forum member outside Enbankment station. Michael Davoren, known as the Nth Doctor, is in London as part of a theatre group who perform a Fawlty Towers tribute interactive performance. he only had limited time, so we popped into a Pret for some lunch and a natter, passing John Adams Street on the way to see the facarde used in Aliens Of London and World War Three as the outside of Number Ten Downing Street (see right).

We were only a stones throw from the Stamp Centre on The Strand, so we all headed over there for a look around (see right).
There isn’t really anywhere in Austraila that stocks Doctor Who mercendise to this level, so the pair of them are like kids in a sweet shop, not knowing where to look or what to pick up next! The Cyberman cufflink? The Dalek keyring? The 11th Doctor action figures? I kept out of it!

time was moving on, and we needed to as well, so we caught a bus and went past Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall and around Parliement Square.

Mark was keen to see Number One Buckingham Place, the house where Number Six lived in The Prisoner (see left). This was essentially my fault. Many months ago Iw as chatting to Mark and the subject of The Prisoner came up - don’t ask me how. I told him all about it and thought nothing more of it. Next time we chatted he had found some episodes and was slowly working his way through the series, asking me questions all the way.

It’s a very attractive Georgian house in a relatively quite back street near Victoria, which was handy, as the guys needed to get their coach back to Harrogate from the coach station there.

After a long day walking the four corners on the centre of London, we had a welcome sit down with a coffee before I pointed them in the right direction to head them home.

All in all a great day out with some pleasent company  :)


  1. Bloody Aussies! Send 'em all back to the colonies, I say. ;)
    -Ian Cummins

  2. the tennant coat looks so dashing in these pics. p.s. I'm also an Aussie