Cambridge to Paris – More Doctor Who Locations

Hi all. Just a quick Doctor Who-themed post this Friday for you. I was working on my previous Sunday post which was on Cambridge (Sunday Spotlight: Cambridge) and I recalled that one of my main reasons for wanting to visit this gorgeous university town was that it was the location where a Doctor Who story, ‘Shada’ had been filmed back in 1979.

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward punting on the Cam.

This story is unique in Doctor Who terms – due to a BBC strike it was never completed. All the location stuff was finished – filmed in and around Cambridge, they took it back to the studio but weren’t able to complete all of it owing to a strike and it was left unfinished. It is due to get a release in November though, with the missing scenes being animated and the original actor’s (where possible, thankfully most are still alive) reprising their roles and providing the audio. It will be mixed with the footage that was shot, so it will be very interesting to see how it all comes up, completed 38 years after production began!

Arches at Emmanuel College.
Courtyard Emmanuel College.

And the first college I visited was the college that featured in ‘Shada’, Emmanuel college with its arches and halls, along St Andrew’s Street where a few scenes were also shot. I think they had hoped to film in St John’s College, which is where the writer of the story, Doulas Adams no less, had studied.

Charming bridge on the Cam.

I walked across the River Cam a couple of times where the Doctor (Tom Baker) punted a boat with Romana (Lalla Ward) nervously sitting inside. And I walked the passageways where he rode a bike as he tried to escape the evil Skagra, holding on to an important book –The Worshipful and Ancient Laws of Gallifrey.

It was earlier in 1979 for the story ‘City of Death’ that the production team mounted their first ever overseas shoot – in Paris. Interestingly enough, the writer was also Douglas Adams in this case (although a pseudonym was used instead in the credits).

I got to visit the Eiffel Tower –scenes were shot at the top and the bottom, and the Champs Elysees, and the main site which is less well known was the main doors at number 47 Rue Vielle du Temple, which seemed like a fashion house today. The doors have been painted a different colour, but it was still special to say I’d been there.

I also passed the Dupleix Metro station used in the story. All in all, I think if you are obsessed with a TV show that has utilised many locations, and you love travel, well, it’s as good a reason as any to plan a day around the things you want to see.

Oh and then there was the Musee D’Orsay. This is where some of the Matt Smith episode ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ was SET. Actually I think they may have got some very brief location footage from it. I was excited to this this picture below by Vincent Van Gogh which was the inspiration for the episode!

For a list of locations used in Doctor Who I found this website most helpful –

Thanks for stopping by – May the Journey Never End!

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