If you had ever told me that I would be a devoted fan of a science fiction TV show, I would have asked what drugs you were on and if you’d possibly consider sharing them with me.
But when I lived in Cardiff, Wales, the BBC shot the sci-fi show Dr. Who in my back yard – literally. They shot at the abandoned Victorian-era hospital across from our house, as well as up and down our street and all through our neighbourhood. In fact, my car even appears in one episode (Cybermen, Part II). They also filmed on the beach that I frequented near the school where I worked. Today, I got word that they even filmed an episode at Atlantic College’s St. Donat’s Castle, which was my workplace for the better part of a year. I raced to the computer to see if I could find some video of the episode and was rewarded with a long clip.
The primary filming was in the school’s amazing dining room. This room was liberated from a French chateau by the former owner of the castle, one Wm. Randolph Hearst. He expanded the castle by more than double. The entire student body and faculty and staff assembled here every day for lunch. The food was ghastly.This is another view of the dining room.
The second scene was filmed in the former dungeon, which is the current ladies room. Each cell was a private loo. Most unfortunately, the dungeon didn’t have any heat when there were prisoners in residence, and it still doesn’t. There was also a scene where The Doctor is going in to the courtyard. Here’s what it usually looks like. I had to walk across this every morning to get to my office.Here are a few more pictures of the campus. This is Bradenstoke Hall, which was just sort of slapped onto the side of the original castle.Here is is from the outside. This is the ceiling with its original wood beams which were numbered and reassembled. I had to walk through the Portcullis on the way from the parking lot into the court yard, though several rooms, up two flights of stairs and into the tower where my office was. This was my favourite view – looking over the Bristol Channel to England, about 15 miles away. I have a framed copy of this in my house.The workmanship in this building is just amazing. Simply extraordinary. I am so lucky to have had the chance to work in a place like this. It was a very special time.