November 24, 2010

The Who That I Knew

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. who12 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. Badwolf Bay Aka Dårlig Ulv StrandenToday, 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.who2 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.     dining room ceilingThe entire student body and faculty and staff assembled here every day for lunch. The food was ghastly.dining hall ceilingThis is another view of the dining room.who8

The second scene was filmed in the former dungeon, which is the current ladies room.who4 Each cell was a private loo.  girls looMost unfortunately, the dungeon didn’t have any heat when there were prisoners in residence, and it still doesn’t. who1There was also a scene where The Doctor is going in to the courtyard. who3 Here’s what it usually looks like. I had to walk across this every morning to get to my office.courtyardHere 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.Atlanticcollege9Here is is from the outside. 800px-Atlanticcollege1 This is the ceiling with its original wood beams which were numbered and reassembled.bradenstoke ceiling 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.who7 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.Atlanticcollege12The 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.


  1. Have to say that I love Doctor Who! One of the best British TV shows ever ...

  2. ooh Meg that scene of the Bristol Channel...the architecture, amazing!


    Art by Karena

  3. some people may not recognize the name WRH. Some people maynot connect his wealth to publishing magazines and newspapers some people may not even remember the symbionese liberation army oh well. pray tell all this stair climbing to an office to conduct affairs of state?? thank you for sharing my husband is a Dr Who fan I remember episodes of the curly hired mop top and when was it tristan who left the dogs to chill with a super K-9

  4. Hi, Meg,
    Thank you for these beautiful photos to start my day!! I ADORE a gothic building. In fact, I chose Mount Holyoke over Wellesley for college in part because the college (espy the library) is so gorgeous!! I know exactly how you felt going to work in that setting. Every day at Mount Holyoke was a feast for my eyes, especially having grown up in LA during the 60's and 70's!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing another piece of your extraordinary life. Happy, HAPPY THANKSGIVING, dear Meg.

  6. I am a huge DW fan. How cool that you got to work at such an amazing building. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This castle and setting are so breathtaking. Ironically, I went to school that was repurposed from a gorgeous estate that had been constructed with many of W.R. Hearst's surplus "liberated French rooms, ceilings and furniture". Good memories. Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving.

  8. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of St. Donats - from a fellow Dr. Who fan. I grew up just a few miles down the coast, always happy when they shoot on Southerndown beach.
    Was in the little church for a candlelit service a few weeks ago, before flying back "home" to California. What a great place to work! Loving your blog, too.

  9. It must have been like living at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Right down to the wacky loos! WICKED.

  10. Meg, what a lucky gal to work in such beautiful, inspiring surroundings. Architecture has such power. It can lift us up, out of ourselves, or it can drag us down. You obviously worked in an exemplar of the former. (And oh, my, Christopher Eccleston is SO yummy!)


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