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Doctor Who: The Giggle makes drama in Bristol


Doctor Who: The Giggle makes drama in Bristol

Bristol locations will take centre stage in Doctor Who: The Giggle.

In the last of the three-part 60th-anniversary specials, premiering tomorrow night (Saturday 9th December), the highly anticipated episode was filmed on location in Bristol’s Old City last year with support from the city’s Film Office. To mark the occasion, Bristol Film Office has released a brand new Doctor Who in Bristol Movie Map plotting every Bristol filming location featured in Doctor Who over the past 60 years.

Laura Aviles, Head of Film, Bristol City Council:

“As an iconic production that has been successfully made in Wales since its reboot 20 years ago, Bristol’s neighbouring locations are easily accessible, appealing and convenient to Doctor Who’s production team. Bristol Film Office has been proud to assist with locations support on many occasions over the years – but last Summer’s shoot in the busy central streets of Bristol’s Old City was by far the biggest and most ambitious Doctor Who shoot we have ever hosted.”

The trilogy began on 25th November with episode one, ‘The Star Beast’, where The Doctor and Donna Noble come face to face after many years. The Doctor (David Tennant) is caught in a fight to the death as a spaceship crash-lands in London, but as the battle wreaks havoc, destiny is heading for the Doctor’s old friend, Donna (Catherine Tate). In the second episode ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ which aired on 2nd December, the action continues when the Tardis takes the Doctor and Donna to the furthest edge of adventure. To escape, they must face the most desperate fight of their lives, with the fate of the universe at stake.

Promising an explosive end to the trilogy, the synopsis for the third episode reads: “The giggle of a mysterious puppet is driving the human race insane. When the Doctor discovers the return of the terrifying Toymaker, he faces a fight he can never win.” The episode preview released by the BBC this week shows major action scenes filmed on and around Clare Street in Bristol’s Old City in June 2022.

The Doctor (David Tennant), Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and her grandfather Wilfred Mott (played by the late Bernard Cribbins) are seen in a world of chaos on Bristol’s streets which double for London, with explosions, tanks, soldiers and crashing vehicles going on around them, whilst the sinister character of The Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) dances. Facilitated by Bristol Film Office, the major shoot featured numerous stunts and large numbers of supporting artists and crew, generating a great deal of excitement from the Bristol public.

The distinctive flower pattern on the road surface of Clare Street’s junction with St Stephen’s Avenue and Marsh Street is recognisable in ground-level scenes and drone footage from above. Tennant and Tate also filmed scenes in and around the nearby churchyard at the historic St Stephens Church. Nearby Broad Street was also used during filming. Creperie Chez Marcel was redressed to become a toyshop called ‘Mr Emporium’. Filming also took place in a nearby alleyway connecting Broad Street to neighbouring Small Street, where the TARDIS was parked.

 Laura Aviles, Head of Film, Bristol City Council:

“The Film Office team did a superb job of working with the production to ensure all necessary preparations were made and filming ran smoothly. With the TARDIS, David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Neil Patrick Harris featuring in the action-paced scenes, the spectacle definitely attracted the crowds and it’s fair to say the city was buzzing! It will be a joy to see Bristol feature on screen in The Giggle when it airs on 9th December.  

“Bristol Film Office’s new “Doctor Who in Bristol” Movie Map gives you the lowdown on every Bristol location that has been used by the show since the 70’s – a must for any Doctor Who fans living in, or visiting, our city.” 

Joining David Tennant and Catherine Tate in the trilogy’s stellar cast are Yasmin Finney as Rose Noble, Miriam Margolyes as the voice of the Meep, Jacqueline King as Sylvia Noble, Karl Collins as Shaun Temple, Ruth Madeley as Shirley Anne-Bingham, Jemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker, set to cause all kinds of mayhem. It’s going to be an unmissable cosmic adventure, all before Fifteenth Doctor Ncuti Gatwa gets the keys to the TARDIS over the festive season.

‘The Giggle’ will air from 6.30pm on Saturday 9 December, completing the trio of anniversary specials. A special episode of Doctor Who Unleashed will follow, going behind the scenes of The Giggle and speaking to the Toymaker, Neil Patrick Harris.

Bristol will next be seen on screen in the Doctor Who Christmas Special ‘The Church on Ruby Road’, airing on BBC One at 5.55pm on Christmas Day.

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