After the thrills of watching the production of series one we were delighted to discover that the Doctor Who team had returned to the Brandon Estate to film scenes for the Christmas Special (The Christmas Invasion).
Although what we saw revealed much about the Christmas special this set report and accompanying photographs are SPOILER FREE which ensures everyone can enjoy the
article without ruining the episode.
Shooting took place over three days, 26th, 27th and 29th of July 2005 with preliminary location dressing being carried out on Monday 25th. As with last year this took the form of replacing signage on the flats and other buildings as well as adding seasonal decorations to some retail and residential properties. On set security was provided by C & M Locations Limited of Essex with assistance from the Met Police.
Day One (26th July 2005)
Filming on day one started around 2pm with Camille Coduri, later joined by Noel Clarke, playing out an action scene apparently intended for early within the episode. Filming continued with a number of special effects shots, explosions and stunts being filmed for the same sequence. Between filming both Camille and Noel were happy to mingle with onlookers, mostly local residents and their children, pose for photos, sign autographs and answer questions.
Camille was often to be heard asking those in attendance if they’d enjoyed the first series, beaming when she received a positive response. She also talked about a recent meeting with Elisabeth Sladen who reprises her
role as 70’s companion Sarah-Jane Smith.
Noel was similarly hospitable, answering questions and reassuring several people that he had a much bigger role in the second series. His costume indicated that Mickey finally had a job but we’re not telling what!
During filming we were able to talk to Producer Phil Collinson, Ernest Vincze the Director of Photography and a number of other production personnel. Phil was kind enough to remember us from the previous year’s encounter and promised that the special and second series would be even more spectacular than series one.
As before, Phil was totally welcoming and charming despite obviously being very busy. After a few pick-up and close-up shots for one effects scene were completed production stopped for dinner.
After dinner David Tennant and Billie Piper arrived on set and were immediately surrounded by a crowd of children and adults all desperate to share a few words or get an item autographed.
David very kindly agreed to be photographed while signing autographs and did his best to ensure that he got through as many requests as possible. Production staff finally had to drag him away to start work!
Despite the late hour a number of children were reluctant to go home as they were waiting to collect autographs from David and Billie. Production staff kindly gathered as many items as they could carry and returned them autographed by cast and crew. This act typifies the welcoming and friendly nature of the production team and cast who are working in a goldfish bowl environment. People were free to walk amongst, and chat to, the crew as well as take pictures in return for simply agreeing not to disrupt filming.
Day Two (27th July 2005)
It rained. And it snowed. At least the snow was planned for! The later moments of the scenes shot yesterday were completed and required a prop vehicle and the presence of several extras. The footage shot today included Jackie and Mickey’s first sight of the new Doctor.
The paparazzi were out in force today but the crew were pretty adept at dealing with them especially during the night time shoot when highly technical anti-paparazzi tactics were employed. Real efforts were made by the team not to disrupt those who wanted pictures for fansites or personal collections whilst minimising
access for the uninvited professionals.
Midway through the afternoon David arrived on set with a camcorder which he used to mark his arrival. As with yesterday he was instantly surrounded by an autograph hungry crowd which he worked his way through before being called for filming.
As with yesterday we were able to have reasonably free access to people, always ensuring that we didn’t stop people from doing their real jobs. Amongst the people we met today was the Tardis make-up lady. Seriously! One of her many jobs is to touch up the prop’s paintwork after it’s been put together.
In the evening the snow man came and made it snow. A single and very fun exterior scene was then rehearsed and filmed over a number of hours and featured all four series regulars as well as some seasonally attired extras.
There was less time for autographs and photos today but all the cast gave as much time as possible and we were able to spend more time with Camille and Noel discussing their previous work and Doctor Who.
After an entire day of filming David very kindly signed autographs and posed for photos for those who had stood watching the entire day�s filming, needlessly apologising for not getting to us sooner!
(29th July 2005)
After shooting in Central London yesterday the crew returned to the Brandon. A few seemingly minor scenes were shot which variously involved 2 groups of extras and all four leads.
The paparazzi were back in force but today held less of for them to see and they soon seemed
to depart. The excitement of the day was a visit to the location by former Doctor, Peter Davison. Peter was soon swamped with autograph requests. He was invited to meet David and the �two Doctors� share a few minutes chatting together. David looked rather chuffed at the encounter. Again all four leads were happy to sign autographs for those watching.
The final scene filmed today involved Billie, Camille and Noel. By this time David had left the set and filming finally ended around 6pm making this the shortest of the three days we witnessed.