Looks Who’s back in Bristol! Classic TV programme latest to boost city’s standing as top filming location

November 24, 2023

Bristol’s burgeoning TV industry is celebrating a triple success as two long-awaited productions filmed in the city hit the small screen and shooting starts on a third.

The Tardis returns to BBC One and iPlayer tomorrow with the first of three Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials.

The third episode in the long-awaited trilogy, The Giggle, was filmed extensively in Bristol’s Old City last year with support from Bristol Film Office and will premiere on 9 December. 

To mark the occasion, Bristol Film Office has released a new Doctor Who in Bristol Movie Map plotting every Bristol filming location featured in Doctor Who over the past 60 years. In total, 16 episodes of the classic programme have been made, in full or in part, in the city

Meanwhile, the highly anticipated second series of Sky Original sci-fi thriller The Lazarus Project starring Paapa Essiedu, is now available on Sky Max and streaming service NOW after filming in Bristol.

Having utilised a host of Bristol locations for series one, Newport-based production company Urban Myth Films returned to film the eight-part second series between October last year and this February.

Also Paramount+,  which filmed its six-part series The Flatshare at the city’s Bottle Yard Studios and at locations around the city, has returned to make The Road Trip.

Filming has started at The Bottle Yard and across Bristol for the series, based on the best-selling book by Beth O’Leary and starring Emma Appleton, Laurie Davidson and David Jonsson in the lead roles.

The Dr Who special The Giggle was filmed on and around Clare Street in June last year and features the Doctor (David Tennant), Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), pictured top, and Hollywood and Broadway star Neil Patrick Harris as The Toymaker, pictured above.

With staged explosions, tanks, soldiers, wrecked vehicles, large numbers of supporting artists and crew – and of course, the Tardis – the elaborate shoot generated a great deal of excitement from the Bristol public.

Clare Street’s junction with St Stephen’s Avenue and Marsh Street will be recognisable to viewers thanks to the distinctive flower pattern on the road surface.

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, while filming also took place in a nearby alleyway connecting Broad Street to neighbouring Small Street, where the Tardis was parked.

Bristol City Council head of film Laura Aviles said: “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 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 9 December.

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

The Doctor Who 60th Anniversary trilogy is produced by Bad Wolf with BBC Studios and Disney Branded Television. 

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 is recognised as one of the UK’s most film-friendly cities, offering a one-stop shop for film and TV productions of all sizes ranging from location and crewing advice to recces and logistical support.

Other recent made-in-Bristol productions include Rain Dogs (BBC/HBO), Alex Rider (Amazon FreeVee), and The Outlaws (BBC/Amazon Prime Video).

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