BBC America has announced that the first two episodes for the first Doctor Who series in 2011 will be filmed in Utah. The two-part story is written by Steven Moffat and is set in the late 1960s. The story takes the Doctor, Amy and Rory from Utah to the Oval office.
Filming for stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill for the new season starts in Cardiff this month, and mid November they will travel to shoot pivotal scenes. They will also be joined by Alex Kingston who reprises her role as River Song.
The series, for the last 5 years, has been based in Cardiff in the UK, where most of the filming, on set and on location, takes place. Location filming has only once taken the crew outside the UK and that was to a Dubai Desert!
Before this ‘Nu-Who’, the original run was based in the BBC London offices and studios. The first Doctor did land in New York, on the Empire State building, followed shortly by the Daleks, but this was completely a London studio set-up using stock footage. Very little location filming took place originally and even in later years traveling any distance was restricted due to the budget. The notable exceptions are where Tom Baker’s Doctor had a story filmed in Paris, France, Peter Davison in Amsterdam and Colin Baker in Spain.
The Doctor Who TV Movie featuring the Eighth Doctor was set in San Francisco but was filmed in Vancouver, Canada. So this will be the first time the series has actually filmed in the States with the cast.
The new season follows on from the Doctor Who Christmas Special (pictured), guest starring Katherine Jenkins and Michael Gambon, which is due to premiere Christmas 2010. Season six will start airing on BBC UK and BBC America in spring 2011 and has been split into two parts, with the second part airing after the 2011 school summer holidays.
UK audiences will be able see the Doctor Who spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures fourth season from tomorrow, Monday October 11th, 2010.
The episode first broadcast on 30 April 2005, with Christoper Eccleston as the Doctor, titled Dalek might be of interest as it too was set in Utah, in the year 2012, in the underground bunker owned by Henry van Statten, a rich collector of alien artifacts including a Dalek. Is this new episode’s location a coincidence?
Here’s the full press release for today’s announcement:
DOCTOR WHO TO FILM IN THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME
Upcoming season’s first two episodes to be set in the U.S.
The BBC announced today that season six of Doctor Who, which delivered record ratings for BBC AMERICA earlier this year, will open with a spectacular two-parter set in the U.S. and penned by ‘Who supremo’ Steven Moffat.
In the special two-parter co-produced with BBC AMERICA, key scenes will be filmed in Utah for a story set in the late ’60s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah – right to the Oval Office itself.
Production on episodes one and two of the new season starts in Cardiff this month and Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will then travel to America in mid November to shoot pivotal scenes. They will also be joined by Alex Kingston who reprises her role as River Song.
Showrunner and lead writer, Steven Moffat, said: “The Doctor has visited every weird and wonderful planet you can imagine, so he was bound get round to America eventually! And of course every Doctor Who fan will be jumping up and down and saying he’s been in America before. But not for real, not on location – and not with a story like this one! Oh, you wait!”
Piers Wenger, Head of Drama BBC Wales and Executive Producer, added: “Steven’s scripts generally inspire us to go that extra mile – this time we’re going that extra four thousand. Thanks to our friends at BBC AMERICA and to the continuing ambition of our lead writer and production team, the first two episodes of Matt Smith’s second season as the Doctor are going global and look set to become Doctor Who’s most action-packed and ambitious season opener yet”.
The new season follows on from the Doctor Who Christmas special guest starring Katherine Jenkins and Michael Gambon which is due to premiere at Christmas. Season six will start airing on BBC AMERICA in spring 2011 and has been split into two blocks, with the second block airing in autumn 2011. By splitting the series Moffat plans to give viewers one of the most exciting Doctor Who cliffhangers and plot twists ever, leaving them waiting, on the edge of their seats, until the autumn to find out what happens.
2010 has been a breakthrough year for the Doctor Who franchise across all platforms since BBC AMERICA became the official home of the series. The series reached the number one spot on the “Top TV Seasons” chart on iTunes and now Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Season hits stores on Blu-ray and DVD on November 9.
Doctor Who was co-commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning for BBC One and Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One and will be produced by Marcus Wilson (Life on Mars) and Sanne Wohlenberg (Margaret). Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer (Sherlock Holmes) with Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, BBC Wales and Beth Willis (Ashes to Ashes), also Executive Producing.
Filming is taking place in Cardiff until March 2011.