Doctor Who is back. The Doctor is back. David Tennant AS The Doctor is back. Can you tell we’re excited? The Star Beast, the first of three hour-long special episodes marking the iconic show’s 60th anniversary, aired on Saturday (November 25) and it did not let us down. The second instalment, Wild Blue Yonder, will air this weekend (December 2), but it’s the third episode we’ve taken a special interest in.
Did you know that The Giggle, the final episode of this trilogy, was filmed extensively in Bristol’s Old City last year with support from the Bristol Film Office? Due to premiere on Saturday, December 9, it will star Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker, a character last seen in The Celestial Toymaker (1966) portrayed by Michael Gough, alongside David Tennant at The Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble.
The filming of major action scenes for The Giggle took place on and around Clare Street – recognisable for its distinctive flower pattern floor – in June 2022. With explosions, tanks, soldiers, wrecked vehicles, large numbers of crew and, of course, the TARDIS, the filming generated a lot of excitement in Bristol. Scenes were also shot in and around St Stephens Church, Broad Street, while Creperie Chez Marcel was redressed as a toyshop called ‘Mr Emporium’.
“Bristol Film Office has been proud to assist with locations support on many occasions over the years,” said Laura Aviles, Head of Film, Bristol City Council. “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.”
Where are the Doctor Who filming locations in Bristol?
As Laura hints, this is not the first time Doctor Who has been filming in Bristol and it certainly will not be the last either – Ncuti Gatwa, The Fifteenth Doctor, was recently spotted filming an episode in Clifton back in April. So to mark the occasion, the 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.
The map includes everything from 70s classics like The Sun Makers (1977), starring Tom Baker as The Fourth Doctor, which utilised Imperial Park – then known as WD and HO Wills Tobacco Factory on Hartcliffe Way. Alongside more modern episodes like Asylum of the Daleks (2012), starring Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor, using Royal Fort House – which currently houses the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Science offices.
A great deal of Doctor Who Christmas specials have also used the Bristol area as a filming location. The End of Time (2009/2010) in Wookey Hole; The Snowmen (2012) on Portland Square, Corn Street and All Saints Lane; The Husbands of River Song (2015) in Leigh Court; and Revolution of the Daleks (2021) on Clifton Suspension Bridge and Eve of the Daleks (2022) in A Bond Warehouse. This year’s yet-unnamed Christmas special (expected 2023/24) continues this by filing on Park Place, Bruton Place and Frederick Place – the area was redressed to double for 1960s London.
The Giggle will air 6.30pm on Saturday, December 9 on BBC One, but you can catch it on iPlayer anytime afterwards. In the meantime, to view the entire Doctor Who in Bristol movie map head here.