Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Finding more Sea Devils - Part 2

The Sea Devils is just a story I really enjoy and has a lot of location work.  On a previous visit to the Isle of Wight last year I took photos of the place where the Doctor and Jo first see the Sea Devil, but I never had time to see one of the most prominent locations at the Naval Base.  In reality is is the disused Fraser Gunnery Range.  It was also a Radar testing site and had various uses but was taken over by QinetQ and eventually closed for good in 2006.  Various plans to use the site for flats have come to nothing.  The large towers on the site were demolished in recent years over safety concerns, and as I found there have been other alterations too.  Given that I was visiting Portsmouth again, a walk down the coast to see what was still standing seemed worthwhile.

The site is currently fenced off as of June 2015, but in the past I've seen photos showing the fence with large gaps and everyone from vandals to people walking their dogs free to walk around the site.  Personally I think it's safe enough if you avoid going into the buildings, but on this visit it was all very secure so I never had the choice.  I also found out the rumours that the beach has become an unofficial nudist spot were in fact true, and there were several guys lying around with nothing on.  Fortunately none were likely to stray into my photos.  Having to rely on what I could photograph through the fence, I took what I could and looked at them afterwards to work out what was what in the story...

Around the front of the base facing inland is the entrance as used by Trenchard and the Master to visit in episode 2.  The buildings in shot are easy to identify today.

Most of the filming took place on the other side facing the sea.  The first time this is seen is where the Master gets out in uniform to walk through the base.  Some small buildings have been demolishing making identification of what was filmed where rather complicated.

The small building nearest the Master on the right still stands painted grey as in the photo below, though this was taken from the front rather than the back where the filming took place.  The building behind is gone.  The building with the Radar equipment partially blocked by the Master's head is also gone.

This second demolished building is much clearer in this photo where the Doctor tackles the Sea Devils immediately in the reprise at the start of episode 6.

To the left of where this building stood, however, is the large door that the Sea Devils lock all the Navy personnel after they take control of the base.

Another long shot, but the tall white door on the far building is the tall blue door in the lower shot from the story, and also the roof from which a Sea Devil tumbles.

Another photo with the demolished Radar building in the background but this time with the white/grey building by the Doctor and Sea Devil.

Which is the back of this building.

The large building in all these photographs is the headquarters for Captain Hart.  The front entrance is seen several times throughout the story and is in the centre of the photo below.  Although taken through the fence, the shot corresponds well with a shot from the story where Captain Hart and Jo Grant escape the occupied base pursued by Sea Devils.

Looking across to the left is a smaller building that appears in the background of several shots including where Captain Hart leads his reinforcements to attack the base.

A second shot shortly later shows the concrete wall in front of the building where Sea Devils lie dead, that's what happens when you take on the Royal Navy wearing string vests.

Looking right from the main building is the direction in which the Sea Devils make a suicidal head on charge against Captain Hart in a Bofors gun.  Only identifying feature here in the building on the left, this was quite far away.

With the battle going badly for the Sea Devils the Master legs it down the beach leaving the Naval base behind for this story.

A very recognisable location for a site 40 years old and abandoned, I feared it would be a waste visit but there was plenty still standing so that photographs could be taken.  I would have liked to get a little closer but no matter.  A beautiful sunny day out.  It wasn't the last Doctor Who thing I saw that day, I later stopped in 'Southsea Models and Games' and bought an old Harlequin Miniatures Wood Beast of Tara.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Doctor Who Experience - Revisitied

On a return visit to Wales I decided to go again to the Experience this time to take my girlfriend as she had not seen it.  Also they had apparently made some alterations with Capaldi as the new Doctor to look forward to.

Actually quite a bit has changed and been moved around, and a lot of additions have been made.  The interactive part has changed quite a lot, now with Peter Capaldi doing the interactive parts for the crowd on screen, the story that visitors go through is different and the scenes you have to pass though have changed.  It's not simply the same experience with Capaldi doing new inserts in place of Matt Smith, it is a different story.

Elsewhere lots of the props have had a move around.  The main entrance is now home to a couple of Daleks and lots of things related to the timelords.  These include the new chancellery guard, the old timelord robes, TVM Master robes, Rassilon robes and a female timelord robes that I didn't recognise but am assuming was from Day of the Doctor. 

There's now a full section covering the start of the show using props from 'An Adventure in Space and Time'.  Upstairs lots of new things have appeared and a few old.  The original Web of Fear Yeti that was absent last time has now reappeared looking very moth-eaten!

The Daleks are out in the middle of the room now as well as scattered throughout the museum.  There are also a lot more companion costumes than I recall including a couple of older ones.  Yes, that is Liz Sladen's dreadful pink outfit from the Five Doctors...

There were plenty of additions from Capaldi's last series as well as small sprops and behind-the-scenes type of displays.  We were inside 1 hour and 45 minutes so there is plenty to see as long as you don't rush.  Costumes of most monsters, every Doctor, many companions, a huge amount of stuff and well lit in most cases.  I attended a film costume display at the V&A a couple of years ago and it was expensive, clearly over-sold leading to over crowding to the point where you could barely move inside, displays were poorly lit and with a total ban on photography.  None of even these things apply to the Doctor Who Experience which comes highly recommended and worthy of a repeat visit if you have not been since the renovation for the latest series with Peter Capaldi.