February 27, 2019
It’s St David’s Day today, which means celebrating everything Welsh. You probably know that Doctor Who is made in Wales so the show has a strong connection to Cymru (that’s Wales in Welsh, you know), but do you remember all these times the Doctor actually ended up there onscreen?
What the Dickens?
The Unquiet Dead (2005)
What is it? The Cardiff Rift – a weak point in time and space at the junction between two places, belching out radiation… and other nasty stuff!
What happened there? The gassy Gelth slipped through the rift in 1869 to escape from the Time War. They had no bodies of their own, and wanted to evict the human race from theirs so they could set up home in them. Rude! The Doctor and Rose defeated them – with help from local girl Gwyneth, who bravely sacrificed herself to blow them up and seal the rift. Oh, and Charles Dickens was also there for some reason. Random.
A holiday for the Doctor
Delta and the Bannermen (1988)
Where is it? Shangri-La holiday camp, South Wales
What happened there? When the Doctor and Mel won a free trip on a Nostalgia Tours space cruiser, they were expecting to visit Disneyland in 1989. Unfortunately, their shonky space bus collided with a satellite and sent them well off course – to South Wales. But they got a warm welcome from the camp’s extremely Welsh boss, Mr Burton, and everyone was soon having a great time – until a gang of evil aliens turned up and started killing everyone. Hi-de-hi? Hi-de-NOOOOO!
Boom Town (2005)
Where is it? Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay
What happened there? Ever wondered what happens when the TARDIS is running low on power and needs a top-up? The Doctor can charge it up, just like a phone! When he stopped off in Cardiff at the site of the sealed-up rift from 1868, Rose wondered what they were doing back there. The Doctor explained that sealing the rift had left a scar running through the city that was producing radiation. It was harmless to humans but perfect for charging up the TARDIS. All he had to do was park it on top of the scar for a couple of days while the radiation did its thing! It didn’t quite work out like that, though - someone called Margaret Blaine had other ideas…
What lies beneath?
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood (2010)
Where is it? The village of Cwmtaff
What happened there? A geological team drilling for rare minerals deep below the village accidentally disturbed an ancient civilisation – the Silurians, reptiles who ruled the Earth long before humans. These scaly sleeping beauties were understandably annoyed at this rude awakening, especially when they realised they’d have to fight to get their planet back. Luckily, they had plenty of reinforcements – when the Doctor was dragged deep below the surface, he found a whole Silurian city down there!
The big bang!
Boom Town (2005)
What is it? Blaidd Drwg nuclear power plant, Cardiff city centre
What happened there? Good news! Cardiff had a go-getting new Mayor with exciting plans to create jobs by building a nuclear power station in place of the city’s castle. Bad news! Margaret Blaine was actually a giant, green alien squeezed into a skin suit, whose actual plan was to blow up the nuclear reactor, reopen the Rift, explode the Earth and ride the shockwave back to her home planet – on a space surfboard! That’s tidy, that is.
The Parting of the Ways (2006), The End of Time (2010)
Where was it? Mount Snowdon
What happened there? An alien spaceship crashed at the foot of the mountain, and top-secret alien defence bods Torchwood dug it up to claim the spoils for their collection of extraterrestrial tech. One of the things they found was the Immortality Gate, a Vinvocci medical device that could heal the population of an entire planet in one go. When the Master later got his mucky mitts on it, he reprogrammed it to turn everyone on Earth into a copy of himself. Not being funny, right, but maybe Torchwood should just have left it where it was buried?
The Green Death (1973)
Where is it? Llanfairfach, a mining town outside Newport
What happened there? The Doctor headed down the M4 in his car, Bessie, to investigate the case of a local miner who had turned up looking very green and very dead. Once there, he found that a nasty chemicals company had been dumping their toxic waste in the closed-down mine. This green gunk was lethal to humans, and was also supersizing the local maggot population. Absolutely buzzing!
Where is it? Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay
What happened there? The Doctor was making one of his regular pit-stops to soak up some Rift rays, but Martha Jones noticed he was keen to get away as quickly as possible. His old pal Captain Jack Harkness had set up a branch of Torchwood directly below the Water Tower, knowing the Doctor would turn up there eventually. When Jack saw the TARDIS about to vanish without him, he launched himself at the big blue box and cwtched* it all the way to the end of the universe!
The Dalek Invasion of Cardiff
The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End (2008)
Where is it? Torchwood Three, Cardiff Bay
What happened there? The Daleks had invaded Earth, and were targeting defensive strongholds. Captain Jack’s Torchwood buddies, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones, were staring a certain death in the face when a Dalek appeared at the door of Torchwood’s base. They knew their weapons would be useless – so it’s just as well one of their old colleagues had fitted the place out with a time lock. It froze the Dalek in the single second just before it could exterminate them. Phew!
The Sarah Jane Adventures – Death of the Doctor (2010)
Where is it? Mount Snowdon
What happened there? As well as a crashed alien ship, Snowdon was also home to a UNIT base built right into the mountain to deal with alien threats to Wales! Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant went there to attend the Doctor’s funeral, but soon became suspicious when they found a load of space vultures taking charge of the arrangements. Sure enough, the Doctor wasn’t really dead – the beaky Claw Shansheeth had faked the whole thing to steal Sarah and Jo’s memories. Well, of course he wasn’t dead – they weren’t going to kill off the Doctor in a spin-off, were they?
*cwtched = to cuddle or hug