Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Sunday, 26 October 2008

Book explores Doctor Who's haunts

Nick Griffiths outside the Owain Glyndwr pub in Cardiff
Nick Griffiths in Cardiff, roughly where actor Bernard Cribbens stood in a recent episode

A writer and Doctor Who expert has compiled a book in which he explores and learns more about the show's often bizarre filming locations.

Nick Griffiths, who writes on the Time Lord for the Radio Times, travelled around England and south Wales visiting locations from old and new episodes.

The book, Who Goes There, sees him visit four Welsh locations for the show, which is produced by BBC Wales.

"The book took me to some strange looking but beautiful places," he said.

Mr Griffiths got the idea for the book after watching old episodes of Doctor Who starring Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee and noticing the strange qualities of some of the locations.

"There was an old railway station in an episode I was watching and I suddenly thought 'I'd really like to go there, that looks really strange and unusual'," he said.

"I had a quite a lot of fun trying to find the place anyway and when I got there it was fantastic being able to stand in the spot where the Doctor had stood."

Nick Griffiths at Southerndown beach

As well as the places themselves being the most fabulous, evocative areas, getting to them took us through some of the most beautiful countryside
Nick Griffiths

His idea grew and after deciding upon the episodes he was going to investigate, he spent four weeks on the road visiting the locations and researching the particular history for each place.

"I started out in London just to see if it was going to work and when it did the idea took me all over the country," he said.

Housing estates

"As well as the places themselves being the most fabulous, evocative areas, getting to them took us through some of the most beautiful countryside."

Among his adventures, he visited the sites of old quarries which had been filled in and turned into housing estates since filming. He also "blagged" his way into one of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger's old houses.

In Wales Mr Griffiths visited Southerndown beach in the Vale of Glamorgan, Howells department store and Queens Arcade in Cardiff, Fields House and St Woolas Cemetery in Newport for the book.

Southerndown appeared in the 2006 episode Doomsday and the 2008 show Journey's End where it doubled for Bad Wolf Bay in Norway. The beach and the geology of the cliffs captivated Mr Griffiths.

"I did love Southerndown. The strata are incredible," he said.

"There was no one else there when we visited and as we wandered around you got totally taken in by it all.

"Doctor Who had been filmed there only about six months previously so there was a real "sense of Who" there."

For the book Mr Griffiths also looked into the specific history of each of the locations, unearthing stories which were as original as the Time Lord's adventures.

He said he hoped it would inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

"What I would love is for people to get in their cars and go out and visit these places," he said.


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