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New Series Episode 68:
The Vampires Of Venice

Plot

The Doctor escorts Amy and Rory on a date to sixteenth-century Venice. No sooner have they arrived, however, than they become embroiled in the mystery surrounding an enigmatic school for young women run by the powerful Rosanna Calvierri. Those accepted to the school become mysteriously changed, shunning the daylight and professing not to know their former acquaintances. The Doctor begins to suspect that there are vampires on the loose in Venice -- but could the truth be even more sinister?

Production

As far as Doctor Who was concerned, 2006 had been a banner year for Toby Whithouse: not only had he scripted Sarah Jane Smith's return to the programme for School Reunion, but he had also written an instalment of Torchwood entitled Greeks Bearing Gifts. However, it was Whithouse's subsequent work as the creator of supernatural drama Being Human which, in 2009, inspired Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat to invite him back to the show.

Initially, Whithouse worked on an idea in which the Doctor becomes trapped in a labyrinth which looks like a kitschy hotel. However, Moffat and executive producer Piers Wenger became concerned that this was too similar to the maze in The Time Of Angels; the storyline was put on hold, and Whithouse would later revive it as Season Thirty-Two's The God Complex. Instead, Moffat asked Whithouse to devise an adventure which would reintroduce Amy Pond's fiance, Rory Williams, as a TARDIS traveller. Since this would allow the basic premises of Doctor Who to be explored anew through Rory's eyes, such a story would act as an ideal mid-season jump-on point for new viewers. Encouraged to think in terms of a romantic escapade, Whithouse suggested that the monsters could be vampires, and the setting could be Venice in the Middle Ages.

As the scripts for Season Thirty-One started to come together, Whithouse's story was not the only one set in a foreign locale: Richard Curtis' Vincent And The Doctor was set in Provence, France. Doctor Who could not afford two separate overseas excursions, which meant that a single location would have to be found which could represent both Venice and Provence. Indeed, filming in Venice itself had always been deemed unlikely, due to the number of tourists who flocked to the city and the difficulty of dressing modern Venice as its 1580 counterpart. Instead, the production team turned to Croatia, parts of which had once been ruled by the Republic of Venice. After considering filming in the coastal city of Dubrovnik, it was decided that the ideal location was the town of Trogir, situated on an island in the Adriatic Sea. Trogir had been under Venetian control for almost four centuries -- including the period in which Whithouse's story was set -- and its architecture still reflected that influence.

As such, the vampire adventure and Vincent And The Doctor were scheduled to be made together in Trogir as the fifth production block (at one point planned to be the fourth block) of Season Thirty-One. The director would be Jonny Campbell, whose previous credits included episodes of Peak Practice, Spooks and Ashes To Ashes, as well as the film Alien Abduction. Given the rigors of overseas filming, producer Tracie Simpson was joined in that capacity by Patrick Schweitzer, who normally served as the thirty-first season's line producer. Schweitzer had earlier been Doctor Who's production manager for part of Season Twenty-Nine, and had thereafter worked as a line producer on shows such as Spooks: Code 9 and Ashes To Ashes.

During the drafting process, Whithouse's script went by a number of titles, with the writer proposing “Blood And Water” and “The House Of Calvierri”. However, given that it was meant to be a gateway into the season for casual viewers, Moffat thought that a more straightforward title would be appropriate, preferring “Vampires In Venice” (an allusion to the 2006 movie Snakes On A Plane). In June, Mark Gatiss -- who had written Victory Of The Daleks -- suggested “Vampires Of Venice”, echoing the 1978 Warren Zevon song Werewolves Of London. This met with Whithouse's approval, and by November it had undergone only a minor change to The Vampires Of Venice. By this point, one modification to Whithouse's script had seen the role of the flower vendor substantially truncated; she was originally called Bianca.

The first piece of filming conducted for The Vampires Of Venice was Rory's stag night, at the Bowls Inn in Caerphilly on November 25th. The same day, material in the TARDIS console room was taped at Upper Boat Studios. Then, on November 28th and 29th, cast and crew flew to Trogir for a two-week shoot -- the most extensive location work ever conducted for Doctor Who. On November 30th, scenes in the market where the TARDIS materialises were filmed. December 1st dealt with the duel between Rory and Francesco, as well as Amy's pursuit of the Saturnyne. The primary venue on the 4th was the Cathedral of St Lawrence, for sequences taking place around the exterior of the House of Calvierri.

On December 6th, the Calvierri courtyard was actually part of the offices of the mayor of Trogir; some street scenes were also taped around the town. The next day, more material outside the House of Calvierri was completed at the Cathedral, with further business in the streets following on the 8th. December 9th took Campbell's team outside Trogir proper to a jetty on the River Pantan for the sequences in which Isabella and Rosanna find themselves in the waters around the House of Calvierri. To justify to the cast that the river was not unbearably cold, executive producer Beth Willis agreed to submerge herself in the chilly mountain stream during the camera tests. The last day in Trogir was the 10th, which saw various shots and inserts completed, including more work at the Cathedral.

Back in Wales, the next location for The Vampires Of Venice was St Donat's Castle, the premises of Atlantic College in Llantwit Major. This offered various areas in the House of Calvierri -- including the throne room, the transformation room and corridors -- as well as the exterior of Guido's home. Work there spanned December 16th to 18th, and included the Doctor's first encounter with the “Vampire Girls”, for which the art department had prepared a library card bearing a photo of the First Doctor (from The Celestial Toymaker) and giving his address as 76 Totter's Lane, harkening back to the very first Doctor Who story, 100,000 BC.

After the Christmas break -- during which viewers had witnessed the Tenth Doctor regenerate into his eleventh incarnation at the conclusion of The End Of Time on New Year's Day -- Campbell's team resumed work on The Vampires Of Venice on January 7th, 2010. This was the first of two consecutive days at Llancaiach Fawr Manor near Nelson in Treharris, which posed as the interior of Guido's house. On the 9th, more Venetian street scenes were recorded at Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly, along with material in the tunnel beneath the Calvierri estate. Campbell's team next travelled to Castle Coch in Cardiff on January 11th, for the sequences in the bedroom and basement areas of the House of Calvierri. Finally, various pick-up and effects shots were completed at Upper Boat on the 13th, especially for the Doctor atop the bell tower. Ironically, the last filming conducted for the adventure took place in Venice itself: visual effects supervisor Dave Houghton travelled there on February 13th to record plate shots which would be incorporated into the finished episode.

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #26, 30th December 2010, “The Vampires Of Venice” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 8th May 2010
Time 5.59pm
Duration 48'11"
Viewers (more) 7.7m (12th)
· BBC1 7.3m
· BBCHD 398k
· iPlayer 1.3m
Appreciation 86%


Cast
The Doctor
Matt Smith
Amy Pond
Karen Gillan
Rory
Arthur Darvill
(more)
Rosanna
Helen McCrory
Guido
Lucian Msamati
Isabella
Alisha Bailey
Francesco
Alex Price
Vampire Girls
Gabriella Wilde
Hannah Steele
Elizabeth Croft
Sonila Vieshta
Gabriela Montaraz
Inspector
Michael Percival
Steward
Simon Gregor


Crew
Written by
Toby Whithouse
Directed by
Jonny Campbell
Produced by
Tracie Simpson
Patrick Schweitzer
(more)

1st Asst Director
John Bennett
2nd Asst Director
James DeHaviland
3rd Asst Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
Runners
Nicola Eynon Price
Laura Jenkins
Location Manager
Gareth Skelding
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Production Manager
Holly Pullinger
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
Production Management Asst
Claire Thomas
Production Runner
Siân Warrilow
Asst Production Accountant
Carole Wakefield
Script Editor
Brian Minchin
Continuity
Non Eleri Hughes
Camera Operator
Ian Adrian
B Camera Operator
Matthew Poynter
Focus Puller
Steve Rees
Grip
John Robinson
Camera Assistants
Tom Hartley
Jon Vidgen
Boom Operator
Dafydd Parry
Sound Maintenance Engineer
Jeff Welch
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Pete Chester
Electricians
Ben Griffiths
Steve Slocombe
Bob Milton
Alan Tippetts
Stunt Co-ordinator
Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performer
Gordon Seed
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Associate Designer
James North
Art Dept Co-ordinator
Amy Oakes
Production Buyer
Ben Morris
Set Decorator
Keith Dunne
Props Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Standby Art Director
Tristan Peatfield
Set Designer
Ben Austin
Storyboard Artist
James Iles
Concept Artists
Richard Shaun Williams
Peter McKinstry
Graphic Artist
Jackson Pope
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Tom Evans
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Keith Freeman
Standby Painter
Ellen Woods
Props Master
Paul Aitken
Props Chargehand
Matt Wild
Dressing Props
Martin Broadbent
Rhys Jones
Props Makers
Penny Howarth
Nicholas Robatto
Practical Electrician
Albert James
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Scott Fisher
Workshop Manager
Mark Hill
Scenic Artists
John Pinkerton
John Whalley
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Title Sequence
FrameStore
Costume Supervisor
Bobbie Peach
Crowd Supervisor
Lindsay Bonaccorsi
Costume Assistants
Sara Morgan
Maria Franchi
Make-Up Supervisor
Pam Mullins
Make-Up Artists
Abi Brotherton
Morag Smith
Casting Associates
Andy Brierley
Alice Purser
Assistant Editor
Becky Trotman
VFX Editor
Cat Gregory
Post Prod. Supervisors
Chris Blatchford
Ceres Doyle
Post Prod. Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Supervising Sound Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Foley Editor
Helen Dickson
Colourist
Mick Vincent
On-Line Conform
Matthew Clarke
Mark Bright
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Production Accountant
Ceri Tothill
Sound Recordist
Bryn Thomas
Costume Designer
Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Visual Effects
The Mill
Special Effects
Real SFX
Music
Murray Gold
Editor
Jamie Pearson
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director Of Photography
Tony Slater Ling
Line Producer
Patrick Schweitzer
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Piers Wenger
Beth Willis


Working Titles
Blood And Water
The House Of Calvierri
Vampires In Venice
Vampires Of Venice


Media
DVD Release
Doctor Who: Series 5 Volume 2 (single disc; 2010)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series (2010; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Blu-ray Release
Doctor Who: Series 5 Volume 2 (single disc; 2010)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series (2010; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA

Updated 4th August 2013