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New Series Episode 97:
The Angels Take Manhattan

Plot

A restful stop for the TARDIS crew in modern-day Central Park becomes a crisis when the Weeping Angels send Rory back to 1938. A pulp detective novel suddenly begins narrating Rory's fate, providing the clues that the Doctor and Amy need to come to the rescue. Reunited with River Song, they discover that the Angels have overrun New York City and are using it as an incubator for temporal energy, with Rory caught in the centre of the trap. Only a paradox will defeat them, but to create one, the Doctor may find himself separated from Amy and Rory forever...

Production

When Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill discussed their departure from Doctor Who with executive producer Steven Moffat, both expressed a desire to have Amy and Rory leave the show in a permanent way. Neither actor wanted to undercut the emotion of their characters' farewell by establishing a revolving door of return appearances, as had become common for companions in recent years. Initially, Moffat thought that the best monster to do away with Amy and Rory so irrevocably would be the Doctor's arch-enemies, the Daleks.

However, during a family vacation to New York City in early 2011, Moffat decided that this was the perfect setting for Amy and Rory's final story. Although Season Thirty-Three's major location expedition would be to Almería, Spain (for A Town Called Mercy) it was agreed that the budget would allow for a short window of filming in the Empire State as well. Since the Daleks had already visited New York (in 2007's Daleks In Manhattan / Evolution Of The Daleks), Moffat came to feel that the Weeping Angels were a better fit for the setting. As such, it was decided that the Daleks should instead appear in the season premiere, which became Asylum Of The Daleks.

The adventure which would write out Amy and Rory then became known as The Angels Take Manhattan, playing on the popular phrase (also co-opted, for example, in the title of the 1984 comedy film The Muppets Take Manhattan and the 1987 song First We Take Manhattan written by Leonard Cohen) about achieving success in the Big Apple. Moffat began writing the script in late January 2012. Early drafts saw more obvious time manipulation at Winter Quay, with multiple versions of both Rory and Sam Garner present at different ages. When the TARDIS was unable to materialise in New York, it was shunted back in time to the Viking era. Originally, the item made in ancient China at the Doctor's request was a TARDIS-shaped puzzle box; River discovered it amongst Grayle's collection and stored her vortex manipulator inside. The Doctor then used the vortex manipulator to travel to 1938 New York after locating the puzzle box in a museum in the twenty-first century. The Chinese foreman reappeared later in the script: Grayle was transported back to his workshop by the Weeping Angels, and was put to work making the very things he had collected as antiques. (The final script instead saw Grayle wind up as a slave during the Renaissance, as depicted in one of his paintings; however, this was lost during editing.)

Moffat's biggest challenge in writing The Angels Take Manhattan was deciding exactly how Amy and Rory should make their exit, especially bearing in mind Gillan and Darvill's preference for the finality of this event. Indeed, this led him to contemplate the obvious route of killing off one or both characters. However, Moffat was guided by a scene he had seeded into their first appearance in The Eleventh Hour, in which the young Amelia Pond hears the TARDIS materialise after spending all night waiting in her back garden -- despite the fact that it had already been established that the Doctor didn't return to Amy for twelve years. Moffat conceived their ultimate fate -- temporally isolated from the Doctor, but happily growing old together in New York -- as best encapsulating the emotions of Amy and Rory's journey together, and the optimism of young Amelia's all-night vigil.

The Angels Take Manhattan was recorded alongside Asylum Of The Daleks as Block Two of the production schedule for Season Thirty-Three. Early in pre-production, director Nick Hurran travelled to New York City to hunt for locations. One of the places he visited was Central Park, where he photographed Bethesda Fountain, constructed in 1868 by Emma Stebbins. The centrepiece of the fountain was the sculpture of a tall angel (known as the Angel of the Waters), but this figure was surrounded by four smaller cherubs (representing peace, health, purity and temperance). Upon spotting this picture back in Cardiff, Moffat was inspired to create the new breed of cherub-shaped Weeping Angels, as he felt that their design was particularly unsettling.

The first recording for The Angels Take Manhattan was the effects shot of Amy and Rory falling from the roof of Winter Quay, completed at Upper Boat Studios on March 23rd. Some exterior shots of the apartment building were filmed at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University on April 4th. The next day was spent at Upper Boat, taping both TARDIS scenes and the material in ancient China. On April 6th, a house on Bute Street in Cardiff Bay provided Grayle's cellar, while the Winter Quay elevator was in the nearby Bay Chambers office building. Another part of Winter Quay -- this time the stairwell -- was, in real life, part of Royal Fort House at Bristol University in Bristol; work there occurred on the 7th.

Hurran's team -- including only the three regulars amongst the cast -- then jetted off to New York City, where filming began on April 11th. Apart from a brief shot in Times Square, this day was based in Central Park, with the Bethesda Fountain amongst the shooting locations. One of the scenes recorded there was the Doctor reading the letter which Amy had secreted in the afterword of the Melody Malone book; as the cameras rolled, Karen Gillan read Amy's lines to Matt Smith to help him engage with the bittersweet emotion of the moment.

On the 12th, street shots were completed at a variety of locations but the principal venue was Tudor City, an apartment complex which provided most of the outdoor shots of Winter Quay. Although the Central Park recording had attracted considerable attention, the Doctor Who team was flabbergasted to discover more than one thousand fans waiting for them at Tudor City -- a crowd which, fortunately, turned out to be largely cooperative. The last day in America was the 13th, which was reserved for recording wide shots of key New York landmarks and vistas.

Upon their return to Great Britain, the first stop for the Doctor Who team was a house in St Nicholas, where scenes in Grayle's study and main hall were filmed from April 16th to 18th. Here, Alex Kingston rejoined the cast, almost a full year having elapsed since her last appearance in The Wedding Of River Song. On the 19th, Amy and Rory vanished from the Doctor's life as the graveyard sequence was recorded at Box Cemetery in Llanelli (although Gillan and Darvill still had an entire episode, The Power Of Three, ahead of them). April 20th took cast and crew back to Upper Boat, where shooting took place on the sets for both the TARDIS console room and the roof of Winter Quay.

At this time, Doctor Who was in the process of moving from Upper Boat into the Roath Lock production facility in Cardiff Bay. It was here that work began on April 21st, for material in the Winter Quay apartment and hallway as well as inside Grayle's car. That night, the exterior of Grayle's mansion was actually the Glamorgan Building, part of Cardiff University. More apartment and hallway scenes were completed on the 23rd and 24th, with various pick-ups also taped on the latter day. Additional footage inside Grayle's car was then recorded on the 25th, followed by further inserts on the 27th (at Roath Lock) and the 30th (at Upper Boat). This should have concluded work on The Angels In Manhattan, but it was subsequently decided to film more material for the graveyard scene. As such, an extra day at Box Cemetery was scheduled for June 28th, with Saul Metzstein (who had directed Dinosaurs On A Spaceship and A Town Called Mercy) filling in for Hurran, who was unavailable.

For The Angels Take Manhattan, the Doctor Who logo was given the green hue associated with the Statue of Liberty, and topped with her crown. A significant trim in post-production involved the Doctor and Amy reflecting on how much time was passing between the Time Lord's visits -- something which Moffat now felt was more elegantly conveyed in The Power Of Three, and therefore needed less elucidation in the Weeping Angels tale. The transmission of The Angels Take Manhattan on September 29th not only drew the story of Amy and Rory to a close, but also brought a pause to Season Thirty-Three. It would resume three months later with the broadcast of the 2012 Christmas special, The Snowmen.

Whereas several recent episodes had been preceded by specially-filmed prequels, it was planned that The Angels In Manhattan would instead be bolstered by an epilogue. Writer Chris Chibnall had introduced Rory's father, Brian Williams, in two Season Thirty-Three episodes (Dinosaurs On A Spaceship and The Power Of Three) and there was interest amongst the production team in wrapping up Brian's story. Chibnall delivered a script entitled “Brian Pond” for what was intended to be a DVD special feature; this depicted Brian being visited by an American man named Anthony who turns out to be the adopted son of Rory and Amy, and who delivers a letter from his father to his grandfather.

However, plans to record this epilogue in June alongside Pond Life and the prequel for Asylum Of The Daleks were scuppered when actor Mark Williams proved unavailable. Following the broadcast of The Angels Take Manhattan, however, executive producer Caroline Skinner suggested that Chibnall's script could be presented in the form of storyboards. Arthur Darvill agreed to narrate what was now called PS, and this postscript was released online on October 12th.

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #33, Spring 2013, “The Angels Take Manhattan” by Andrew Pixley, Panini UK Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 29th Sep 2012
Time 7.20pm
Duration 44'15"
Viewers (more) 7.8m (13th)
· BBC1/HD 7.8m
· iPlayer 716k
Appreciation 88%


Cast
The Doctor
Matt Smith
Amy Pond
Karen Gillan
Rory Williams
Arthur Darvill
(more)
River Song
Alex Kingston
Grayle
Mike McShane
Sam Garner
Rob David
Hood
Bentley Kalu
Foreman
Ozzie Yue
Old Garner
Burnell Tucker
Photoshoot PA
Zac Fox


Crew
Written by
Steven Moffat
Directed by
Nick Hurran
Produced by
Marcus Wilson
(more)

Stunt Coordinators
Crispin Layfield
Gordon Seed
Stunt Performers
Matthew Stirling
Stephanie Carey
First Assistant Director
Fay Selby
Second Assistant Director
James DeHaviland
Third Assistant Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
Assistant Director
Danielle Richards
Location Manager
Nicky James
Unit Manager
Geraint Williams
Production Manager
Phillipa Cole
Production Manager (New York)
Moe Bardach
Production Coordinator
Claire Hildred
Asst Production Coordinator
Gabriella Ricci
Production Secretary
Sandra Cosfeld
Production Assistants
Rachel Vipond
Samantha Price
Asst Production Accountants
Rhys Evans
Justine Wooff
Assistant Script Editor
John Phillips
Script Supervisor
Steve Walker
Camera Operator
Joe Russell
Focus Pullers
James Scott
Julius Ogden
Grip
Gary Norman
Camera Assistants
Meg de Koning
Sam Smithard
Evelina Norgren
Assistant Grip
Owen Charnley
Sound Maintenance Engineers
Ross Adams
Chris Goding
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Stephen Slocombe
Electricians
Bob Milton
Gareth Sheldon
Matt Wilson
Supervising Art Director
Paul Spriggs
Set Decorator
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyers
Charlie Lynam
Adrian Greenwood
Art Director
Lucienne Suren
Assistant Art Director
Richard Hardy
Art Department Coordinator
Donna Shakesheff
Prop Master
Paul Smith
Prop Chargehand
Bernie Davies
Set Dresser
Jayne Davies
Prophand
Austin J Curtis
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Helen Atherton
Dressing Props
Mike Elkins
Ian Griffin
Graphic Artist
Christina Tom
Graphic Designer
Chris Lees
Petty Cash Buyer
Florence Tasker
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Props Makers
Penny Howarth
Alan Hardy
Jamie Thomas
Props Driver
Gareth Fox
Construction Manager
Terry Horle
Construction Chargehand
Dean Tucker
Assistant Costume Designer
Fraser Purfit
Costume Supervisor
Carly Griffith
Costume Assistants
Katarina Cappellazzi
Gemma Evans
Make-Up Artists
Sara Angharad
Vivienne Simpson
Allison Sing
Casting Associate
Alice Purser
Assistant Editor
Becky Trotman
VFX Editor
Joel Skinner
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
ADR Editor
Matthew Cox
Dialogue Editor
Darran Clement
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Foley Editor
Jamie Talbutt
Graphics
Peter Anderson Studio
Online Conform
Mark Bright
Online Editor
Jon Everett
Colourist
Mick Vincent
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Production Accountant
Jeff Dunn
Sound Recordist
Deian Llŷr Humphreys
Costume Designer
Howard Burden
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Music
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Stargate Studios
Special Effects
Real SFX
Prosthetics
Millennium FX
Editor
Jamie Pearson
Production Designer
Michael Pickwoad
Director Of Photography
Neville Kidd
Script Producer
Denise Paul
Line Producer (New York)
David Mason
Line Producer
Diana Barton
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Caroline Skinner


Media
DVD Release
Doctor Who: Series 7 Part 1 (double disc; 2012)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series (2013; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Blu-ray Release
Doctor Who: Series 7 Part 1 (double disc; 2012)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series (2013; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA

Updated 25th August 2014