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New Series Episode 100:
The Bells Of Saint John

Plot

All over the world, people are being found dead, slumped next to their computers. What no one realises is that the victims' minds are being harvested, uploaded through an insidious new wi-fi network run by Miss Kizlet on behalf of a mysterious client. Using mobile robotic servers called Spoonheads, Miss Kizlet's reach extends virtually everywhere -- and to almost everyone. Her latest victim is a young nanny named Clara Oswald. But, fortunately, Clara is the same woman the Doctor has already seen die twice... and he's determined not to lose her a third time.

Production

Plans for the new Doctor Who companion, to be featured in the latter part of Season Thirty-Three, evolved considerably over the span of a few months between late 2011 and the start of 2012. Instead of a Victorian governess called Beryl, the Doctor would now be accompanied by a contemporary girl named Clara who worked as a nanny but yearned to travel. As a result, the job of introducing the new character effectively shifted from the 2012 Christmas special, The Snowmen (at the end of which Clara would make just a brief appearance) to the first episode of Doctor Who's eight-part Spring 2013 run. This adventure would also be responsible for ratcheting the new story arc surrounding Clara up a gear; this had already been teased via the introduction of two ill-fated characters (Oswin in the Season Thirty-Three premiere, Asylum Of The Daleks, and Clara the Victorian governess in The Snowmen) who appeared to be identical to the modern-day Clara.

Executive producer Steven Moffat began working on ideas for Clara's introductory adventure around April 2012. In past Doctor Who scripts, he had enjoyed considerable success by turning familiar things into objects of menace or mystery -- such as statues in 2007's Blink or cracks on a bedroom wall in 2010's The Eleventh Hour. Wi-fi networks were still new technology but were fast becoming omnipresent, and Moffat had been struck by the way they would pass in and out of the range of his laptop as he rode the train between London and Cardiff. This led to the notion of a rogue wi-fi network -- an idea which Moffat could marry to producer Marcus Wilson's suggestion of an urban thriller along the lines of the recent James Bond movies starring Daniel Craig, or the film versions of Robert Ludlum's Bourne spy novels. The inclusion of the Shard skyscraper near London Bridge as the headquarters of Cloud Incorporated was intended to give the story a highly contemporary feel; the edifice would not be opened to the public until February 1st, 2013.

It was thought that Kate Stewart might accompany the UNIT troops who arrest Miss Kizlet

Moffat completed a draft of The Bells Of Saint John around the end of August. Originally, there was no reference to Miss Kizlet's client, but in later drafts the Doctor learned over the course of the story that this was the Great Intelligence; only latterly was this made known to the audience but not the Doctor. For a time, it was thought that Kate Stewart (who had been introduced in 2012's The Power Of Three) might accompany the UNIT troops who arrest Miss Kizlet. The book by Amelia Williams was initially called One Deadly Summer before becoming Summer Falls (a version of which, ghost-written by James Goss, would be published online and later as part of a print anthology). Until a very late stage, the Doctor found a sheet of passport photos in Clara's travel book rather than a leaf; this was changed to tie into the next story to go before the cameras, The Rings Of Akhaten.

The Bells Of Saint John went into production on its own, as Block Eight of the recording schedule. The director was Colm McCarthy, whose prior credits included The Tudors, Spooks and Ripper Street. Joining the Doctor Who team were two young actors as the Maitland siblings. Angie was played by Eve De Leon Allen, who had been a regular on Nuzzle And Scratch. The role of Artie (originally called Godfrey) went to Kassius Carey Johnson, who had appeared in Gigglebiz. Because the middle part of the Spring 2013 run had gone before the cameras first, Jenna-Louise Coleman had by now already played the twenty-first-century Clara in four full adventures (plus her cameo at the end of The Snowmen).

The first scene filmed for The Bells Of Saint John was Nabile's video, taped at BBC Roath Lock on September 24th as work on Block Seven (Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS) was wrapping up. At this stage, Nabile was played by Fady Elsayed. There was then a two-week hiatus before recording resumed on October 8th, the first of three days at a house on Beatty Avenue which served as the Maitland residence. On the 11th, the main focus was the airplane (provided by eCubed Solutions at MOD St Athan), while two sites represented 1207: the monastery exterior was Southerndown Beach in Dunraven Park, while the burial chamber containing the TARDIS was a set erected at Roath Lock. Then it was back to Beatty Avenue on the 12th.

Cast and crew headed for London on October 15th and 16th for shots of the Doctor and Clara on the motorcycle

The second week of filming began on October 14th with a day on the TARDIS set at Roath Lock. Cast and crew then headed for London, where the next two days would principally be spent at a variety of locations capturing shots of the Doctor and Clara on the motorcycle; some on the 15th was also spent recording material in the rooftop cafe at Grange St Paul's Hotel. On October 17th it was back to Wales and the thirteenth century, with Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly providing the monastery interior and courtyard, and the burial mound situated nearby in Fforest Fawr at Taffs Well. The 18th was a studio day, for material in the Cloud Incorporated offices and footage of the newsreader. The next day began at the Welsh National Assembly Building in Cardiff for sequences inside the cafe, before McCarthy and his team returned to the TARDIS set at Roath Lock.

This chiefly left the remaining scenes in Cloud Incorporated, completed at Roath Lock on October 22nd and 23rd, while various pick-up shots were recorded in studio and on the streets of Cardiff the next day. On November 9th, further taping was undertaken on the TARDIS set alongside the effects shots of the Doctor driving up the side of the Shard. Richard E Grant's contribution as Dr Simeon was then filmed on November 21st, during work on the season finale, The Name Of The Doctor. On November 26th, a prequel for The Bells Of Saint John was recorded at Roath Park in Cardiff under director John Hayes. This depicted the Doctor talking about his search for Clara with a little girl... whom he doesn't realise is a young Clara. She was played by Sophie Downham (who would also appear in The Name Of The Doctor). Nicola Sian was Clara's mum, Ellie, having been cast in the same role for The Rings Of Akhaten.

Colm McCarthy went to Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo to record additional footage for the pre-credits sequence

Meanwhile, the global appeal of Doctor Who was on the climb, and the production team was keen to embrace that international scope. To this end, it was decided to send McCarthy abroad to record additional footage for the pre-credits sequence. On December 2nd, he shot sequences at St Pancras Station in London, aboard a Eurostar train, and at the Eiffel Tower in Paris; on the 6th, near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California; and on the 8th and 9th in Tokyo, Japan. Revised material for Nabile's video to accommodate these elements was then filmed at BBC Television Centre on February 18th, 2013. Manpreet Bachu took over for Fady Elsayed in the role of Nabile.

The prequel to The Bells Of Saint John was released online on March 23rd, with Season Thirty-Three then resuming one week later. One major edit came towards the end of the episode, in which the Doctor would have been seen contemplating images of Oswin and the Victorian-era Clara when the TARDIS phone rang again; a whispered female voice on the line then implored the Doctor to trust Clara and take her with him. This had replaced an earlier version which took place after Clara was attacked by the Spoonhead, with the voice telling the Doctor, “Run you clever boy. And save her.”

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #37, Autumn 2014, “The Bells Of Saint John” by Andrew Pixley, Panini UK Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 30th Mar 2013
Time 6.14pm
Duration 45'14"
Viewers (more) 8.4m (8th)
· BBC1/HD 8.4m
· iPlayer 2.6m
Appreciation 87%


Cast
The Doctor
Matt Smith
Clara
Jenna-Louise Coleman
Nabile
Manpreet Bachu
(more)
Paul
Sean Knopp
The Abbott
James Greene
Angie
Eve De Leon Allen
Artie
Kassius Carey Johnson
George
Geff Francis
Miss Kizlet
Celia Imrie
Mahler
Robert Whitelock
Alexei
Dan Li
Little Girl
Danielle Eames
Pilot
Anthony Edridge
Barista
Fred Pearson
Waitress
Jade Anouka
Newsreader
Olivia Hill
Man with Chips
Matthew Earley
Child reading Comic
Isabella Blake-Thomas
The Great Intelligence
Richard E Grant


Crew
Written by
Steven Moffat
Directed by
Colm McCarthy
Produced by
Denise Paul
(more)

Series Producer
Marcus Wilson
Stunt Coordinators
Crispin Layfield
Jo McLaren
Stunt Performers
Andy Godbold
Dani Biernat
First Assistant Director
Nick Brown
Second Assistant Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
Third Assistant Director
Danielle Richards
Assistant Directors
Gareth Jones
Louisa Cavell
Location Managers
Nicky James
Thomas Elgood
Unit Manager
Monty Till
Location Assistant
Iestyn Hampson-Jones
Production Manager
Phillipa Cole
Production Coordinator
Claire Hildred
Assistant Coordinator
Gabriella Ricci
Production Secretary
Sandra Cosfeld
Production Assistants
Rachel Vipond
Samantha Price
Assistant Accountant
Rhys Evans
Assistant Script Editor
John Phillips
Script Supervisor
Steve Walker
Camera Operator
Joe Russell
Focus Pullers
James Scott
Chris Walmsley
Grip
Gary Norman
Camera Assistants
Meg de Koning
Sam Smithard
Cai Thompson
Assistant Grip
Owen Charnley
Sound Maintenance Engineers
Ross Adams
Chris Goding
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Stephen Slocombe
Electricians
Bob Milton
Nick Powell
Gafin Riley
Gareth Sheldon
Supervising Art Director
Paul Spriggs
Set Decorator
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyers
Adrian Greenwood
Charlie Lynam
Holly Thurman
Art Director
Amy Pickwoad
Assistant Art Director
Richard Hardy
Art Department Coordinator
Donna Shakesheff
Prop Master
Paul Smith
Prop Chargehand
Ian Griffin
Set Dresser
Jayne Davies
Prophands
Austin J Curtis
Jamie Farrell
Jamie Southcott
Standby Props
Helen Atherton
Rob Brandon
Dressing Props
Mike Elkins
Paul Barnett
Graphic Designer
Chris Lees
Graphic Artist
Christina Tom
Storyboard Artist
Andrew Wildman
Petty Cash Buyer
Florence Tasker
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Practical Electrician
Christian Davies
Props Makers
Penny Howarth
Alan Hardy
Props Driver
Gareth Fox
Construction Manager
Terry Horle
Construction Chargehand
Dean Tucker
Scenic Artist
John Pinkerton
Assistant Costume Designer
Fraser Purfit
Costume Supervisor
Carly Griffith
Costume Assistants
Katarina Cappellazzi
Gemma Evans
Make-Up Artists
Vivienne Simpson
Sara Angharad
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
Additional Visual Effects
BBC Wales Visual Effects
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
Special Effects
Real SFX
Prosthetics
Millennium FX
Editor
Mark Davis
Production Designer
Michael Pickwoad
Director Of Photography
Simon Dennis
Line Producer
Des Hughes
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Caroline Skinner

Updated 8th June 2015