It’s something that we probably all take for granted. When watching an episode of Doctor Who, the first thoughts that normally pop into one’s head are to do with the costumes and the script and the acting and even the VFX.
But, as the saying goes, when something’s done right people won’t know you’ve done anything at all. Cue Iwan Roberts, Doctor Who’s Location Manager since 2010 and the person responsible for finding those all important areas in Wales as well as the rest of the world that will bring the Doctor’s adventures to life.
Keeping tens of thousands of pictures of Wales on his laptop for reference, unsung hero Roberts has to make sure that every location chosen is perfect for the episode that it’s going to be played out on, one wrong move and you’ve got a fan backlash the size of Belgium.
So how exactly does he do it? In a recent interview with the Daily Mirror, he explained all:
I have a huge database of pictures on my laptop, from parks and woods, to residential houses, just so many of them. And you use that as your library, so you look at a Doctor Who script when you get sent it, and think to yourself ‘I’ve got that location’, ‘I know a great place for this scene’
But it’s not all plain sailing, some locations are harder to find than others:
The Doctor Who Christmas special in 2011, we had to find a wood or a forest, and it took us so long to find the right woods for that episode.
It also makes a huge difference to his job that he also has so much incredible support as well:
It’s such an easy city to work in; the authorities here make it easy to work. We have the full support of the police and the council, which helps a great deal.
And sometimes, as some of you may have done on location, fans turn up for a Doctor Who shoot just for a single glance at Matt Smith in character and costume, something that Roberts has no problem with at all:
But they’re great [the fans], so dedicated. I remember we were filming a night scene in Penarth, we were there all night and the fans were there until 5am just to get an autograph from Matt Smith. And he did it too; he’s good with the fans.
To read the full interview with Roberts and to discover his top filming locations, visit The Mirror.