CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Doctor Who’s travels through space and time at Surrey filming locations

PUBLISHED: 12:16 20 December 2013 | UPDATED: 09:26 29 April 2015

The Tardis

The Tardis

Location photos courtesy of Chuck Foster (doctorwholoctaions.net) / Doctor Who photos courtesy of the BBC

It’s Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary this year, but did you know that many of the Time Lord’s adventures were filmed here in Surrey? Hop on board The Tardis 
as Crispin Andrews takes us on a journey...

Betchworth was the chosen location for Genesis of the DaleksBetchworth was the chosen location for Genesis of the Daleks

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2013

***

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, cult TV show Doctor Who is the longest running science-fiction series in the world.

Originally created by the BBC as an educational family show to fit between the football results and evening entertainment programmes, when the first Doctor, William Hartnell, wanted to leave after three years, the idea of renewing their leading man was born.

Today, the series is watched by an estimated 80 million viewers in 206 countries – but few areas can lay claim to as many connections to the show as our own county, where numerous episodes have been filmed...

A renegade Time Lord at Brockham Limeworks

Inside the Matrix, a high-tech system that turns a person’s thoughts and dreams into virtual reality, Tom Baker’s Doctor must overcome a series of challenges to defeat his arch-enemy, the Master, and prove that it wasn’t he who shot and killed the President of the Time Lords. In one scene, the Doctor is trapped on a railway line whilst a steam train chugs towards him, and this scene was shot at the old Brockham Limeworks.

Built in the 19th century to mine the North Downs for chalk, the lime works were serviced by a private narrow gauge railway. After the lime works closed in 1936, the area was preserved by Brockham Museum, and today it is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The engines meanwhile became part of the collection at Amberley Museum in 1982. The locomotive used in the Doctor Who scene was one of only two surviving diesels built by Ransome and Rapier of Ipswich.

The BBC also filmed another scene from this story at nearby Engine Pond in Gatton Park.

• The Deadly Assassin, 1976

Dinosaurs invade Kingston

When Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and companion, Sarah Jane Smith, arrive in a park in London, they fail to notice items strewn all over the grass, as if people had left suddenly, in a hurry. This scene was shot in Kingston’s Victorian park, Canbury Gardens. When the confused time-travellers find the surrounding streets deserted too, they try to use a phone (opposite Woodside Road) and wait at a bus stop (Lower Ham Road).

The police station, filmed at the old Ashdown Road post office sorting station, is deserted, too, although the Doctor and Sarah do see a van speeding along Palmer Crescent. Later, troops shoot at looters (by the old Kingston meat market on Kent Road) and the Doctor tracks a mysterious signal (around South Lane and Parkfields Lane).

As it turns out, an unhinged ecological group want to bring about a new Earth – one where people live closer to nature – and to force governments to acquiesce, they’ve used a time scoop to bring ferocious dinosaurs to London to chase people out of the capital.

On another point of interest, Sarah, one of the Doctor’s most popular companions, also lived in Croydon.

• Invasion of the Dinosaurs, 1974

A giant carnivorous plant at Buckland

Scientists find a strange pod in the Antarctic permafrost. Eccentric millionaire botanist, Harrison Chase, gets his hands on it, but the pod turns out to be an alien parasite called a krynoid. The pod releases spores that turn one of Chase’s staff into a carnivorous plant that can move and grow as large as a block of flats.

The BBC couldn’t afford to jet down to Antarctica for the shoot, so they settled on Buckland Quarry near Reigate. They also used the quarry for several other scenes too.

Originally a family-run business, the quarry was taken over by Amalgamated Roadstone in 1978 and then by Hanson in 1990. 
The original quarry, north of the A25, is now a private nature reserve. Hanson still continues to extract sand and silica for providing specialist glass sand to customers throughout the UK.

• The Seeds of Doom, 1975

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the battles on Frensham Common

The BBC find themselves in need of some wild moor-like terrain but can’t afford to take the outside broadcast unit up to Scotland; much easier just to travel a few miles down the road to Frensham Common.

Located between Hindhead and Camberley, Frensham Common has heathland vegetation and two small lakes – everything the BBC needed to get Patrick Troughton’s Doctor involved in the Battle of Culloden.

Two years earlier, William Hartnell’s Doctor had been down to Frensham to get involved in the Trojan wars. For this storyline, BBC designers took an ancient Trojan scene painted on see-through glass to the pond and put it in front of the camera during filming.

• The Myth Makers, 1965; The Highlanders, 1966/7

The Daleks at Beachfields and Betchworth Quarries

The Doctor’s deadliest enemies have turned up in Surrey more than once.

In Planet of the Daleks in 1973, Beachfields Quarry, just south of Mercer’s Country Park near Merstham, becomes Skaro, the Daleks’ home planet. During the previous adventure, Frontier in Space, Jon Pertwee’s Doctor went to the quarry to film a visit to the home planet of an ape-like race called the Ogrons. Daleks used Ogrons as security guards back then. Four years later, Beachfields was the setting for a Sontaran invasion of the Doctor’s home planet, Gallifrey.

Once owned by Fullers Earth Union Ltd, today the upper part of the quarry is now a landfill site.

Elsewhere, when Tom Baker’s Doctor returned to Skaro in 1975, with strict instructions from the Time Lords to destroy the Daleks forever, Betchworth Quarry hosted the Daleks’ home planet. The following year, Baker visited Betchworth again to film part of The Deadly Assassin.

• Frontier in Space, 1973; Planet of the Daleks, 1973; Genesis of the Daleks, 1975; The Deadly Assassin, 1976; Invasion of Time, 1978

***

A few other Doctor Who locations in Surrey

• The Savages, 1966: William Hartnell’s Doctor arrives on an alien planet inhabited by an advanced civilisation and bands of savages at Callow Hill sandpit.

• The Mind Robber, 1968: Patrick Troughton’s Doctor finds himself in a fantasy world at Kenley Aerodrome near Caterham.

• Spearhead from Space, 1970: Jon Pertwee’s Doctor tackles the Nestenes and their sinister plastic servants, the Autons, at RHS Garden Wisley near Woking and Hatchford Park near Cobham.

• The Silurians, 1970: Pertwee confronts prehistoric humanoid reptiles at Hankley Common, the Hog’s Back transmitter station, Guildford and Sheephatch Farm 
in Tilford.

• Invasion of Time, 1978: Sontarans, militaristic clone warriors, invade Gallifrey, the Time Lords’ home planet, which included scenes at 
St Anne’s Hospital in Redhill.

***

How it all started…

Where were you on Saturday November 23, 1963, at 5.15pm? If you were in front of your TV screen, watching the BBC, you’d have seen the beginning of a British television legend. Here’s how it all started...

Two London secondary school teachers decide to follow their super intelligent but strange new pupil, Susan, back home. Ian and Barbara are worried about Susan’s home life, but don’t expect to see her disappear into a battered old police box outside a scrapyard. They soon discover that the police box is, in fact, a disguised space and time machine, called The Tardis. They also meet Susan’s grandfather, a tetchy white-haired old man called the Doctor. Before long, the four of them are off to Stone Age Britain for the first Doctor Who adventure.

Over the next 50 years, the Doctor, and a whole host of different companions, would travel all over the universe, encountering monsters and aliens that would send children, and a fair few adults, scurrying behind the sofa for safety.

More from Surrey Life

Thu, 10:52

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wed, 16:05

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tue, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tue, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tue, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search