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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 44 - On Location > THE MAGIC HOUR

THE MAGIC HOUR

Location managers Nicki James and IwI an Roberts must down all time and space – ideally, within 45miles of Cardiff.
The TARDIS prop arrives at a coal power station in Uskmouth - one of the locations used in A Good Man Goes to war (2011).

It’s Tuesday 21 June 2016 and location manager Nicky James is working on the new series of Doctor Who. “I’m driving at the moment,” she tells us. “I’m out scouting locations. But I’ll pull in so I can speak to you.”

Once she’s safely parked, we ask what she’s looking for. “Today, it’s a large house. And on my travels, maybe an exterior of... but I’m not allowed to tell you!” Does her job involve a lot of just driving around with her eye out for something interesting? “Yes. I was born and brought up in Cardiff, so I know the types of houses and architecture. When you’re reading a script or you’re given a brief, various things spring to mind. But it’s good to look at things from a different perspective, and just to get out there.”

Clara (Jenna Coleman) peers out of her bedroom window in The Bells of Saint John (2013).

How did Nicky become a location manager in the first place? “I did a degree and post-grad in media studies, but I don’t think that really prepares you. You need to just work on set and do it. I was a second assistant director and I started firsting a bit, but I didn’t like to be stuck on set all day. Then a production manager offered me a job location managing, and I was just thrown in at the deep end. That was in 2000.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

In its early days, Doctor Who was recorded on cumbersome cameras tethered to claustrophobic and often inadequate studios. The show rarely escaped these confines in the 1960s, but as technology improved, producers and directors became more adventurous. Location shooting has helped to create some of the most memorable episodes in the series’ long history. In this unique publication, new features, exclusive interviews and rare images tell the story of those episodes and the people who made them happen.
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