Event Profile – Dr Who filming (2022)

This is a recap of the Doctor Who filming which took place on Bay Campus back in 2022. We sat down with Deanna Bowen (Event Support Officer within the team at the time), to get a glimpse into her experience of supporting the film crew. Deanna says this is one of the greatest opportunities she had whilst working for the University and looks forward to spotting scenes filmed on campus in the episode “Dot and Bubble” on the 31st of May 2024.

“It has been a pleasure to help the production crew and stakeholders at Swansea University with filming on our beautiful Bay Campus. The process started months ago however it has been rewarding seeing everything coming together. We are delighted that the crew chose Bay Campus for its modern styling and uniformity of the buildings, where multiple spaces could be booked out for the crew to spread out onto for their larger infrastructure.”

How did the project come to Event Services in the first place?
“It all started when the crew’s Location Manager got involved in previous filming on Bay Campus in 2017. Having visited a couple of years ago, the crew was already aware of the untapped potential of other parts of the site and got in contact with Event Services through the Commercial Services Marketing team, which we welcomed!

Once the crew’s request for a location walk around was accepted, the first face to face interaction was a two-hour walk around with our team, the Location Manager and one of the Art Directors. When the crew had their first look around campus, we spent time narrowing down specifically what areas they’d like to have a second look at, but with more staff. Luckily in this case, the weather held up – everybody knows that Bay Campus has its own climate!

Following this, the crew confirmed the areas they were considering filming across, which allowed us to start the internal conversations within the University. Our dedicated Event Support Officer Deanna could then bring different stakeholders on board. This included The College which runs as a separate entity, and was necessary, as more than one stakeholder was required due to the use of multiple spaces on campus.

After communicating with various stakeholders, the Arts team came back to Bay Campus before the University’s Welcome Week in September 2022, to start their planning. This involved taking measurements and getting rough ideas of what they would need to bring to campus to cover props with. All the essential bits before the filming officially begins!”

What happens during a walk around?
“Before an event takes place, a walk around is scheduled. Workarounds give everybody involved the chance to learn their way around campus and nail down the spaces they want to use. The first step is for visitors to organize parking, but our team can pre-book them in if it’s a busy time, which makes life a bit easier sometimes! Once the visitors are parked and ready to roll, a member of the Event Services team meets them to check whether they have arrived and to run through their plan. Security is informed of the crew’s upcoming arrival and know what to expect when the crew are on campus. Similarly, other stakeholders are kept in the loop which enables the smooth running of each visit, from start to finish.

For this filming project, Deanna met with the crew at the Great Hall. People are given a map of the campus on arrival if needed so that they can show us where they want to go and the route, they’d like to take on their way around. What we usually find is that filming crews have in mind specific areas, especially if they have done their research and looked at our wonderful spaces online! On the other hand, some people have visited before and therefore might give specifications based on what they’re looking for, then our team can recommend based on their requirements.

Hundreds of photos are taken on workarounds, especially photos of the larger spaces which can be hard to gauge without having seen in person – more reason as to why workarounds are such a huge benefit to the event planning process! It’s brilliant to have a bank of photos for visitors to go away with and look at to become more familiar with the spaces on campus and figure out what might work best for them especially with filming locations.”

What do the crew think of Bay Campus?
“When we asked the crew what drew them to Bay Campus, we were pleased to hear their appreciation for its modern styling. The crew were intrigued by the uniformity of the buildings and the arches within The College, which is filled with greenery and gives a natural vibe. Another point highlighted by the crew was the various bookable spaces which they could easily spread out onto to accommodate their larger infrastructure. Additionally, with a private stretch of beach right outside Bay and nothing to block its scenic view, its isolated position and proximity to Bay Studios made it a winning location.”

During Filming
“With film crews on campus, a lot of people play a part in ensuring everything goes to plan, therefore we do our best to look after the campus as much as we can from our side. This involves coordinating security and other stakeholders and make time for regular check ins, to address any queries or concerns. There is a strong focus on communication and facilitation as we are the main staff contact from the filming side of things. Sometimes, you will find that we are here, there, and everywhere! We like to let everybody know that we are available whilst keeping things running smoothly to ensure there is no disruption or damage and that everything is left clean and tidy.”

Despite large projects such as this one being difficult to coordinate, with consent required from people looking after certain areas, and especially compared to central teaching spaces which we can check if the space is free and if it is tick, off we go, they provide fantastic opportunities. We learn a lot with our feet on the ground whilst simultaneously ensuring everyone feels comfortable with where they are and who to approach for certain things and therefore gain experience. Subsequently we meet lots of lovely people – many of which return to campus! What could be better than that?”

Book your event with us
If you are considering Swansea University as a filming location, or if you are interested in booking one of our spaces for a meeting, event, or conference, get in touch with our experienced Event Services team today.