The keenest and most efficient of the Doctor Who snoops on the internet seems to be one Ryan Farrell. Today he took some snaps on the set of the 50th anniversary special that reveal that, despite recent communications, we do have some callbacks to old, old Who history to look forward to.
First up, here’s the sign for one Coal Hill Primary School. This was mentioned in The Unearthly Child, the very first Doctor Who story. And if you read the names, you’ll see that one I. Chesterton is the chairman of the Governors. In the first run of Who he was the school’s science teacher and became a companion of The Doctor.
The character was mentioned again in The Sarah Jane Adventures, with the suggestion that he’s still alive and hasn’t aged since the 60s. Will we be seeing him in the anniversary special?
And next, the entry gate to the Totter’s Lane junkyard, where we first saw The Tardis, first discovered that it’s bigger on the inside and, of course, first met The Doctor.
The scenes being filmed at Coal Hill School seemed to be contemporary, with schookids in modern dress. Clara was seen riding her bike into the schoolyard.
Meanwhile, at Totter’s Lane, Farr says that they filmed a recreation of the very first shot of the very first episode, with a policeman walking past the yard. It’s not clear how far they went with this – the original shot is rather extended and ends up making a journey into the Yard and up to the Tardis.
If this is the first shot of the new special – and I imagine it might well be – I think a lot of fans will completely flip their lids. I certainly think it’s a very sweet idea, especially if Moffat has found some Timey Wimey ways to squeeze through the cracks of that original story but not upend or disturb it too much.