Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Shada Tour 2

I’ve just arrived home after conducting a second tour of Dr Who: Shada filming locations in as many years so thought I’d pour a few thoughts about it from my brain onto keyboard before the memories fade.

I cycled into town just after lunch having arranged to meet the group at the Maypole Pub, when I got near to where I was to leave my bike I spotted several of the group just starting to arrive at the pub a geniune case of immaculately good timing.

We gathered in the pub, drinks were bought and the group introduced themselves to each other as this event had been an open invite via facebook so a few people joined in the the fun who I otherwise didn’t know at all but when Dr Who fans gather we soon seem to get on, in the magical spirit of fandom and common interests.

We lingered in the pub for over half an hour and once it became clear no one else was going to arrive we started the tour.

The tour began slightly off topic because I wanted to demonstrate my flying TARDIS on nearby Jesus Green, not the easiest of locations for this as it was crowded today with locals chilling out in the sunshine. After several failed attempts I eventually got it in the air to an impressed crowd, someone asked “how high does it go?” which is hard to answer at times because it depends on the conditions.

We then began the tour proper at Portugal Place a street the Doctor cycles down in the climax to episode one.

After that we headed slowly(it was v busy with tourists!) down Jesus Lane and onto King’s Parade, home to several world famous landmarks including King’s College Chapel and Great St. Mary’s Church, at this point we almost lost Scott as a sweet shop nearby proved v tempting to browse.

This part of Cambridge is understandably tourist central esp in the summer months so proved a bit slow and hard to negotiate at times.

At the end of King’s Parade the tour reached Botolph’s Lane, another road used as part of the chase scene in episode 2.

We then headed onto Pembroke Street and passed by my workplace, it was at this point the weather showed signs of taking a turn of the worst and I was glad I’d brought my mac even though I hadn’t packed a brolly.

Next we headed into Emmanual College(St. Cedd’s in Shada) but here hit problems with porters, who didn’t want “large groups” going round the college. I had to slip into full on negotiation mode and somehow managed to at least let us stay for a brief five mins if we promised not to look round.

By this point the weather really had turned and the rain was getting quite heavy so we made an emergency diversion into Lion’s Yard shopping centre, this did at least allow me to share a bit more local knowledge and of history about the area.

Having changed direction we took the opportunity to head to The Haunted Bookshop, a lesser known attraction that is home to two ghosts and also a rather good second hand/collectable bookshop.

Next stop on the tour was Lakeland Kitchenware shop in case anyone wanted any Dr Who or Star Wars kitchen goods.

The final stop on the tour and another place where we encountered a problem was the alleyway
behind the Mitre and Baron of Beef pubs this was a TARDIS landing site in episode 3 of Shada and we’d visited it problem free last year but nearby restaurant workers took exception to us gathering on what despite being tiny is apparently though private property.

That marked the end of the tour so we headed into The Mitre for drinks and chat, a much needed wind down after the rigors of the tour. At this point I’d like to thank Dave Hingley and Vicki Green for putting up with me. I’m a far from perfect conversationalist and can be guilty of holding court a bit and talking at rather than to people so sorry if I was a tad full on guys but hope I was OK and you enjoyed the day.

All that remains to be asked is will I be doing the tour again? I have to admit yes, it will be in July or August of 2015 and if nothing else, today has proved to be a learning experience that a small minority of the locations aren’t easy to visit as a group.

Written on the evening of 2nd August 2014