Doctor Who at the Seabank Hotel
26th April 11
From left, River Song, Rory, the Doctor and Amy Pond and right, Seabank Hotel
Porthcawl’s prestigiously located Seabank Hotel is set to feature in the latest series of Doctor Who. The landmark property was aquired by Alfa Travel's Leisureplex Hotel chain only last year and has already proved itself to be one of the most popular within the 19 strong portfolio.
Seabank has an auspicious past as befits this most striking and unique building. Starting as the family home of the Brogdens who created the town of Porthcawl in the 19th century, the hotel was, for a time, a boarding school. In 1944 & 1945 Seabank was home to wartime occupancy of the West Riding Reconnaissance Regiment who became the spearhead of the invasion troops in France and the Netherlands.
Little wonder then that the BBC location manager for Doctor Who was drawn to the hotel which she remembered from childhood visits to the area. Seabank is truly atmospheric and no doubt the Timelord’s sonic screwdriver picked up haunting vibrations from the vast and varied visitors of the past 150 years.
The new series of Doctor Who will feature guest appearances from Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville, David Walliams, James Corden, Lily Cole and the voice of Michael Sheen. Indeed Seabank management & staff were enthralled to get up close and personal to Doctor Who himself, Matt Smith, leggy companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and the enigmatic David Walliams. Staff have been sworn to secrecy and refuse to reveal secrets of the shoot and up and coming storylines.
With latest reports showing some 9 million TV tourists visited the filming locations of popular dramas in the last year alone, the already bustling Seabank is set to be busier than ever. South Wales has long links with Doctor Who, where much of it has been filmed. Indeed, along the coast from Seabank is Cardiff, where visitors can now enjoy a 4 hour Doctor Who bus tour, taking in more than 20 filming locations as well as sites from spin off shows Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures.
Easter Saturday saw the eagerly awaited return of the award winning drama. Billed as the scariest ever series, the opening episode entitled The Impossible Astronaut, burst onto our screens with a terrifying new adversary for the Timelord in the shape of The Silence.
The Silence are a terrifying race who have telepathic powers who invaded Earth and can kill using a deadly discharge from their hands. In the next episode the Doctor must make a dramatic prison escape and along with Amy, Rory & River must lead a revolution against the eerie aliens and save planet earth.
Saturday’s episode, which began with a dedication to the memory of the late Doctor Who actress, Elisabeth Sladen, drew an impressive 36.7 per cent of the available audience, with figures peaking at seven million. And when ‘time shift’ figures for those who recorded the show to watch later are added in, the final figure is expected to be much higher.
Doctor Who returned to television screens in 2005 after a sixteen year absence. Matt Smith replaced David Tennant last year and at 26, he became the youngest actor to be given the role since it began in 1963.
The series will be split into two, with seven episodes running until June before it returns with another six episodes in the Autumn.
Doctor Who can be viewed this coming Saturday at 6.45pm on BBC1. Meanwhile, Saturday‘s guests at Seabank Hotel can view Doctor Who alongside spectacular views of the Bristol Channel and the stunning South Wales Coast.
For more information about Seabank Hotel and to check the rapidly diminishing availability click here.