It’s Official: ‘Doctor Who’ To Film in the U.S. For The First Time!

American Doctor Who fans, get your telescopes in position: the TARDIS is landing Stateside. And there’s a new 2011 teaser that has been released. Geronimooooo!

Rumors have abounded for months now, but today the BBC has officially announced that Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and the whole Doctor Who crew will leave Wales to film the first two episodes of the upcoming season in Utah. This is the very first time that the long-running sci-fi series has filmed here. (While the 1996 Eighth Doctor movie was set in San Francisco, it was actually filmed in Canada.)

Here’s the full press release for today’s announcement:

DOCTOR WHO TO FILM IN THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME

Upcoming season’s first two episodes to be set in the U.S.

The BBC announced today that season six of Doctor Who, which delivered record ratings for BBC AMERICA earlier this year, will open with a spectacular two-parter set in the U.S. and penned by ‘Who supremo’ Steven Moffat.

In the special two-parter co-produced with BBC AMERICA, key scenes will be filmed in Utah for a story set in the late ’60s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah – right to the Oval Office itself.

Production on episodes one and two of the new season starts in Cardiff this month and Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will then travel to America in mid November to shoot pivotal scenes. They will also be joined by Alex Kingston who reprises her role as River Song.

Showrunner and lead writer, Steven Moffat, said: “The Doctor has visited every weird and wonderful planet you can imagine, so he was bound get round to America eventually! And of course every Doctor Who fan will be jumping up and down and saying he’s been in America before. But not for real, not on location – and not with a story like this one! Oh, you wait!”

Piers Wenger, Head of Drama BBC Wales and Executive Producer, added: “Steven’s scripts generally inspire us to go that extra mile – this time we’re going that extra four thousand. Thanks to our friends at BBC AMERICA and to the continuing ambition of our lead writer and production team, the first two episodes of Matt Smith’s second season as the Doctor are going global and look set to become Doctor Who’s most action-packed and ambitious season opener yet”.

The new season follows on from the Doctor Who Christmas special guest starring Katherine Jenkins and Michael Gambon which is due to premiere at Christmas. Season six will start airing on BBC AMERICA in spring 2011 and has been split into two blocks, with the second block airing in autumn 2011. By splitting the series Moffat plans to give viewers one of the most exciting Doctor Who cliffhangers and plot twists ever, leaving them waiting, on the edge of their seats, until the autumn to find out what happens.

2010 has been a breakthrough year for the Doctor Who franchise across all platforms since BBC AMERICA became the official home of the series. The series reached the number one spot on the “Top TV Seasons” chart on iTunes and now Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Season hits stores on Blu-ray and DVD on November 9.

Doctor Who was co-commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning for BBC One and Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One and will be produced by Marcus Wilson (Life on Mars) and Sanne Wohlenberg (Margaret). Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer (Sherlock Holmes) with Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, BBC Wales and Beth Willis (Ashes to Ashes), also Executive Producing.

Filming is taking place in Cardiff until March 2011.

Also, for those of you who are beside themselves waiting for the next season, here’s a short 2011 Doctor Who tease:

How excited are you for U.S. episodes of Doctor Who?

by Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

See more posts by Kevin Wicks