Where is Doctor Who filmed? Filming location of BBC Easter special Legend of the Sea Devils set in South China

The Easter special will see the return of 70s baddies the Sea Devils

The Doctor and her companions are headed to the South China sea for a swashbuckling adventure with a classic Who foe.

The Easter special, Legend of the Sea Devils, is the penultimate episode to feature Jodie Whitaker as the Doctor and Chris Chibnall as the showrunner.

Legend of the Sea Devils is the first pirate episode of Doctor Who since the 11th Doctor’s outing in The Curse of the Black Spot more than a decade ago.

And while the special is set primarily in the tropical waters of the Orient, it certainly wasn’t filmed there.

The Sea Devils have been given a style change for their return

Where was the Doctor Who Easter special filmed?

The first two specials to be aired this year were filmed at the same time as the 13th season of the show, with the centrally specially filmed separately.

Shooting for the series was slated for September 2020 but delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ever heard of it?

When production did finally get going, like previous seasons of new Who, most filming took place in Wales.

This was the case for both the 13th season and the New Year’s Day and Easter specials.

Wales might sound like a strange stand-in for South China, but the Doctor Who production team have a knack for transforming inconspicuous locales into all manner of destinations.

Cardiff Bay is one of the locations used for the special - Mount Stuart Square has featured several times in Doctor Who, while both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Doctors have shot scenes at Eddie’s Diner.

Several scenes for season 13 and the Easter special were shot at Cardiff Bay

Roald Dahl Plass, also in the bay, was where Captain Jack Harness’s farewell in Last of the Time Lords (in which he hinted he was the Face of Boe) was filmed.

The Ianto Jones shrine, which commemorates the death of the Torchwood character, and is still there despite the character being killed off in 2009, is also found at Cardiff Bay.

Another shooting location for Legend of the Sea Devils was the village of Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.

The 2020 dark comedy film Eternal Beauty was also filmed in the quiet village.

If you’ve seen the trailer for the special you may have guessed that, owning to the many pirate ship scenes, much of the filming will have taken place in a studio rather than in the Irish Sea.

You would be right, many scenes were shot on a soundstage at Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff, which has been the home of Doctor Who production for years.

However, when Russell T. Davies returns as showrunner in 2023, he plans to move production to the nearby Bad Wolf Studios.

Where can I watch the Doctor Who Easter special?

Legend of the Sea Devils will air on BBC One on 17 April (Easter Sunday).

It will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer shortly after it is first broadcast.

All episodes of season 1-13 of Doctor Who, including the first Whitaker special, Eve of the Daleks, are available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.