Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown - Blink

To celebrate the fact that 2013 is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, we are taking a look back at all of the episodes of the show which featured David Tennant as the Doctor. At the end of our look back we'll be asking you, the fans, to vote for what you think is the ultimate David Tennant episode of Doctor Who....

We continue with the next David Tennant episode.... The Family Of Blood
Read our previous Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown posts here.

25. Blink

First Broadcast on 9th June 2007. Running Time: 45 Minutes. Viewing Figures: 6.62million.
Written By Steven Moffat.
Directed By Hettie MacDonald.
Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner. Rating: 10/10.


In an old, abandoned house, the Weeping Angels wait, as Russell T Davies' Doctor Who continues. However, when people start disappearing, a young woman called Sally finds cryptic messages bleeding through from 1969 – messages from a mysterious stranger called the Doctor. But can she decipher them before the Angels claim their prize?

Extras: Promotional Photos | Videos | Articles | On Set Photos

Production Notes:
Steven Moffat wrote Blink after offering to take on the 'Doctor Lite' episode of the series due to previous work commitments on his series Jekyll.  Russell T Davies has previously asked him to pen the Dalek two parter, Daleks In Manhattan and Evolution Of The Daleks, but time constraints meant he was unable to do so. Moffat also rejected Davies' plans for an alternative two part story for the same reasons.

The addition of the Christmas special to the series forced the cast and crew to "double bank" episodes. This means that they were filiming a single episode at the same time as filming a two part episode. Because of this David Tennant and Freema Agyeman were only able to play small roles in the episode, hence the phrase Doctor Lite. Love & Monsters had fulfilled the 2006 series Doctor Lite role with David Tennant and Billie Piper appearing briefly in the story that was headed by Marc Warren and Peter Kay.
The majority of Blink was filmed whilst David Tennant and Freema Agyeman were busy filming the previous two parter Human Nature and The Family Of Blood and so the lead character in the story was Sally Sparrow played by Carey Mulligan.

To help speed up his script Moffat decided he would base the episode on a short story he had previously written for the Doctor Who 2006 Annual (Published by Panini in 2005). The story was called "What I Did On My Christmas Holidays By Sally Sparrow" and was about a 12 year old girl who discovered hidden messages on her wall underneath her wallpaper, on videos and in photos. The messages had been left by the Doctor who was stuck in 1985 without his TARDIS. He needs Sally's help to get the TARDIS back to him. As the plot of this story already featured more of Sally than the Doctor, Moffat decided to work on this further and began his script for Sally Sparrow And The Weeping Angels as it was then called.

Deciding that children prefer to watch people older than themselves in adventures Moffat decided to make Sally an adult. He also created the Weeping Angels to create a danger that the original tale had lacked. The Doctor and Martha were then transported even further back in time to 1969 to make the aging of Billy seem more dramatic. Moffat originally intended to have Sally appearing pregnant at the end of the episode but he eventually decided to delay her romance with Larry until after she had finally met up with the Doctor.

The episode was originally supposed to form part of Production Block Six but was moved into Five. The director, Hettie MacDonald, had previously worked on series such as Poirot, Casualty and the film Beautiful Thing and was the first female director on a Doctor Who episode since Sarah Hellings had directed The Mark Of The Rani featuring Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor. Russell T Davies later noted that MacDonald had created some of the most stunning visuals seen on the series.

Moffat eventually decided to ditch the rather long winded title Sally Sparrow And The Weeping Angels for the rather shorter and snappier Blink. He then had to trawl through his script adding as many references to the word as he could. And so the famous 'Don't blink!' catchpharse was born.

The first scene for Blink that was completed was the Doctor's hologram, this was filmed at Upper Boat on 7th November 2006. Filming then stopped until it began properly on 20th November with scenes at the police station being shot at the old Westminster Bank and on West Bute Dock. Some footage was also filmed in a local pub, but this was edited from the final episode.
The following day (21st November) the cast and crew headed to the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay to film scenes in the police garage and for the DVD easter eggs. The 22nd November saw the scenes in Billy's hospital ward filmed at the Caerphilly Miner's Hospital.

The team had manged to locate a derelict house on Field Park Road in Newport to serve as Wester Drumlins. The cast and crew spent three days there (23rd -25th November) and conditions were not exactly comfortable due to the dilapidated state of the building and grounds. Very little had to be done to dress the house and it was left pretty much the way the crew found it. Moffat later said that it was the creepiest house he had ever been in.

On 27th November filming took place at Oddverse Cafe in Newport for the cafe scenes and then moved to the record shop Diverse Vinyl which became the DVD shop. The shop was redressed and staged as the DVD shop and then redone the next day as Sparrow And Nightingale. Filming for Billy's arrival in 1969 then took place at Charterist Tower in Newport.

On 29th November filming took place at St Woolos Cemetry in Newport for the graveyard scene and then the cast and crew headed back to Field Park Road for more shots to be taken at the house. 

Scenes in Kathy's apartment were filmed in early December at Llanfair Road in Pontcanna. Then it was back to the studios at Upper Boat to film Sally and Larry's scenes in the TARDIS.
On December 9th Kathy's 1920s scenes were recorded up at Cwm Ifor Farm near Caerphilly.

Filming concluded on 9th January with various inserts being shot at Upper Boat.

During recording of the episode David Tennant interviewed the cast and crew for his directorial debut in an episode of Doctor Who Confidential. 

An amusing scene that was cut from the episode featured Sally finding the message on the wall whilst scary horror film style music played, it then turned out that it was Sally's mobile ringtone ringing as her friend Kathy called her from the pub.
Also cut was a scene were Larry said that he regularly checked to make sure the Weeping Angels were still petrified. 

The Almost Companion:
Sally Sparrow was an amateur photographer with an eye for anything old and decrepit , she snuck in to Wester Drumlins, an old abandoned house in London, to take photos of the place. Whilst there she was amazed to find a message behind some wallpaper that was written in 1969 by someone calling himself the Doctor. The message warned her about The Weeping Angels. Sally returned to the house the next day with her friend Kathy Nightingale, but they were interrupted by the arrival of a man with a letter for Sally. Just as the man identified himself to Sally as Kathy's Grandson, Sally turned to see that Kathy had disappeared. Whilst searching for Kathy Sally found a key in the hand of one of the angel statues. The letter purported to be from Kathy and said that she had been transported back in time to the 1920s by the Weeping Angels. 
Kathy's brother Larry discovered he had some DVDs with a bizarre one way conversation from  the man who was calling himself the Doctor. He told Sally that his half of the conversation had been hidden on 17 DVDs and gave her a list of their titles. 
Deciding that she should report Kathy's disappearance to the Police, Sally met up with DI Billy Shipton, the officer who was in charge of investigating various missing people from Wester Drumlins. Billy showed Sally a number of old cars, all of which had been abandoned at the old house, their drivers had all vanished. Amongst the cars was an old fashioned Police Box. 
As Sally left she began to wonder if the key she had found in the hand of the Angel would fit the Police Box, but when she returned to the car pound she discovered that Billy had now vanished too, only to call her minutes later from a hospital, where he was 40 years older and dying.
Sally realised that the 17 discs containing the Doctor's one way conversation were in fact the 17 DVDs that she owned. With Larry she returned to Wester Drumlins and discovered that the messages were actually a two way conversation between herself and the Doctor about the Weeping Angels. 
The Angels attacked Sally and Larry but they made their way to the TARDIS which dematerialised around them and left the Weeping Angels trapped. 
A year later Sally and Larry had set up a shop together, but still the mystery remained - why had the Doctor chosen her to be the one he made contact with? Then by chance she saw the Doctor and Martha, who both had no idea who she was. Sally gave the Doctor all her notes realising that she was setting off a chain of events that would lead to what had already happened. Sally was then able to resume her normal life with Larry.

Heart Of Stone:
The Weeping Angels are time-sensitive killers, as old as the universe, who thrived on chronon energy. They would send their victims back in time just by touching them, to live their lives in a different time zone, and the Angels would feed on the potential time energy created by the vanishing people's preordained lives being disturbed.
Once known as the Lonely Assasins, because they could never touch anything without sending it back in time, they could only move and attack if they weren't being observed; if they were seen, they immediately became quantum locked and froze in to solid stone. They could cross vast distances in the time it took their victim to blink. The Doctor used the unwitting Sally Sparrow to trap them - when Sally and her friend Larry accessed the TARDIS, the Angels gathered around it, hoping to feed of it's energy, but the Doctor had pre set a dematerialisation sequence, meaning that it vanished around Sally and Larry. Caught off guard the Angels were all left looking at each other when the TARDIS vanished and so the four of them were frozen for eternity, unable to close their eyes and unable to not see one another.


The Doctor: Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. Good Luck.

The Doctor: People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but  actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.

Kathy Nightingale: What did you come here for anyway?
Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy Nightingale: What's good about sad?
Sally Sparrow: It's happy for deep people.

Larry Nightingale: "The angels have the phonebox," that's my favourite, I've got that on a T-shirt.

In our universe, The Hull Times has only been Hull's Hometown Newspaper since 1930. Though that's Hull in the USA, of course!
Many DVDs, including a large number of the classic Doctor Who releases, have Easter Eggs on them. However, the Doctor's message to Sally hasn't featured on any of them. Yet.
On average, it takes between 300-400 milliseconds to blink. Depending on the circumstances, a human blinks between 3 and 30 times a minute. If confronted by a Weeping Angel, the time endured without blinking can be increased significantly.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was first broadcast in 1969 - the year that the Doctor, Martha and Billy were transported to by the Weeping Angels.
In addition to the Weeping Angels, the Doctor has encountered a number of other creatures which are nearly as old as the universe itself. These include the Carrionites (The Shakespeare Code), the Racnoss (The Runaway Bride), and Fenric (The Curse of Fenric). Not one of them has been friendly.
Although the Doctor only appears briefly in Blink, in the early years of the classic series there were episodes where he didn't appear at all! The Doctor is entirely absent from The Keys of Marinus parts 3 and 4, Mission to the Unknown and The Massacre parts 2 and 3.

  • David Tennant - The Doctor
  • Freema Agyeman - Martha Jones
  • Carey Mulligan - Sally Sparrow
  • Kathy Nightingale - Lucy Gaskell
  • Larry Nightingale - Finlay Robertson
  • Malcolm Wainwright - Richard Cant
  • DI Billy Shipton - Michael Obiora
  • Old Billy - Louis Mahoney
  • Ben Wainwright - Thomas Nelstrop
  • Banto - Ian Boldsworth
  • Desk Sargeant - Ray Sawyer