US science-fiction fans have descended on Utah's Monument Valley to catch sight of the stars of an iconic British science-fiction TV drama series.
The iconic series, Doctor Who, is filming in the US for the first time in its 47-year history, and American fans have been arriving in their droves to watch the action and collect autographs of the actors.
Doctor Who stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Smith is the eleventh actor to play the Doctor, and Gillan and Darvill play his current companions, Amy and Rory. The two-part adventure – which has been written by the show's head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat – is set in 1960's America. The trio arrive in the desert after receiving a secret summons from the Oval Office.
The BBC have recently confirmed that returning to the series in these episodes will be the mysterious Professor River Song – played by the ER favourite, Alex Kingston. According to What's On TV, rumour has it that her character "may have somehow been involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, although Doctor Who's executive producer Steven Moffat has yet to confirm [this]".
Before heading off to the US, Smith talked to Doctor Who Magazine: "The first stop for the Doctor in 2011 is the Utah desert – and I can't wait."
And, speaking to theSalt Lake Tribune of the area they are now filming in, he said:
It’s an iconic piece of America – I’m thinking John Ford and Forrest Gump.
It says a lot for the scope and ambition of this particular [season] that we’re doing. It lays down our mark about how epic we want this particular [season] to feel.
Meanwhile, Director of the Utah Film Commission, Marshall Moore, confirmed to the Tribune that the Doctor Who production team had started scouting US locations – including Mount Rushmore – in September this year, settling on the look of the American West.
Earlier this week, Smith made a widely anticipated appearance on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and today's UK Sun reports thatWhomania has well and truly hit the States. "The Doctor causes desert fever as Who star Matt Smith is mobbed while filming in Utah in the US," the paper says.
Fans watching the filming as it took place, formed an orderly group and held up a placard that read "Autograph Please". At one point, to their delight, the actors came over to have their photos taken with them – and an extensive set of pictures can be viewed at Gallifrey Base.
A previous Doctor Who story – Dalek (2005), by Robert Shearman, and starring Christopher Eccleston (Accused), as the ninth Doctor, and Billy Piper (Secret Diary of a Call Girl) and Bruno Langley (Coronation Street) as his companions, Rose Tyler and Adam Mitchell – was also set in Utah. On that occasion, however, the whole storyline was set in an underground bunker and filmed in the UK, in Cardiff, Wales!