The Doctor Who Companion

Get your daily fix of news, reviews, and features with the Doctor Who Companion!

The Doctor Who Location Tour: Terror of the Zygons

Where I live on the South Coast, Hayling Island to be precise, there aren’t a lot of Doctor Who locations nearby. So it’s very nice to occasionally find locations that were filmed near me. There have only been a few: The Sea Devils, Terror of the Zygons, Revelation of the Daleks, and The Mysterious Planet. Unfortunately, much of Revelation of the Daleks and The Mysterious Planet were filmed in Queen Elizabeth Country Park, and would be very, very hard to find the actual locations. Of course, The Mysterious Planet was also filmed at Butser Hill, so you can visit where the Tribe of the Free lived. And I don’t much fancy getting arrested trying to get into the Naval bases they used in The Sea Devils! But I was really surprised to find that Terror of the Zygons was filmed only a couple of bus journeys away from me…

Tulloch Moor is a pretty iconic village in Doctor Who; Terror of the Zygons was made during the time of Phillip Hinchcliffe’s horror influenced era and so the location of Charlton in Chichester makes a perfect location. There’s a country road you have to walk or drive down to get there and it’s nestled between two big hills. For people using the bus, if you get the bus to Chichester, then take the 60 to Midhurst and get off at the stop after Weald and Downland Museum, it’s about a 20-minute walk from the nearest bus stop. Don’t let that worry you though: you actually get there pretty quickly and as you get closer, and the silence encroaches around you, it’s not hard to imagine why this area was chosen as the perfect creepy village.

When you arrive, you’ll first notice the distinctive road that Zygon-Harry tries to run down, away from UNIT and Sarah Jane. I was astonished to find that virtually nothing had changed; it was made even better by the fact that the roads were still wet from the previous day’s rain and I had arrived early enough, at about 10am, that there was still a little mist on the ground and in the hills. It was like I had stepped back through time, exited in 1975, and filming was still underway. So much hadn’t changed that it wasn’t hard to imagine evil-Harry legging it towards me.

If you follow that road on down, and you’re really familiar with the story, you can also identify where the cameras would have been placed to capture the action, including a little nook between a house and a wall where the camera pans to the left to watch evil-Harry pelting down the lane; and where you first come into the village, is where evil-Harry would be charging at you. I believe the house on the left-hand side of the screen, with its distinctive white doors and boarded up windows is the back of a hotel. In 1975, this could have been a couple of houses and according to a photo on the Doctor Who Locations Guide website, a photo taken in 2008 has a hotel sign hanging overhead. That sign is gone now but the distinctive white doorways are still there.

A little further on down that road is the Fox Inn. In real life, it’s called The Fox Goes Free pub. In the programme, there is a wall wrapped around the outside with a entrance to the car park which we still the Duke of Forgill pull into when he drops the Fourth Doctor, Sarah, and the real Harry Sullivan off to meet up with UNIT and the Brigadier. Nowadays, the wall and the grass verge behind it have gone to allow for more seating space but it’s still easy to see all the different spaces used for filming, including the door that evil-Harry escapes out of when he scares Sarah. I wanted to go in and ask them if they knew anything about the filming, or indeed had kept any knick-knacks, but due to the early time I was there and the fact the pub was closed in the morning, I didn’t get the chance. I may make a trek there again in the new year so I’m planning on asking around!

If you stand on the opposite side of the road facing the pub, you can get a feel for where more scenes were shot. You can see the corner that Sarah and UNIT run past to follow the evil-Harry, though the wooden bus stop is gone, replaced by a metal pole with the travel information. If you are travelling by bus around there, I suggest taking the 20-minute walk back to the nearest bus stop as a small bus from the town only goes about every hour-and-a-half and looked so old and rickety that it really doesn’t look safe!

Also, opposite the pub is another area that was extensively used in the filming. That’s the side of the barns that we will see later. You can also see you’re in the right area thanks to the red phone box at the end of the road, also seen in the episode. But the dilapidated side door on the street side of the barn is still as visible now as it was in the television episode. It’s on the left-hand side of that road, almost next to the barn that we first see UNIT soldier’s marching past as the Duke of Forgill with his three passengers drives past.

On the opposite side of that road is a wall with a gate, which is where, after she meets evil-Harry, Sarah runs to get help, to a parked UNIT jeep with soldiers playing cards on the bonnet. They then run back up that road, past the pub and the area we see Harry leg it past with the two buildings on the side. This is where the location gets quite complicated because Charlton literally goes round in a loop, so if evil-Harry kept on following that loop, he would very quickly run up behind Sarah and UNIT who had only just taken off after him; he’d have very quickly bumped into them again!

Had evil-Harry kept on running in a straight line, he’d have found himself heading out of the village and away to freedom as the direction he runs is the way in and out of the area. However, he would turn immediately left and then left again, which allows us the view of the corner of a front garden. In 1975, it was a wooden fence that helps guide us to the proper location; nowadays, it’s a small wooden fence that allows us a better look at the corner that Sarah turns down and chases Harry.

Follow that road on down and turn around to look at where you’ve just come from: you’ll see the line of cottages with their chimneys in the background. This is the road where Sarah and UNIT stop to catch their breath before deciding to split up. The road that UNIT takes does still exist but, as no scenes were shot there, I didn’t follow it down — I think it also goes in a loop and joins back up onto the main road a little down the way. Sarah takes the right way through and turns left, following the route Harry has taken. This takes her past another field and, letting out another shout, she follows him towards the barns.

Harry stops by the field to look back at his pursuers and this allows us a chance to see where this small scene was filmed. The field behind him hasn’t changed too much, but you can pretty much get an exact spot thanks to a farmhouse with a distinctive chimney stack in the background. In the episode, Harry stops in front of a wooden fence and a small barn. Neither of them exists anymore; instead it’s been replaced with a metal fence and allows a view out onto the field that once stood behind the Zygon-Harry.

Harry would then continue down that road heading towards the barns. This where the infamous scene of him attacking Sarah with a pitchfork was filmed. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’re allowed inside as it’s a business now and there didn’t seem to be anyone else around. But I was able to walk into the courtyard area, which has had some restoration done to make them all habitable, so I was able to grab a photo of the outside of the barn Sarah follows Harry into.

Unfortunately, that’s all that was filmed in Charlton for Terror of the Zygons. It’s not a very large place at all and if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was taking plenty of pictures and filming a location tour for my YouTube channel, Who’s Watching, then I would have probably just done the one trip around. But I actually did quite a few loops around the village. Interacting with people I saw was quite amusing because they didn’t ask me what I was doing; they seemed to notice my Marvel bag and my camera in my hand and just sort of roll their eyes with an air of “Oh, it’s another one!” And it was so quiet everywhere; you couldn’t even hear the birds tweeting! It was literally like somewhere from a Hammer Horror film…

There are other locations around West Sussex that played host to filming Terror of the Zygons; unfortunately they were a little too far away and, on the day I went, there were dark clouds rolling in and I didn’t fancy getting stuck in the woods and hills in rain and wind — I didn’t fancy being the main star of my own horror film! But Charlton is the main location for the story anyway, so it was brilliant that it stayed nice and dry for me; someone must have been looking after me!

If you fancy taking in Charlton and then some other nearby locations then I would suggest Arundel, which stood in for Windsor in the Seventh Doctor story, Silver Nemesis, which is eight miles from Charlton.

Filming for Terror of the Zygons took place there for one day, 25th March 1975, but everything looks exactly as it did back then. If you were ever looking for a picture-postcard, quintessentially sleepy English village, then Charlton certainly ticks all those boxes. Walking around in the peace and quiet, it’s not hard to see why the BBC production team chose the area to become Tulloch Moor; and it’s certainly not hard to imagine the Zygons plotting their takeover of our world here. In fact, who’s to say I am actually Jordan writing this now? I might have been taken and swapped with a Zygon…

Jordan Shortman

The Doctor Who Location Tour: Terror of the Zygons

by Jordan Shortman time to read: 7 min
%d bloggers like this: