Doctor Who (BBC scifi serial, 1963-)


Story: Spearhead from Space
The first story featuring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor. A London Transport AEC Routemaster passes in the background in the scene where the Autons, disguised as shop dummies break the shop windows, come onto the street and start zapping passers-by! View a screen capture at Steve Hill's Dr Who Image Archive.
Unexpectedly I discovered a screen capture from this story of Dr Who (Jon Pertwee) next to an unidentified Birch Brothers single decker. Chris Brown's note that Birch Brothers supplied transport for the BBC's stars and extra for location filming may explain this, since as far as I know the scene is not in the broadcast story.
Story: Terror of the Autons
Story that marks the debut of Roger Delgado as The Master.
A 14 seat Bedford J2SZ10/Plaxton AYN41B is used by the Master. It was new to Worldwide of London SE5. but evidently had been sold on. (my spot, identification by Mike Lloyd):
Although shown in the USA in colour only a black and white version was retained by the BBC. It was then re-colourised recently. Apparently AYN41B also appears in the background in one scene in the story 'Inferno'.

Story: Delta and the Bannermen
Sylvester McCoy era story which features some truly awful special effects, but which I have always had a soft spot for myself. A space and time travelling tour bus is Bedford SB/Plaxton VWW361 in silver/blue livery. That's a space satellite wedged in its front grille:
A view of the unique Hellstrom Fireball engine of this heavily modified coach, 'capable of warp five with a tail wind':
In one sequence the boot lid slides up to reveal the rocket motors:
It is apparently blown up by the alien villains, however it's a special effect - see 'The Greatest Show in the Galaxy'. Also seen at the 1950s holiday camp (sadly not from the front) is a red/cream Bedford OB/Duple used to evacuate holidaymakers:
At the end of the story a group of tourists arrive on Leyland Tiger DGS625, which bears a board saying 'On hire to Skegness Glee Club'. It's a Tiger PS1/1 new in 1951 and bodied by the operator, McLennan of Spitalfield.

Story: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
VWW361 appears again here, this time in derelict condition painted in multi colours. (thanks to Steve Thoroughgood for corroboration of my observation). The vehicle was recorded in 1987 as owned by Pritchard of Anglesey (thanks Dave Farrier), but it's unclear where the BBC obtained it.

Story: Rose
Much-heralded (and brilliant) return of the Timelord in 2005 stars Christopher Ecclestone and Billie Piper. The opening episode features Sullivan Buses Leyland Titan T85 (CUL85V) and Routemaster RML2272 ( CUV272C); filming of them took place in Cardiff. Several other vehicles also appear in the London street scenes.
Two contrasting views of RML2272:
T85 at night amid special effects!
Other noted buses include RM324 (WLT324) of Sovereign and RML2539 (JJD539D) of London Central on Route 12.
The withdrawal of Routemasters from London bus routes make more significant these shots of an Arriva RML on 159 and a London General RML on 14 with others behind.
The night shots of London United's Volvo B7TL/Alexander operated 148 and Arriva's DAF DB250/Alexander-operated N159 routes exemplify the new order in London:
Baz King exclaims: "I can't believe it! I was on Dr Who!!!! I was driving [DAF DB250] DLA340 that night, and remember driving past and thinking 'Is that Billie Piper????'. It was, of course, Westminster Bridge! Amazing what happens to you on the night bus!" A companion documentary shown on BBC3 immediately after the first showing on BBC1 repeats some of the footage, describing how during filming on the bridge in London the crew waited some time to capture passing buses as part of the action. Also seen briefly in this night sequence is a passing articulated Mercedes Citaro.
Story: The Idiot's Lantern
A London-set episode shot in Cardiff - this is not a London bus, however. Matt Carroll identifies it as an all-Crossley DD42/5 new as Plymouth Corporation 335 (DJY965) in 1948, now preserved in South Wales.
Story: Army of Ghosts
Rose (Billie Piper) rides a scuffed-looking AEC Routemaster RML2701 (SMK701F):
Also seen is this Big Bus Company Dennis Condor:

Story: The Runaway Bride
The Christmas 2006 special features a brief appearance by Sullivan Buses EL04SUL:

Story: Turn Left
Unusual in that the Doctor hardly appears - companion Catherine Tate carries the story with the help of Billie Piper. The story looks at how a simple decision can lead to enormous changes in the universe. There's a flashback to 'The Runaway Bride' and Sullivan Buses EL04SUL:
...but part of what is a fairly grim episode involves displaced people travelling on a bus rather like that seen in the feature film 'Children of Men' - except this time the bus is Welsh rather than Irish. C43GKG, a Leyland Tiger/East Lancs, was new as Iswyn Borough Transport 43, but by this time owned by Chapmans Travel of Tonyrefail:

Story: Planet of the Dead
A highlight of the BBC's Easter 2009 schedule was this story featuring a bus ride to another planet, and starring three mostly identical Eastern Coachworks-bodied Bristol VRTSL3 doubledeckers. HJB655W was new as Alder Valley 655 in 1980, but had most recently been used by Hedingham Omnibuses before being supplied to BBC Wales via Ensign Bus in 2008. RUA461W was new as West Riding 911 in 1981 and had also made its way to Hedingham Omnibuses before being supplied to BBC Wales by Ensign Bus. When shipped to Dubai RUA461W was seriously damaged. Ensign supplied a third Hedingham Bristol VRTSL3, GGM84W, a 1980 bus new as Alder Valley 614.
James Denny confirms that he acquired HJB455W and GGM84W from the BBC: "HJB455W is complete whereas GGM84W had the roof removed and was used as a studio double for the damaged Dubai bus." HJB455W became a regular rally entrant in 2010.
The Doctor joins aristocratic cat burglar Lady Christina de Souza aboard a London bus which passes through a portal onto a planet on the far side of the galaxy. Their escape is made by flying the bus back through the portal in the nick of time before they and the other passengers can be killed by flying stingray-like creatures. Rip-roaring fun as usual, but the bus details are a little less than accurate.
As is customary, Cardiff doubles for London. The bus is a Bristol VRTSL3/Eastern Coachworks with standard National Bus Company-style interior. It would be boring to go through all the reasons why this doesn't look remotely like a London bus; the screencaps speak for themselves. Former Eastender Michelle Ryan is fresh from her stint playing opposite Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff in the remade 'Bionic Woman'. She makes an excellent foil for David Tennant's Doctor.
The show opens with Ryan's Lady Christina escaping from a robbery and boarding a bus. Note the bus carries the fictional and anachronistic registration plate W974GHM, much too new for a Bristol VRT!
She offers the driver diamonds; the Doctor follows her, his psychic paper in his wallet doubles as an Oyster card. The 1980s NBC destination screen is of course completely wrong for London; since it's Easter the Doctor is eating a chocolate egg.....
The police are chasing the bus, and it enters a tunnel, but the Doctor has divined that something is wrong:
The bus passes through a portal in space and arrives, heavily damaged, on a desert planet:
Initially Christina takes command, but she and the Doctor work together to find a way home. The engine is full of sand, meantime the Doctor 'phones home.
They set to work digging the wheels out of the sand; there's another view of the registration plate.
The group make their escape by flying the bus back through the portal (long story), just in front of the massive swarm of flying metal stingrays. Note though, that the bus now has registration RUA461W:
The bus passes through ther portal back to the tunnel in (Cardiff) London, where UNIT soldiers despatch the few stingrays that follow it:
On landing, the passengers disembark. The Doctor won't let Christina accompany him in his TARDIS (shame!), so she flies off in the bus instead:

Documentary: Doctor Who Confidential - Planet of the Dead
Companion show has 'making of' footage. Bristol VRTSL3 RUA461W was shipped to Dubai for the 'planet' shooting. Unfortunately a crane operator was less than careful, and RUA461W was hit by a swinging shipping container. The resulting damage forced a rewrite of the script:
HJB655W is seen outside the Cardiff studio still in Hedingham colours, and a shot of the front explains why the bus in the show is seen on route 200:

Story: The End of Time:
Also the end of David Tennant's tenure as The Doctor. A rivetting and emotional two-parter that sees John Simm return as The Master, and former Bond Timothy Dalton lead the Time Lords. And then there's Bernard Cribbins, who was first part of the Doctor Who story alongside Peter Cushing, AND comedy legend June Whitfield! This Iveco minibus Y67KDK appears in part 1:


Documentary: Doctor Who Confidential - The Time of Angels
An early episode in Matt Smith's time as The Doctor brings him face to face with the wonderfully scary Weeping Angels, first seen in the David Tennant story 'Blink' ('Don't Blink. Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. Good luck.'). It has to be said, though, that the Angels are considerably less scary when seen heading over from makeup for filming. But what's the Alexander-bodied 'decker in the background?

Story: Rosa:
Third episode in the 2018 reboot of the show starring Jodie Whittaker as the first woman Doctor portrays the Rosa Parks story.
In 1955 Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man aboard a bus of Montgomery City Lines of Montgomery, Alabama, breaking the existing segregation laws. Her arrest led to a boycott of the City Lines (the Montgomery Bus Boycott) which led to the removal of segregation and was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement. The bus in question was a 1948 GM 'Old Look', fleet number 2857.
The bus now preserved in the Henry Ford Musem in Dearborn, Michigan as the 'Rosa Parks Bus' is probably the original bus, but there is no doubt that it serves as a powerful symbol.
The bus used in this episode is a GM 'Old Look', but it's not THE Rosa Parks Bus; it's perhaps best described as a Rosa Parks Bus.
The opening scene evokes an incident in 1943, when a young Rosa Parks was told to get off the bus and re-enter by the separate door for blacks, only to have the bus drive off without her:
The bus itself is not well seen, despite appearing in many sequences. The episode was filmed in South Africa, which may explain what looks like a Bedford J2 in the background of some scenes:

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