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A funny thing happened on the way to the Tardis

06/04/2008. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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David Tennant heads 'up Pompeii' and climbs Mount Vesuvius in the latest Doctor Who Confidential episode. In this ep, Doctor Who Confidential steps out from behind-the-scenes to scale Mount Vesuvius in the bay of Naples; the active Doctor Who star ascends 4,200 feet to the summit of one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes.

"To be honest I'm quite excited at the prospect that it could blow at any second!" David told SFcrowsnest.com, "...it's quite life-affirming somehow!"

For this edition of BBC Three's show, David also takes a guided tour around the ancient archaeological site of Pompeii. Nearly 2,000 years after the devastating eruption, the excavations have unearthed in amazing detail the secrets of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. As he witnesses first-hand, many of the buried buildings are incredibly well preserved and shockingly so too are the bodies of those killed in the 79 AD disaster.

"We haven't really done this before. This is a massive event in history, and an event I think that children have always been fascinated by. I remember learning the story of Pompeii at a very young age and being thrilled by it," said head writer Russell T Davies.

"You see the shapes of their bodies and the way they ended their existence and you can grasp how appalling and shocking the terror of that moment was," explained David in the streets of Pompeii.

Broadcast on BBC Three on Saturday 12 April 2008, cameras also follow the Doctor Who crew to the Italian capital as they film the Time Lord's latest volcanic voyage at the Cinecitta Studios.

"Taking the production abroad was something we talked about a long time ago, and to come here actually to Rome is such a thrill," noted producer Phil Collinson.

But travelling the long road to Rome was far from straightforward for the Cardiff-based production team and Confidential was backstage every step of the 2,500 mile round trip. Late lorries, a tight schedule, a large cast of extras (including rabbits, donkeys and chickens!), complex CGI sequences and an eruption on an epic scale, all combined to make this shoot an Italian job of colossal proportions.

"I'm delighted that none of the organisation of moving an entire crew across Europe falls to me. I would imagine Phil had several sleepless nights... I certainly overheard the odd screaming phone call," David Tennant added.

Despite the logistical difficulties, the filming in Rome was a delight and Doctor Who Confidential was there to chart every twist in the cast and crew's adventures in Italy.

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