Doctor Who

The Doctor has travelled from one end of time to the other and visited countless alien worlds along the way, none more so than our own fair planet Earth. From the early adventures right through to the present day, churches have been used for contemporary story settings, backdrops for exciting action scenes and doubling up as other fictional locations.


Thirteenth Doctor

The Woman Who Fell to Earth / Thirteenth Doctor / Jodie Whittaker

'We don't get aliens in Sheffield.' On one night in Sheffield, lives are changed for ever as a mysterious woman, unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky. The story focuses on a group of people who come across a new alien threat and find themselves banding together with the recently regenerated Doctor. They discover that the recently arrived aliens are planning a hunt upon a single human, leading the Doctor to coordinate an attempt to save everyone from danger.

When the TARDIS finally materialises it is outside the iconic Park Hill flats. In the background is the spire of St John's, one of the original six churches built by the Sheffield Church Burgesses.

St John the Evangelist, Sheffield

Twelfth Doctor

The Zygon Invasion / Twelfth Doctor / Peter Capaldi

A long time ago, the Doctor made a deal in the Tower of London. 20 million Zygons walk among us in human form, living undetected in peace and harmony. But cracks are showing in this delicate peace; humans and Zygons are disappearing. In city apartment blocks lifts are going missing and, far below the streets of Britain, alien pods are growing in secret caverns.

The cast filmed a scene at St Catherine’s church hall, near Cardiff, involving Zygons who had just invaded. They used the hall because it reminded them of the interior of an Azerbaijani church, part of the plot for this episode.

St Catherine, Pontcanna

Eleventh Doctor

Cold Blood / Eleventh Doctor / Matt Smith

It's 2020, and the most ambitious drilling project in history has reached deeper beneath the Earth's crust than man has ever gone before. But now the ground itself is fighting back. The eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive in a tiny mining village in the Rhondda Valley and find themselves plunged into a battle against a deadly danger from a bygone age.

The church and its graveyard feature heavily in the opening scenes for this episode and later on, when the Doctor and his friends find themselves under siege from the Silurians, they take shelter within the church.

St Gwynno, Llanwynno

Tenth Doctor

The End of Time / Tenth Doctor / David Tennant

It is the tenth Doctor's final journey but his psychotic nemesis, the Master, has been resurrected on Christmas Eve! Each determined to cheat death, the battle rages from the abandoned wastelands of London to the mysterious Immortality Gate, whilst the alien Ood warn of an even greater danger approaching, as a terrible shadow falls across the entire universe.

St Mary’s, near Cardiff, is used in the closing montage of shots as the Doctor pays one last visit to his friends before his regeneration takes place. He’s here to watch companion Donna get married and to leave a lucky lottery ticket as a wedding gift.

St Mary, Marshfield

Ninth Doctor

Fathers Day / Ninth Doctor / Christopher Eccleston

Pete Alan Tyler, father of Rose and husband of Jackie, died on 7 November 1987, the day of Stuart Hoskins and Sarah Clark's wedding. Rose was just a baby at the time and Jackie told the young Rose that nobody was there for Pete, so when she met the Doctor naturally she wanted to go back in time and meet her father.

This church in Cardiff features as the central plot point for the wedding, with the Doctor sheltering everyone inside when the time reapers attack. Several scenes are shot both inside and around the grounds, with the TARDIS memorably materialising in the centre of the church towards the end of the episode.

St Paul, Grangetown

War Doctor

The Day of the Doctor / War Doctor / John Hurt

It's the Doctor’s darkest hour. In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London's National Gallery; in 1562 a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. He must join forces with his past incarnations to save all of reality but first, just a small matter of escaping the Tower of London.

Whilst they don’t actually visit the chapel it can be seen in the background, and in Elizabethan London it would have been the site of several recent high profile burials.

Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London

Eighth Doctor

The TV Movie / Eighth Doctor / Paul McGann

The Doctor, nearing the end of his seventh life, is charged with transporting the remains of his fellow Time Lord, the Master, back to their home planet. Despite his precautions, his old enemy is not only not dead, but is out for revenge!

The majority of this episode is set in America, but the Houses of Parliament are glimpsed very briefly as the world ends and they are sucked into the eye of harmony. Can the Doctor save the day and reverse time!

St Mary Undercroft, Westminster

Seventh Doctor

The Curse of Fenric / Seventh Doctor / Sylvester McCoy

The TARDIS materialises at a secret naval base off the coast of Northumberland during the Second World War. Dr Judson, a scientist there, has created the Ultima Machine, an early computer designed to break German codes. The base's Commander Millington plans to let a Russian commando unit led by Captain Sorin steal the machine's core, which he has booby trapped with deadly toxin.

This story revolves around an ancient being that has been buried in the catacombs beneath the local church and its followers trying to restore it to life. The church used is actually in Kent, and in the story has a vicar who bears more than a passing resemblance to Nicholas Parsons!

St Laurence, Hawkhurst

Sixth Doctor

Attack of the Cybermen / Sixth Doctor / Colin Baker

While trying to fix the TARDIS’s chameleon circuit, the Doctor returns to the place where his adventures began, Foreman’s junk yard on Totters Lane, London. For the first time in the show’s history the TARDIS materialises in a different shape to blend in with its surroundings. But, the Doctor hasn’t quite got it right and it appears cunningly disguised as a church organ! Meanwhile the Cybermen are busy plotting to alter the course of history by crashing Halley’s Comet into earth!

Near to where this junkyard scene was filmed you can find St Saviours and while the church doesn’t feature directly in the episode it does contain a very similar looking church organ. Coincidence?

St Saviour, Wendell Park

Fifth Doctor

The Awakening / Fifth Doctor / Peter Davison

The Doctor, with his companions Tegan and Turlough, arrive in Little Hodcombe. In a derelict church the townspeople's reenactments of English Civil War battles are causing a dormant entity, the Malus, to reawaken.

The church and grounds are used extensively in this episode but all is not as it seems. The lych gate was actually a prop, not part of this Dorset church itself, and there is an outtake of a horse knocking this model gate over!

St Bartholomew, Shapwick

Fourth Doctor

The Android Invasion / Fourth Doctor / Tom Baker

The Doctor and Sarah find themselves in the English village of Devesham near a Space Defence Station. The village seems deserted, the telephones don't work, calendars are stuck on the same date and white suited figures are wandering about aimlessly. Who are the Kraals and what are their plans for Earth?

This Oxfordshire church provides a brief backdrop to a scene where the Doctor is rescued by Sarah Jane after being tied to the market square cross by the mysterious Kraals.

St Andrew, East Hagbourne

Third Doctor

The Daemons / Third Doctor / Jon Pertwee

The Master, posing as a rural vicar, summons a cloven hoofed demon in a church crypt. Seeking to gain the ancient titan's demonic power, he gathers a cult and then corrupts or controls the residents of Devil's End village to bow to his will. With the Master fully prepared to destroy the Earth, the Doctor and UNIT must battle the wicked rites of a secret science wielded by an alien from another world.

Aldbourne church was the central location for this classic 70s story. Several scenes were shot in and around the church, including the memorable battle between the UNIT soldiers and a rather lively gargoyle that’s come to life!

St Michael, Aldbourne

Second Doctor

The Invasion / Second Doctor / Patrick Troughton

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe return to Earth and become embroiled in the schemes of Tobias Vaughn. They meet up with an old friend, Colonel (now Brigadier) Lethbridge-Stewart, and some old enemies, the Cybermen who emerge from their sewer hideout to begin their invasion of Earth.

St Paul’s Cathedral is used in this episode as the backdrop to the deadly Cybermen walking down the steps as they emerge from the sewers. This iconic scene was recreated fifty years later by the twelfth Doctor and the latest Cyberman as they begin yet another invasion.

St Paul’s Cathedral, City of London

First Doctor

The Smugglers / First Doctor / William Hartnell

The TARDIS arrives on the coast of 17th century Cornwall much to the astonishment of the Doctor’s companions Polly and Ben. Pirates led by Captain Samuel Pike and his henchman Cherub are searching for a hidden treasure, while a smuggling ring masterminded by the local squire is trying to offload contraband.

The Cornish church in this story is used as a hideout by the Doctor’s assistants after they run away after being falsely accused of the murder of the churchwarden. They hide here until the final climatic battle between the titular smugglers and the renegade pirates.

St Grada, Ruan Minor

Become a Friend of the National Churches Trust, for people who love church buildings!