Set across all of time and space, with different worlds and characters each week, Doctor Who is a show where it should be impossible to reuse footage.
And yet, because certain characters and settings often recur, the team is able to repurpose the odd shot here and there.
Nine times out of ten it’s a budget decision. If, for instance, a shot is only going to appear for a matter of seconds, and there’s something in the archive that will do the job, it makes sense to reuse it.
It might seem lazy, but the alternative would be filming new footage, or creating a brand new CGI render. And as we all know, Doctor Who’s budget is far from infinite!
Besides, shot reuse, by its very nature, has to be done sparingly, and only as a last resort. As a result, the examples that do make it through are very brief, and often go unnoticed by the majority of viewers.
Every recent era has been guilty of footage reuse, and classic Who isn’t immune to it either. But most of the time, you’d honestly never have known.
10. TARDIS In Sheffield
Series 11 and 12 of revived Who were both based in Sheffield, but the show actually only filmed there twice.
The Woman Who Fell to Earth was Doctor Who’s most extensive Sheffield shoot, with scenes captured at the city’s iconic HTC crane site and Norton Water Tower. More central locations included Sheffield Interchange, and exteriors for Graham’s house.
For Arachnids in the UK the team returned to Graham’s house, and also shot at Yaz’s home at the Park Hill estate. One of the story’s defining images is of the TARDIS materialising outside this location (above left), and in fact, it was so memorable that they reused it twice in Series 12, so stories could be set in Sheffield without having to return.
The shot first reappeared at the start of Can You Hear Me?, with the TARDIS once again materialising (above right).
Then, at the end of Revolution of the Daleks, the shot turns up again. It’s a slightly wider angle, there’s added lens flare, and the TARDIS is static this time. But it’s undoubtedly from the same shoot.
You can hardly blame the crew for not wanting to lug the TARDIS all the way up to the Steel City for a single shot, and as it stands, this is a nice little easter egg that ensures these Sheffield-set stories feature at least some footage captured there.