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Campfire trailer
Client BBC Wales
Product Doctor Who series 4
Agency Red Bee Media
Directed by Richard Senior
Production company Red Bee Media
Produced by Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Matt Scarff
Starring David Tennant
Catherine Tate
Music by Murray Gold
Release date(s) 22 March 2008 (teasers)
29 March 2008 (trailer)
Running time 40 seconds
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Official website

The Doctor Who campfire trailer is a forty-second television trailer which promoted the fourth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. Filmed on one day in a studio, it stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the fourth series lead actors: the Tenth Doctor and his companion Donna Noble. The trailer was produced alongside three thematically similar but separate teaser trailers. The teaser trailers premiered in cinemas and on BBC One on 22 March 2008,[1] and the full trailer premiered on BBC Online on 29 March 2008.[2]



The forty-second trailer features Donna Noble, portrayed by comedienne Catherine Tate, sitting over a camp fire, talking about "creatures of metal, fire, and blood" threatening the universe as shots of the Daleks, Sontarans, and the Ood come into view. She talks about a man called the Doctor (David Tennant), who is portrayed in fleeting glimpses until his name is mentioned, who constantly saves the universe from these threats. Donna ends her narration by saying the Doctor will be back to save them and she will be ready to join him. The trailer ends with the Doctor and Donna simultaneously saying "and just like that, we'll be gone."

The ten-second teaser trailers simply contain "crowd multiplication" computer-generated shots of the aforementioned aliens.


Donna is portrayed by Catherine Tate, the main star of the campfire trailer

In a brief to the formerly BBC-owned Red Bee Media, the trailer was intended to re-introduce Donna and emphasise that her relationship to the Doctor was purely platonic, and that the new series would be "bigger and better" than previously. As trailers for series four were also aired in cinemas, creative head Matt Scarff and director Richard Senior decided to take parallels to the positively reviewed cinema advertisement to "Voyage of the Damned", consisting of iconic shots of the antagonists in the series and a serious tone.[3]

Donna's leading role in "The Runaway Bride" allowed the production team to focus on her status of an everyday person to explain her perception of the Doctor: a magical stranger who always appeared at the time of need. Senior based Donna's perception of the Doctor on the perception of the criminal mastermind Keyser Söze in the film The Usual Suspects:[3]

Keyser Söze is probably one of the most legendary, most mysterious, and coolest characters in modern cinema, and I didn't think associating the Doctor with those characteristics would do any harm.
Richard Senior.[3]

The script Senior developed with Doctor Who executive producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner specified the use of a camp fire; Senior felt it would be the most adequate image for Donna "telling the legend of the Doctor". The setting would allow the three antagonists eventually used—the Daleks, the Ood, and the Sontarans—to appear to come out of the flames to create a sense of hyperrealism, while building suspense in the trailer by showing the Doctor in fleeting glimpses before his full appearance. Inspiration came from the use of scene transitions in the James Bond film series.[3]

Filming and production

Filming took place entirely on 12 March 2008 at the Upper Boat Studios in Upper Boat, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales, (51°34′33″N 3°18′00″W / 51.575763°N 3.3°W / 51.575763; -3.3 (BBC Studios, Upper Boat)Coordinates: 51°34′33″N 3°18′00″W / 51.575763°N 3.3°W / 51.575763; -3.3 (BBC Studios, Upper Boat)) double-banked with location filming for "The Stolen Earth"; the filming for the fourth series trailers were scheduled so that it would not interfere with Tennant and Tate's filming for the series finale. The trailer was filmed entirely on greenscreen, with the separate characters scheduled to record after each other: Tennant recorded from 11am to 1pm; Tate recorded from 1pm to 3pm; and the antagonists were filmed from 3pm until 9pm. The material was recorded in high-definition resolution so that the special effects would have a greater resolution; the trailer itself was transmitted in standard-definition. Editing for the trailer took place over two weeks, before being completed on the day before its transmission.[3]

Theatrical release

The trailer was part of an advertising campaign which saw trailers released in front of the films Cloverfield, Juno, Rambo and There Will Be Blood, in early 2008 Odeon, Cineworld and Empire cinemas.[4][5][6][7][8] The theatrical release of trailers for the fourth series was part of a test agreement between the BBC and Carlton Screen Advertising for promotion of BBC content in cinemas.[4]


  1. ^ Hilton, Matt (22 March 2008). "Series Four Trailer". The Doctor Who News Page (Outpost Gallifrey). Retrieved 18 April 2009.  
  2. ^ Hilton, Matt (29 March 2008). "New Series Four Trailer". The Doctor Who News Page (Outpost Gallifrey). Retrieved 18 April 2009.  
  3. ^ a b c d e Pixley, Andrew (14 August 2008). "Series Four Trailer". Doctor Who Magazine (Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics) The Doctor Who Companion: Series 4 (Special Edition 20): pp 140.  
  4. ^ a b Davidson, Darren (1 February 2008). "BBC launches cinema push to back Doctor Who". Brand Republic. Retrieved 21 April 2009.  
  5. ^ BBC Press Office (1 February 2008). "Doctor Who hits the big screen". Retrieved 10 October 2009.  
  6. ^ "New Doctor Who trailer hits cinemas". Total Sci-Fi Online. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2009.  
  7. ^ Ben Rawson-Jones (1 February 2008). "'Doctor Who' trailer premieres in UK cinemas". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 October 2009.  
  8. ^ "New Dr Who series trailer hits big screen". South Wales Echo. 2 February 2008.  

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