Doctor Who in Sheffield – how city’s starring role has ‘ignited a new wave of tourism’

Jodie Whittaker has earned rave reviews as the 13th Time Lord, but for many viewers the real star of this latest series of Doctor Who has been Sheffield.

From the iconic Park Hill flats and towering cranes at Wincobank to the rolling countryside of the Peak District, the city has featured prominently in the hit BBC show.

Sheffield has featured prominently in the latest series of Doctor Who (pic: BBC/Ben Blackall)

Sheffield has featured prominently in the latest series of Doctor Who (pic: BBC/Ben Blackall)

Sheffielders have enjoyed watching the Doctor and her friends explore familiar sights, and seeing the new Sonic Screwdriver forged from Sheffield steel, but the series has also highlighted the region’s many charms to the programme’s huge global following.

READ MORE: Doctor Who’s Tardis was outside Sheffield Railway Station this morning and this is why

Tourist chiefs say the city is already reaping the benefits as sci-fan fans flock to see the locations where the series was filmed, and that influx could be worth as much as £1.5 million to the local economy.

Paul Brown, divisional director at Vine Hotels and Mosborough Hall Hotel, said: “Who would have thought a blue phone box could have such impact on a city? But when the Tardis landed in Sheffield, its effect was incredible.

The cast of Doctor Who at the premiere in Sheffield (pic: Dave Johnson)

The cast of Doctor Who at the premiere in Sheffield (pic: Dave Johnson)

“Filming Doctor Who in the city has ignited a new wave of leisure guests, and Vine Hotels is seeing early signs of growth in the numbers of fans looking to make a weekend break in Sheffield touring the sites and places used as part of the time traveller’s escapades.

READ MORE: Huge queues in Sheffield city centre as fans wait for Doctor Who premiere

“The potential to grow the levels of guests who look to follow in the Doctor’s footsteps is strong, not just for Vine Hotels but for the region.

“As a destination we are in a great place to take advantage of the publicity that the show has created around Sheffield, and deliver a boost to the region’s tourism economy.

The Park Hill flats are among the Sheffield landmarks to have featured in the latest series of Doctor Who (pic: BBC/Ben Blackall)

The Park Hill flats are among the Sheffield landmarks to have featured in the latest series of Doctor Who (pic: BBC/Ben Blackall)

“Other counties and cities have done this with great success. Whilst Cornwall may have experienced the Poldark effect to boost tourist numbers, Sheffield has the Doctor on its side!”

READ MORE: ‘Only idiots carry knives:’ New Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker delivers anti-knife message in Sheffield episode

Alexis Krachai, chairman of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce's Visitor Economy Forum, claimed there was ‘great potential' to capitalise on the global exposure Doctor Who has given the city.

As well as attracting more tourists, he said it was a great advert to other filmmakers about the incredible talent and diverse locations available in Sheffield.

Kirsty Sanderson, of Manor Top, with her children Finn, aged three, and Phoebe, aged seven

Kirsty Sanderson, of Manor Top, with her children Finn, aged three, and Phoebe, aged seven

“Doctor Who is one of the BBC’s most valuable brands. It’s a cultural export which resonates worldwide,” he said.

“This season has been really focused on Sheffield, with episodes one and four in particular really showcasing the city, and there’s obviously great potential to attract more visitors on the back of that.

“Lots of people will choose to visit somewhere because they’ve seen it in a movie or TV show. Just think about the impact The Full Monty had.

“We also need to make sure we’re seen by production companies and location scouts as a city which is photogenic and where they can shoot to a high quality.

“If we can let filmmakers know Sheffield is open for business,  the city will be appearing on many more TV shows and films.”

Mr Krachai said it was hard to estimate the financial boost Doctor Who might bring to Sheffield but if just 0.01 per cent of the show’s 100 million viewers worldwide chose to pay a visit, and each spent £150, it would be worth £1.5 million.

Jodie Whittaker has proved popular with fans and critics alike as the latest incarnation of the Doctor (pic: BBC/Ben Blackall)

Jodie Whittaker has proved popular with fans and critics alike as the latest incarnation of the Doctor (pic: BBC/Ben Blackall)

Doctor Who has certainly created a buzz on Sheffield’s streets, generating pride and excitement among fans spotting familiar landmarks on their favourite show.

Kirsty Sanderson, 32, of Manor Top, said: “I’ve watched it for about 20 years and it’s great to see so many places I recognise in this series, especially the Park Hill flats.

“It’s particularly nice to see Sheffield painted in a positive light on TV, which isn’t always the case, and to have a Doctor with a Yorkshire accent.

“It’s bound to drive more tourism because fans will want to see where their favourite scenes were filmed.”

David Booth, 66, of Fulwood, said: “Anything which brings Sheffield to people's attention has to be a good thing. It’s a diverse and multicultural city which already attracts lots of visitors, but this will boost its profile.”

Daniel Adams, a 26-year-old bar tender, of Hackenthorpe, said: “It’s good to see all the Sheffield locations like the Park Hill flats and the bus station, and to hear the Yorkshire accents, because it helps you relate more to the show.

“I’m sure it will bring more people to the city like The Full Monty did. Maybe they could create a Doctor Who trail to help visitors find their way around the different filming locations.”

Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for business and investment, said the show was not just advertising Sheffield’s landmarks to a wider audience, but was showcasing many of the values on which the city prides itself.

“Since working with the BBC during the production of Doctor Who series 11 we’ve been watching each episode and have been delighted that each one features a specific reference to Sheffield – talking about the characters’ lives here and even referring to the people’s republic of South Yorkshire in Kerblam.

“Watching the excitement unfold in the very first episode was a very proud moment for Sheffielders. The episode had the highest number of series launch viewers the BBC has seen for Doctor Who, with millions watching across the globe.

“As the series has gone on, we’ve seen all the characters show the attributes we associate with Sheffield, a sense of strength and social justice which runs through our city.”

Daniel Adams, 26, of Hackenthorpe, in front of the Sheffield police box which is referenced in the new series of Doctor Who

Daniel Adams, 26, of Hackenthorpe, in front of the Sheffield police box which is referenced in the new series of Doctor Who

Bradley Walsh as Graham in the new series of Doctor Who, much of which was shot in Sheffield (pic: BBC/Henrik Knudsen)

Bradley Walsh as Graham in the new series of Doctor Who, much of which was shot in Sheffield (pic: BBC/Henrik Knudsen)

David Booth, 66, of Fulwood

David Booth, 66, of Fulwood