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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 49 - In the Studio > Bigger on the Inside

Bigger on the Inside

A draftsman from the Doctor Who art department reveals how some of the Riverside Studios sets for The Tenth Planet were recreated at Cardiffs Roath Lock…
Matt Sanders on the set of the First Doctors TARDIS in Twice Upon a Time (2017). One of the original Ottoman candlesticks is in the background.

As a long-term fan of Doctor Who, it was exciting for me to read the script of the 2017 Christmas Special Twice Upon a Time and realise that we would be recreating some sets from the 1966 story The Tenth Planet. The script called for shots within the Snowcap tracking base and also the Cyberman spaceship, where the First Doctor and Polly were held captive.

We could see what the sets looked like in the three surviving episodes of that story, but it was tricky to establish their exact dimensions. So, on the off-chance, I googled the words Tenth Planet Studio Plan and immediately struck gold. Up came a diagram of Riverside Studio 1, from the recording of The Tenth Planet Episode 4, indicating the layout of the scenery which featured in that episode. The drawing even had a 1-foot grid, so we could establish exactly how big these sets had been.

The studio plan had been posted on the fan website tardisbuilders.com by a member called Tony Farrell, so I asked if he had any more reference materials. Tony was able to supply several photos of the original sets, and we also received some vintage photos from Doctor Who Magazine. However, while the Snowcap base was well represented in these on-set photos, there were no such images for the Cyberman spaceship. And we couldnt view it on screen, because this location only featured in Episode 4, which is missing from the BBCs archive.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

In 1963 Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson devised an ambitious concept that would stretch the BBC’s technical resources to the limit. In its earliest days Doctor Who was jeopardised by a fierce dispute over facilities. The programme survived, but never stopped demanding the very best from its studios and dedicated crews. This is the inside story of Doctor Who’s evolution from relatively primitive beginnings to the cutting edge of modern television production.