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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 49 - In the Studio > Upper Boat

Upper Boat

In 2006 Doctor Who continued production in an impressive new facility – one was that large enough to house the series spin-offs, too…

Feature by ANDREW PIXLEY

The Doctor (David Tennant) helps survivors cross a canyon in this scene from Voyage of the Damned (2007), recorded in Studio 6 at Upper Boat.
In the grounds of Upper Boat, David Tennant records the Doctors dramatic fall for Part Two of The End of Time (2009-10).

The new 86,000 square feet… site is more than ten times larger than BBC Wales facilities in Cardiff, and includes workshops, video editing suites, six sound stages and a props store that is…out of this world,” declared a BBC News bulletin on Thursday 27 July 2006, the day that Doctor Whos new, larger home was formally opened by Welsh Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies.

One year later – from Monday 9 to Saturday 14 July 2007 – three different Doctor Who franchises were in production simultaneously: Doctor Who itself, its BBC Three spin-off Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures for CBBC. A far cry from being relegated to the most antiquated BBC studios 1963 had to offer, Doctor Who now had its own mini-television centre in a dedicated, customised facility housing standing sets for three interlinked series. From Monday to Thursday that week, the Doctor helped survivors cross a canyon during their Voyage of the Damned in Studio 6 (7,700 square feet), aided by green screen in Studio 5 (59 x 64 feet). Meanwhile Captain Jack Harkness warned Gwen Cooper about Captain John in the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang episode of Torchwood in Studio 1 (84 x 84 feet). After that, Sarah Jane Smith, Maria Jackson and Mr Smith determined the truth about the Warriors of Kudlak in Studio 4 (58 x 54 feet) on Friday and Saturday.

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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.