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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 49 - In the Studio > Unit Q2

Unit Q2

In 2004, the resurrected Doctor Who was part of a very different production landscape. Reflecting these changing times, the series was now allocated its own permanent studio space…
Building the Ninth Doctors TARDIS inside Unit Q2 in 2004
An empty Unit Q2, shortly before the Doctor Who production team moved in.

There was nothing at the BBCs buildings in Cardiff that was remotely big enough,” explained executive producer Julie Gardner, referring to Doctor Whos first permanent, dedicated production space in the 2006 book The Inside Story. Programme making had changed substantially between the BBC calling time on the series in 1989 and production resuming in 2004. Aping the movie industry, which it had been undermining since the 1950s, television now aimed to use fewer but increasingly sophisticated interior sets alongside more expansive, authentic locations.

While BBC Cymru had won the prize of Doctor Who in 2003, the question now was where to put it; the purposebuilt Broadcasting House in Cardiff was committed to other series, notably the long-running Welsh-language soap opera Pobol y Cwm. With Doctor Who projected to record 13 episodes over eight months, the returning series needed a dedicated space allowing something extra: a standing set. The new centurys audience was used to cinematic spectacle, so the TARDIS control room would need to be more impressive and substantial than before – not something to be erected and dismantled within a few hours in whichever studio had been allocated to it.

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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.