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Roath Lock

The series latest studio has played host to numerous Doctors and is currently home to production on the 2018 episodes…
The corridor at Roath Lock connecting Studios 2, 3 and 4 is named Russells Alley in honour of former showrunner Russell T Davies. Photo © Emily Cook.

“I love Roath Lock,” says showrunner Chris Chibnall, in an email to Doctor Who Magazine. “Its the best facility Ive ever worked in. I can walk in to say hello to costume and make-up, then go across to one of the four studio spaces for Doctor Who, where worlds are being built and shot on. Then up the stairs to the production office to discuss future schedules and pre-production and post-production and marketing and social media, a meeting with the script team in the Dalek room (yes, theres a Dalek room), then down the corridor to the edit suites where half a dozen episodes are being worked on simultaneously. In fact, I just described a typical day there for me. And thats before you bump into people from Casualty in the canteen. One of the security guards on the front desk, Chris, is an Everton fan, but you cant have everything.”

On Monday 18 May 2009, staff at BBC Broadcasting House in Cardiff were informed by Menna Richards, BBC Cymru Controller, that a new drama village was under active consideration, to be created in Cardiff Bay as a home for new productions and series previously made at Upper Boat and in Bristol. Following a commitment to double Wales network production in July 2008, the BBCs plan was to make use of the new development of Porth Teigr (a name evoking Tiger Bay, the former name of Cardiff Bay). Started in 2008, this project by the Welsh government and Igloo Regeneration aimed to reinvigorate 38 acres of quays and docks to the south of Cardiffs Roath Basin as houses, studios and offices.

The preferred studio venue was confirmed with a 20-year lease on Monday 18 January 2010, and on Tuesday 9 November it was named Roath Lock, after the waterway linking Roath Basin to Roath Dock. Built next to the former lock-keepers cottage and topped out on Sunday 20 February 2011, the new complex became the BBCs largest drama production centre in the UK. Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs and Pobol y Cwm relocated from September, prior to the official opening of the facility by Wales First Minister, Carwen Jones, on Monday 12 March 2012.

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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.