Simon Winstone (left) and Arwel Wyn Jones with Edward Russell (right)
(Photo: Aaron Lowe)
To commemorate Doctor Who’s eleventh series launched in October, RTS Cymru Wales hosted a special talk on October 17th chaired by former Doctor Who brand manager, Edward Russell, with two of the show’s key personnel, Simon Winstone, Head of Drama, Wales for BBC Studios who oversees the production at Cardiff’s Roath Lock Studios, and Arwel Wyn Jones, Doctor Who’s current Production Designer.
The pair discussed how they brought new showrunner Chris Chibnal’s vision to the screen, and they excitedly revealed how they swapped the familiar locations in South Wales for South Africa, where some of the new series was shot.
Jones spoke of how he was able to realise a lifelong ambition to design the new TARDIS interior for the Thirteenth Doctor. When asked if he wanted to try something revolutionary with its design, Jones was very clear, “there are certain things you have to stick with… the six-sided console and the roundels”, but he explained how he was able to make the set look bigger, and less rigid by adding infinity mirrors into the walls. “I wanted to play upon the ‘dimensions’ aspect of the TARDIS, he said. “Basically, I’m a con artist – my job is to make people believe they’re seeing something that they aren’t really seeing!”.
Jodie Whittaker’s debut episode drew a staggering 10.9 million viewers - the show’s highest since it returned to TV in 2005. The consolidated viewing figure formed part of Barb’s new 4-screen measurement, which includes non-TV device viewing, reflecting the change in modern viewing habits.
According to Jones, the creation of BBC’s Drama Village in Cardiff was key to the new series’ success, “London producers saw how good the crews were, and Doctor Who has been crucial to the present boom in drama production we are seeing in south Wales”. Winstone added that, “although I came from a BBC background, through Studios we now work on shows for a wide range of organizations…there are an awful lot of opportunities out there now”.