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Published on July 24th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

Iwan Roberts: Taking Who to North Wales?

Cardiff has been the home of Doctor Who for about a decade now, but is it time the series moves further North? Location manager, Iwan Roberts, seems to think so! And you can probably guess from his name that Iwan doesn’t mean Yorkshire or Scotland – but North Wales!

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Talking to Daily Post’s Richard Beech, Iwan admitted to his desire to take the TARDIS to Snowdonia:

“It’s a beautiful place, and I think the cast and crew would really enjoy it actually, it would be something different.”

The Doctor has visited Snowdonia before, though naturally, it was disguised as – you guessed it! – Tibet, where he faced off against the Great Intelligence for the first time in The Abominable Snowmen. Nonetheless, Roberts says he still loves filming in and around Cardiff, due to its stunning and varied environs:

“We’re bang in the middle of a city, but within 10 minutes you have beautiful countryside or coastline. It’s such a versatile place to film; in London it could take you two hours in the morning just to get to a location, but luckily we don’t have to battle with traffic too often in Cardiff.”

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He cites two places in Cardiff as his amongst his favourite locations: the City Hall, which he notes was used extensively in Victory of the Daleks, and the Coal Exchange:

“We used the Coal Exchange for the Christmas special in 2010 with Katherine Jenkins and Michael Gambon [A Christmas Carol]. There was probably about four or five days set building. But it’s a location we use quite often.”

When Beech speaks to him, he’s searching a database of location photos for a “top secret project”. He says experience is key in his job:

“I have a huge database of pictures on my laptop, from parks and woods, to residential houses, just so many of them. And you use that as your library, so you look at a Doctor Who script when you get sent it, and think to yourself ‘I’ve got that location’, ‘I know a great place for this scene’… Some scripts, though, you need to do a lot of leg work: the Doctor Who Christmas special in 2011 [The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe], we had to find a wood or a forest, and it took us so long to find the right woods for that episode.”

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He also has to consider the logistics of getting cast and crew in each location:

“The inside of one of the Ponds’ houses was in Grangetown, and the exterior we actually showed on Doctor Who is from a different house elsewhere in the city, because the director wanted a Georgian front and the inside of the Georgian house we found wasn’t actually big enough to film in.”

It’s a really interesting interview with a vital member of the crew: often overlooked but without his realisations, Doctor Who certainly wouldn’t look so spectacular each week! Head over to Daily Post to read more.


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

5 Responses to Iwan Roberts: Taking Who to North Wales?

  1. avatar Kane Smith says:

    Wish they’d move to Lancashire area :D

  2. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    The amount of times they’ve used the Temple of Peace or the tunnel under the Millennium Stadium I’m surprised they haven’t been suggested as potential Twelfth Doctors.

  3. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    Given they have managed to go to America on what, three separate occasions now, it would be nice to come up to North Wales at least once! For that matter, other parts of the UK could get a look in – the part of Scotland that featured in Skyfall was staggeringly alien and must be worth considering for a story backdrop!

  4. avatar Stlshawn says:

    It’s this kind of insight that I miss from dw confidential.
    Thank you mr bates for the wonderful story.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Thank YOU for commenting! And yes, Confidential is greatly missed. Each Saturday evening after Who, I feel that something’s missing.

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