Roath Lock

BBC Roath Lock Studios is a television production studio that houses BBC drama productions including Doctor Who, Casualty, and Pobol y Cwm.[1] The centre topped out on 20 February 2011 and filming for such productions commenced in autumn of the same year.[2]

BBC Roath Lock Studios
General information
AddressPorth Teigr Way, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4GA
Town or cityCardiff, Wales
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates51.4627°N 3.1565°W / 51.4627; -3.1565
OpenedSeptember 2011
OwnerBBC Cymru Wales

The facility is located on a development site known as Porth Teigr, which included a proposed 3,700-square-metre (40,000 sq ft) digital media centre and an interactive exhibition titled Doctor Who Experience.[3] The facility has 500 to 600 people working on site.[4]


Facade detail (March 2014)

The successful planning application sought permission for a 300-metre (980 ft) long, 20,000-square-metre (220,000 sq ft) building housing studios and offices with a distinctive façade and repeating motifs. It will also have a gothic-style entrance inspired by some of William Burges' designs at Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch. The planning application showed the building would face the National Assembly's Tŷ Hywel building and the Atradius building across the water of Roath Basin.[5]

FAT architecture were appointed as architects and designed a bold façade in homage to the Cardiff architecture of William Burges and the local South Wales landscape.[6] Unusual requirements for the building included an exact replica, in design and orientation, of the Bristol studio's Holby City carpark and corridors wide enough for two Daleks to pass one another.[6]


Roath Lock during construction

The 16,300 square metres (175,000 sq ft) of studios were constructed and fitted out within 13 months, marking the quickest BBC build of its size ever.[4][1] The name of the drama village, Roath Lock, was announced at the topping out ceremony in January 2011.[7]

A £2.5m bridge linking the drama village to Cardiff Bay was lifted into place. The bridge was manufactured in nearby Newport from where it was broken down into twelve pieces to allow transportation. The building branding was manufactured in Cardiff by a local company which also designed and implement the wayfinding signs[8] which was helped for a prestigious branding company [9]


The development has brought under one roof the production of shows formerly filmed in Cardiff's Broadcasting House, at Upper Boat Studios near Pontypridd, and in Bristol.[5]

Programmes confirmed to be filmed and produced at the studios include:

Other productions produced by Roath Lock, but not necessarily filmed at the studios include: Merlin, Atlantis, Being Human, The Living and the Dead, Sherlock, War & Peace, The Game, The Passing Bells, The Green Hollow, A Poet in New York, and To Walk Invisible.[1]

After the studios, offices and external filming lots were fully fitted out, filming for Pobol y Cwm and Casualty began in autumn 2011. Doctor Who moved into the 170,000 sq ft (15,800 sq m) site in 2012. The Sarah Jane Adventures was also scheduled to move to the facility in 2012, but future production of the series was cancelled in April 2011 due to the death of lead actress Elisabeth Sladen.[13] The village is part of the BBC's commitment to double television network production from Cardiff by 2016.[10]

Surrounding development

Roath Basin (nearest), Roath Dock (above) with the channel to Queen Alexandra Dock (centre right).

Roath Basin is the largest single remaining undeveloped site in Cardiff Bay. It consists of approximately 27 acres and has an outline planning permission for 1,000 new homes and 100,000 sq m of commercial floor space. Igloo Regeneration, which is an investment fund managed by Aviva Investments, was selected by the Assembly Government as the Development Partner for the project.

Investment of £8.5 million is needed to provide a road connection through the site providing both private and public transport from Pierhead Street through to the Norwegian Church, where a new bridge will need to be constructed over the existing lock-entrance to the dock.

The project comprises two distinct, but inter-dependent, components; the regeneration of the currently derelict, former dock side land at Roath Basin would be commenced by Assembly Government investment into the site infrastructure, and the BBC Drama Village, which would total some 170,000 sq ft (16,000 m2) of television studios and ancillary accommodation, as well as a new office building, which could be operated as a "Digital Media Centre" where a range of BBC supply-chain companies and existing Welsh-based Creative Industry Sector businesses would be able to be accommodated.[14]

The Roath Lock Drama Village was served by the Baycar (Cardiff Bus number 6) service operated by Cardiff Bus, that ran every 10 minutes to Cardiff Bay and the City Centre.

See also


  1. "Roath Lock - Facts and Figures". BBC Media Centre. 20 March 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. BBC News | BBC Wales Drama village's first phase completed
  3. Wales Online | Tiger Bay inspires name for BBC site
  4. Chris Kane (15 September 2011). "Roath Lock Opens For Business". BBC.
  5. Wales Online | BBC's drama village would bring TV shows to Cardiff Bay
  6. Rowan Moore (25 March 2012). "Roath Lock studios, Cardiff – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  7. "BBC Wales drama village name unveiled as Roath Lock". BBC News. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  8. "British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)". Morgans Consult. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  9. "Branding Company". Carpe Marketing (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  10. BBC News | Work starts on BBC Wales drama village in Cardiff Bay
  11. WalesOnline | Cardiff Bay Drama Village 'new home for Upstairs Downstairs'
  12. "BBC - Filming starts on CBBC's Wizards Vs Aliens - Media Centre". Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  13. "The Sarah Jane Adventures, 04th May 2011". BBC. 4 May 2011. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  14. Welsh Assembly Government | Proposed BBC Drama Village at Media Capital, Roath Basin
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