Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
The first phase of BBC Cymru Wales' new drama production centre has been completed as the official name of the ambitious project is revealed.
Located in the newly-named Porth Teigr area of Cardiff Bay, the studios will be called Roath Lock – Porth y Rhath in Welsh – the broadcaster announced today. The 170,000 square foot studios will be equivalent in size to three football pitches, providing a permanent home to three flagship BBC dramas – Casualty, Pobol y Cwm and Doctor Who – as well as new productions in future.
At a topping out ceremony to mark completion of the shell of the building, BBC Cymru Wales Director Menna Richards paid tribute to the partnership approach which is delivering a production centre on a scale previously unknown in Wales.
"It's exactly 12 months since we confirmed our plans to build a drama centre in Cardiff Bay. Today, we can see the very real results of a fantastic partnership with the Welsh Assemby Government, Cardiff Council and igloo Regeneration – as well as the construction team from Vinci who have achieved so much.
"There's still a lot more work to do but, once completed, Roath Lock studios will become a focal point for the creative industries in Wales – brimming with energy and talent – and we are all extremely proud to be a part of the project."
The centre is being built as part of the BBC's commitment in 2008 to double television network production from Wales. It is part of the BBC's large-scale plan to move 50 per cent of network TV programme spend outside London by 2016, creating centres of excellence around existing BBC bases across the UK.
Deputy First Minister of Wales, Ieuan Wyn Jones, described it as an important milestone and a pivotal development for the wider promotion and development of the creative industry sector in Wales.
"I wish the BBC every success in its activities at this exciting new development. It will play an important role in increasing Welsh-made production by the BBC which will not only benefit audiences, but the Welsh economy and our creative industries in particular.
"Creative industries is a fast-growing dynamic sector of the Welsh economy and one of the key sectors identified in our Economic Renewal programme. Our vision is that this new centre will act as a catalyst for the wider development of a creative industries hub at Porth Teigr creating new job opportunities and stimulating community regeneration."
Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones, added: "I am delighted to take part in today's topping out ceremony, this a great step ahead for the creative industries of Wales and the regeneration of Cardiff Bay. The Creative Industries are crucial for 21st century Wales and we want to ensure businesses capitalise on the multi-million-pound opportunities of the digital age. I hope this development will ensure the creative industries in Wales continue to thrive."
Cardiff Council Leader Rodney Berman said: "I'm delighted to see the progress that has been made on the new Roath Lock studios. This is a hugely exciting project which will see the BBC increase its production and development presence in Cardiff, building on the successes of Doctor Who and Torchwood by creating a centre of excellence for drama with fantastic facilities and filming space.
"Yet again, this is another example of everyone pulling together for the good of the city and Wales and is going to be the focal point of a dynamic creative industries hub that will play a vital role in the future regeneration of Cardiff and the city region."
Mark Hallett, Development Director of igloo Regeneration, added: "The development of Roath Lock is the first piece of igloo's plan to create a vibrant new commercial and residential community at Porth Teigr. I have already received a number of enquiries from companies in the creative and knowledge-based industry sectors interested in locating their business close to the BBC drama production centre and feel confident that Porth Teigr will, over time, become an internationally recognised mixed use location, attracting new jobs and investment into Wales."
The name Roath Lock was chosen following consultation with BBC Wales staff. The Lock refers to the waterway linking Roath Basin to Roath Dock and the Bay (visitors will pass over the locks as they arrive at the new centre). The studios are also being constructed adjacent to the former lock-keeper's cottage.
Once fitted out and screen-ready, filming will begin for Casualty and Pobol y Cwm in autumn 2011, with Doctor Who moving from the Upper Boat studios in 2012.
BBC Wales also announced today that it is to move its Wrexham office to a purpose built premises at Glyndwr University's new Creative Industries Building, which will strengthen the BBC's presence in north east Wales and provide new production facilities for its staff, guests and contributors.
Photographs and interviews are available on request.
Currently, BBC Wales produces drama output at two separate sites at Llandaff in Cardiff and Upper Boat, near Pontypridd, as well as a number of locations around Wales.
The BBC agreement is for rental of the site for a fixed term of 20 years – therefore, there is no capital investment in the building by the BBC as such, other than for internal fit-out.
This value for money for licence fee payers has been achieved through a partnership approach between the BBC, igloo Regeneration, WAG and Cardiff Council.
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