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BBC Roath Lock studios open to ticket-holding visitors

image captionRoath Lock studios are home to Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs and Doctor Who

BBC Wales Roath Lock studios are opened to ticket-holding visitors over the weekend ahead of their official opening by First Minister Carywn Jones on Monday.

Around 1,000 members of the public have won tickets for two-hour tours of the drama village in Cardiff Bay.

The open days include the TV sets of Casualty and Pobol y Cwm and the props of Upstairs Downstairs and Doctor Who.

The studios form part of the Porth Teigr project on the city's waterfront.

They were built following the BBC's commitment in 2008 to double its television network production from Wales.

The 170,000 sq ft (15,800 sq m) Roath Lock site is equivalent to the size of three football pitches.

image captionThe Welsh-language series Pobol Y Cwm is also recorded at the drama village

It provides a permanent home to three flagship BBC dramas - Casualty, Pobol y Cwm and Doctor Who, as well as a base for future commissions.

Tickets for the visits on Saturday and Sunday were given out on a lottery-style basis and the application for them was oversubscribed.

Visitors will get the chance to see the Casualty set, including the hospital and the new ambulance station as well as handling props such prosthetic wounds and fake arms.

The set of long-running Welsh-language drama Pobol y Cwm is also on the tour itinerary.

Production staff on many of BBC Cymru Wales' other drama series such as Doctor Who and Upstairs Downstairs will be on hand to explain some of the tricks of the trade.

An exhibition will also include costumes from the drama Sherlock as well as a Dalek.

The studio complex is the first industrial building in the UK to be given a Breeam outstanding certificate for its green credentials, the highest possible environmental rating.

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, and the studios are built next to the former lock-keeper's cottage.

The Roath Lock drama village is the focal point of the Porth Teigr project, which the Welsh government has said will host up to 8,000 jobs when completed.

As well as shops and restaurants, the finished project will include 1,000 homes.

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