Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Doctor's Tardis open for winners

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Doctor Who fans, young and old, had their first chance to look behind the scenes - and also meet producer Russell T Davies

The winners of a Children in Need competition have become the first to visit the sets where Doctor Who is filmed by BBC Wales.

The studios near Pontypridd were opened to 100 winners and their guests.

The studios are not open to the public, so it was a special occasion for the contest winners.

As well as being shown the inside of the Tardis and the underground HQ of Torchwood, there was a "mystery stop", with the visitors sworn to secrecy.

Local councils offered the winners free transport, accommodation and entry to attractions to show them the external sites where the show is made.

The 86,000 sq ft (7,400 sq m) studios at Upper Boat were opened in 2006 and are also home to the Doctor Who spin-off show, Torchwood.

Doctor Who tour
Hands on - visitors had time to try out the Tardis

They include workshops, video editing suites, six sound stages and a props store.

The first 25 winners, who were each allowed to invite three guests, were shown around on Saturday morning.

Over the weekend, 400 people in total will be given the behind the scenes tour.

One of the most awe-struck on the day was nine-year-old Daniel Deevey, from Liverpool, who arrived wearing a full-length brown coat, imitating his hero David Tennant, hand-made for him by his mother Lisa Taft.

She said: "It's been fantastic and just to see the smile on his face from seeing the places where David Tennant has been."

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A look around the Doctor Who studios

The studios are large enough to allow the sets to be kept up between production runs.

Local councils are also hoping to attract people to visit other places featured in Doctor Who.

Councillor Russell Roberts, the leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf council, said many people were unaware that "as well as being the base for filming, our county is also used as a living set, with our stunning scenery, historic buildings and attractions being used as backdrops throughout the series," he said.

Many exterior shots for the show are filmed in Cardiff, and the Welsh capital's council leader Rodney Berman said: "We are very proud to be the home of Doctor Who and relish the opportunity to show visitors from around the UK the amazing backdrop we provide to the show".

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