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Doctor Who | News | 22 December 2006

Christmas Confidential

Behind the scenes on Music and Monsters

Tors Grantham


BBC One, 25th December, 1pm

It's not often my day starts at 5.30am. I'm usually one of the lucky people who work in TV; I don't, as a general rule, go out on shoots. Instead, I stay in the production office organising the shoots everyone else goes on, smiling sympathetically at the early starts or late finishes whilst secretly counting my lucky stars I get to work the TV equivalent of 9-5. But working backstage at the Doctor Who Concert was too big an opportunity to pass up and I jumped at the chance.

The Milliennium Centre

The big day dawned with a whinge and a moan and a heartfelt thank you to the powers-that-be that I wasn't on the 1am-6am shift. Dawn was a couple of hours off and the first of our crews were due to arrive at the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) at 6am.


As I live around the corner from the WMC I headed over in my PJ's to greet the crew, show them to our base of operations and get them all set up. Once done, I stumbled back home to bed for an extra hour's kip, much to the crew's amusement.

Getting the TARDIS in

10am and I'm back at the WMC, kitted out with crew and Doctor Who Confidential passes - one of two access-all-areas key cards given to our team - and a really cool radio and headset, bemusedly watching several burly men trying to fit the Genesis Ark through the stage door. It took them several attempts, not to mention several doors, but they got there in the end. And then things got really crazy.

The crew

As the point of contact for all seven teams filming on the day, I had to relay information, take extra tapes to those running low, deal with the crews asking where my PJ's had gone, let people in to our base of operations, organise food, put up with the crews congratulating me on looking human, take people spare batteries and kit and generally run around the maze that is backstage of the Millennium Centre like a crazy person.


In between all that I managed to stroke the TARDIS (yay!), run past David Tennant and Russell T Davies. I stumbled upon BBC Radio Wales crammed into a props room. I was on stage during rehearsal of the Doctor Who theme tune (fantastic!). I had to pose for photos by our lovely stills photographer, Stuart, who was doing a behind-the-scenes of the behind-the-scenes. Here a Dalek, there a Cyberman and – ooh, there goes David Tennant again!


By the time the concert started I think we'd interviewed everybody involved, possibly twice given the number of rushes tapes I'd been handed and, barring any emergencies, I had nothing to do but find an out of the way spot along the side of stage corridors to watch the concert on a conveniently placed telly.

And what a spectacle! The snippets I'd caught throughout the afternoon were nothing compared to the finished product. I can only imagine what it must have been like in the auditorium, but if the mood backstage was anything to go by it was amazing!

All too quickly 8.45pm came around and to the sound of thunderous applause I headed back upstairs to base to start packing up and chivvy our Confidential team volunteers into helping me take the kit and rushes back home for safe keeping. By 10pm we were saying goodbye to the WMC, the monsters, the TARDIS and a long day and heading off for a well deserved celebratory drink. A day to look back on with much fondness.. once my feet stop throbbing.

Tors Grantham is a Production Co-Ordinator on Doctor Who Confidential.


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