Dr Who provides huge boost to Wales’ economy and creative industries
The BBC’s popular Doctor Who series contributed approximately £134.6m to the Welsh economy between 2004 and 2021, a new report has revealed.
The analysis has been released to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the world’s longest running action adventure TV series.
It considers the impact of Doctor Who from the start of production on Series 1 to 13, concluding that the regeneration of the show in Wales has acted as a catalyst for investment in the South Wales creative cluster and its specialism in high-end television and drama production.
The economic impact report also finds that Doctor Who’s return was a pivotal moment, driving immense growth of the Welsh creative industries over the last 15 to 20 years.
The screen sector – comprising of production, post-production, digital and special effects for film and TV, and TV broadcasting – is now the largest of the five Creative Industry sub-sectors prioritised by the Welsh Government, accounting for more than £459m turnover in 2022.
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said: “It’s been really satisfying to see the success of Doctor Who since being produced in Wales and the strong association the iconic programme has with our nation.”
He added: “The Doctor’s return has been a key driver in building the reputation of the Welsh screen industry and our highly skilled creative sector ensures Doctor Who continues to push the boundaries for sci-fi on TV. Penblwydd Hapus to The Doctor – here’s to many incarnations to come!”
Welcoming the report, the Director-General of the BBC, Tim Davie, said: “In 2004 we decided to reboot Doctor Who in Wales. That decision has a tremendous legacy we can be proud of. It has delivered over £134 million to the Welsh economy – and over a quarter of a billion to the UK as whole. That is truly remarkable.”
Doctor Who’s lasting legacy in Wales is being replicated across the UK as more and more BBC programmes and services move their content outside of London and into the nations and regions.
Interviewed as part of the report, Russell T Davies, who was the Showrunner of Doctor Who for Series 1-4 and has returned as Showrunner for the new episodes that launch this weekend.
He said: “When people say, Oh, a television or television drama cost £2 million. But what that means is £2 million goes into Cardiff. £2 million to the drivers and the office staff and the hospitality, the hotels and then pubs and the bars, and then supermarkets. It’s £2 million ploughed into Cardiff.”
The report highlights that BBC network production in Wales was relatively limited prior to 2004, but the success of Doctor Who this gave the industry confidence that Wales could deliver and kicked off a remarkable series of drama commissions. It paved the way for big BBC-commissioned shows from Torchwood to Merlin to Atlantis to Sherlock. This year sees no less than six new drama titles from Wales including Steeltown Murders, Wolf and Men Up.
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