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Designs on Doctor Who was an episode of On Show, the BBC 2W arts programme. As such, it was mainly only available in Wales. Narrated by Tom Baker, it explored the work of production designer Edward Thomas and his team, concentrating mainly on the role of the design department in a few scenes of The Runaway Bride, then the most recent episode of Doctor Who.
Making The Runaway Bride
The designs of three key scenes were examined, all explaining different aspects of Thomas' job.
The rooftop scene between Donna and the Tenth Doctor was revealed to have contained a small design error in that the Doctor's fire extinguisher was silver. Thomas criticised this, because he had asked for either a red or gold entinguisher to fit in with the overall colour scheme of the TARDIS interior.
Next, the street scene in front of Henrik's where the Doctor sonics the ATM was explored as a model of how the art department liaised with both the special effects team and property holders on location. It was mentioned, for instance, that the shop doubling for Henrik's obliged Thomas by dressing their windows with their own Christmas decorations — in July. The segment also showed the design, production, use and eventual cleanup of all the currency that spewed forth from the ATM.
Finally, the documentary uncovered the production designer's role in performing a location recce. This portion of the documentary showed Thomas running into Julian Luxton, who was performing a recce in Cardiff for Torchwood. It then followed Thomas as Euros Lyn and he explored a disused industrial lot that eventually became the home of the Empress of the Racnoss. The documentary then showed how the Empress was designed, manufactured and operated by Thomas and his team.
In addition to these three main areas of examination, the documentary touched on the design and construction of the Hub set for Torchwood. It had a degree of "employee review", as Julie Gardner and Russell T Davies both gave accounts of what it was like to work with Thomas. The move of the TARDIS control room set from Doctor Who's original Welsh studio to Upper Boat Studios was briefly featured.
The documentary producer and director, Gwenllian Llwyd, was a member of Thomas' staff. This undoubtedly contributed to the rather uncritical view of Thomas' work.