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Science, Maths & Technology
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  • Level 1: Introductory

Behind Bang: Keith Dunne on getting set

Updated Monday 27th July 2009

Big science needs a big stage. Who better to build that stage than Keith Dunne, art director for Doctor Who, Torchwood and touring operas?

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Copyright The Open University

Audio

Copyright The Open University

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Interviewer

Keith, you’re the Production Designer on the new BBC One science series.  Do you want to talk us through what’s actually happening with this location to turn it into the studio?

Keith Dunne

Yeah sure, as you can see we’ve got construction in at the moment, they’re going to be here for about a week and we’ve got to basically build a studio platform on the lower level where they’re working at the moment, and we’ve had to fill in the existing large openings and so I’ve put the idea of the turbine as to echo its former life, and then put more of a design feature for a window, so when we’re actually down on that level looking out we get a nice pillar box of blue sky which will be quite nice.  So, first of all we have to make safe so we’re filling in these holes which I’ll then put into the design feature and then we’ll put the new flooring down and the handrails up and then we’ll start the paintwork and then I’ll start the dress, and that’ll be the process.

Interviewer

Okay.  Is there any special kind of research that you have to do given that this is a science series?

Keith Dunne

For me, I did look at some of the old Tomorrow’s Worlds and the Open University shows that used to be on when I was a kid and so on and so forth, and taken the essence from those, so when people do see the set and they see the show there’s a familiarity to it, but there’s also something new and fresh so we’ve pushed the boundaries a little bit more, because as I said it’s a studio within an existing location, so that’s going to give it a slightly unique feel anyway.

Interviewer

Yeah, you want to keep the quality and the feel of the location itself, don’t you?

Keith Dunne

Yeah, totally, and what I’m going to be doing here is bringing the two together so the end product will look like it’s always existed and our scientists and our presenters when they come here they look like they’ve camped and they’ve made this their home or their den where they come to play and do their stuff really.

Interviewer

Right okay.  You said there were going to be three main areas.

Keith Dunne

Yes.

Interviewer

Could we take a look at those and talk through them.

Keith Dunne

Okay, so the lower level which is down towards the turbine window as we call it, I’ve called that the junkyard and it’s going to be full of boxes and old gadgets and experiments that have been abandoned and forgotten, but also I’m going to put in some of the props that are going to be used during the course of the series and dress them in, so if we catch them in various episodes you’ll go, ooh look, yes they definitely go down there and that’s what we use and so on and so forth.  The middle area is more the presenters area and I’ve created three definite areas which will be Jem’s workshop with his shed and tools, and you’ll have Dallas and his area, and then a central presenters area with a main desk and plasmas and then this area here is, I’m not quite sure what we’re going to be doing with it, but I think it’s going to be a new playing area where there’ll do experiments and present larger items.

Interviewer

Now, you’ve worked on some pretty big shows, haven’t you?

Keith Dunne

Yes!

Interviewer

Do you want to run us through some of the great stuff you’ve done?

Keith Dunne

Well recently, the last four years I’ve been very much involved with Dr Who and Torchwood and I think that’s why they came to me about doing the design for this particular show because they want a kind of the Torchwood for scientists, and what we’re going to do is create our own little unique hub for those who love science and for those who want to be involved with science and make it more interesting and funky and exciting, a place that everybody wants to come and play I think.

Interviewer

I like the idea of Torchwood for scientists.  I think that would go down really, really well!

Keith Dunne

And I think we will.  I said I’m very keen at the moment, in terms of the dressing and the props that I’m going to be putting in, I really want to get people to look carefully and constantly look at the environment that the show is happening in and see if they can spot things from generations gone, like old TVs, old radios, old gadgets and old gizmos.

Interviewer

Oh okay, so heavy on the old technologies, so technologies from what, ‘70s up until now or?

Keith Dunne

Exactly, well ‘60s even.  I just like the idea of seeing what’s gone and what’s coming up and then amongst all that old chaos we’ll have new items and things that are about to come into existence if you like.

Interviewer

Right, brilliant.  Thank you.

Keith Dunne

Okay?  No worries.

Voiceover

To find out more about the making of Bang Goes the Theory visit open2.net/bang.

4’27”

 

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