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Behind Bang: A tour of the set

Updated Monday 27th July 2009

A great team and some smart science needs a proper place to thrive. Keith Dunne, Bang's art director, shows our own Janet Sumner around the set.

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Behind Bang: A tour of the set

Interviewer

It’s two weeks later and I’ve come back to the location of Bang Goes the Theory to catch up with Keith Dunne who is the Production Designer.  Keith, it’s starting to look amazing, like all this stuff has been here for years and years!

Keith Dunne

Yeah, well it’s starting to come together.  It’s taken a bit of time.  This is only the early part of the dress now.  We’ve got another two phases, so yeah it’s the beginning.  What we’re doing now at the moment is just blocking it out to get a sense of the space and to see how all the items I’ve pulled together and sourced for the show works.

Interviewer

And you’ve sourced everything that’s in here?

Keith Dunne

Yes.

Interviewer

Even down to the marbles and the pencils?

Keith Dunne
Indeed yes, at the moment, all on my own!

Interviewer

Okay brilliant.  Do you want to give us a walk through some of the different areas and we can have a look at some of the stuff that we’ve got in here?

Keith Dunne
Yeah sure, okay.

Interviewer

Great, lead on.

Keith Dunne
Right, well at the moment we’re just leaving the presenters table which is the main central focus for the set for the wide shots and so it’s something I’ve had designed and made because I felt it would be good for the show to have something that’s unique to itself, and as you can see with the big windows and the turbine over there it helps to bring the design elements and the colour scheme into the actual existing set.

Interviewer

Yeah, it looks like it’s been there forever and a day doesn’t it?

Keith Dunne

Well, I’m glad you think that, because that’s how it’s meant to look!  So, it’s obviously working which is the important thing.

Interviewer

Yeah.

Keith Dunne
So we move through.  So we’ve got Dallas’s drawing area which is starting to come together.  Over on the back wall we have the kitchen.  The lockers are just over there being painted up because I want to change the colour scheme and bring some of this green colour, which I brought this cabinet into the set so tonally it fits a bit better.

Interviewer

Okay, so you’ve got your CERN colours which are the blue and the yellow and now you’re bringing this green palette in as well?

Keith Dunne

That’s right.  If you look at the CERN images you’ll see the greens in it as well, yeah so it’s still there.

Interviewer

Oh right okay, we’ll put those images up on the website and check them out.

Keith Dunne

You will do.  So, the green is in with the CERN so it’s all happening.  So, the seating area, as I say, you can now see when I was talking in the initial interview about getting product design into the furniture, sorry, industrial design into the furniture and you certainly can see it’s starting to come through and then making it feel very relaxed and comfortable, and filling it with interesting detail of inventions of the past and things that we can keep an eye out and see what we can spot.

Interviewer

That’s a little bit of the old Tomorrow’s World, old Open University stuff in there, isn’t it?

Keith Dunne

It is.

Interviewer

It’s got that feel to it.

Keith Dunne

That’s going back to what I’ve said before, that and from my reference when I was looking at doing this job and designing it I looked at the old Tomorrow’s World and the Open University and I talked about having something familiar and I think that’s, so the idea with the dressing with the items around us, I like the old TVs and the old radios and so on, cameras, it’s all coming together slowly.

Interviewer

Yeah.  No, it’s starting to look fantastic.  But what, you reckon you’re a third of the way through now with props?

Keith Dunne

We’re a third of the way through.  We’ve still got the graphics to go in, we’ve got the cables to hang, we’ve still got more layering to do in terms of having the cabinets open, filling them up, completing the dress on the tops here, making it more lived in really.  So, at the moment it feels a bit placed and so we’ve just got to keep it moving and so in another week or so we’ll be at the final stages and it should look good and hopefully everybody will be happy.  So, as I said we’re just carrying on really through and bringing in retro furniture, things from the past, so again it’s that industrial look, and again I think it’s just fun to try and see if you can spot what’s what.

Interviewer

Yeah, and I’m just looking as well, just at that table, having done art at A-Level, there’s just something that says still life to me and is that how a lot of these surfaces and little areas work?

Keith Dunne

Yes, totally, you’re spot on.  It’s very important when you’re designing a show you’ve got to think of what the set is about and who it’s for, and to make it feel like it’s real and it’s lived in you have to think in that way, so when you’re dressing it’s not just a matter of dumping stuff, you’re thinking it through and being practical about why is that item there, why is that item over there, what function does it have and its history.  So, it’s not just boom and walk away and of course it then has to feed all the way through.  It’s almost got to feel like it’s all been thought out at the same time.

Interviewer

So, what it will flow from there up to there and…

Keith Dunne

Totally, it will flow nicely and across the whole set.

Interviewer

Is that something that you learn or is it just something that you have to have an instinctive feel for; where does that come from?

Keith Dunne

I think it’s a combination of both, like I say, it’s a talent!

Interviewer

Ah, I was going to say the same thing myself!

Keith Dunne

No, no, not at all.  I think it’s something you learn from experience and practice makes perfect, and especially on a set this size and the scale of it, I think it’s quite a big job to try and keep the overall focus and to make sure all the areas blend because I think it can quite easily run away because also this large space, it’s soaking up the dressing so quickly.  You won’t believe how many trucks full of stuff has turned up and yet it only looks like a handful of stuff.

Interviewer

And more trucks to come you were saying.

Keith Dunne

And more trucks to come, yes, coming this afternoon.

Interviewer

Oh well, hopefully we’ll hang around for that and we can get the guys unloading.

Keith Dunne

Sure.

Interviewer

Do you want to take me over to Jem’s area because that’s just slightly different from this sitting comfortable area, isn’t it?

Keith Dunne

It is.  This is in the inventors area and I think you have to feel like this is where he works and does his stuff and that’s what we’ve tried to do with the whole space really is give them their own identity with the presenter, so they’ve all got links.  So, Jem’s area, we’ve got the desk.  So, looking at my research on professors and scientists and again it’s just a mishmash of items which you think Jem may have been fiddling with and dismantled, taken apart, used somewhere else and just abandoned it and left it there.  So, it’s still in development and this whole wall will be full of tools and screw-boxes and so on and so forth, so it’ll feel like your dad’s garage by the time I’ve finished and I think it’s important, again just going back to that familiarity really.  Yeah, and again it’s taking the idea of taking the drawers out just so we’ve got a nice depth and then of course it helps with the layering, which all the set is about layering, get more and more depths and that helps keep the reality to it really.

Interviewer

Yeah.  So is that the key then, this layering?  Is it a case of you start off at the back and you work forwards; how does the layering work?

Keith Dunne

Well, the layering is just, it’s what we took, because I come from drama so I do a lot of drama sets, it’s more about creating depth, as much depth, so it’s putting things in, so you start at the front and work back really.

Interviewer

Oh okay.

Keith Dunne

Alright?  In terms of what we’re doing now with the dressing, this is the first set of layering and then on top of this layering will go the graphics, and then on top of that will then go the lighting, so the lights will come on and it’ll take on different shape as you move forward.

Interviewer

That looks absolutely perfectly convincing and perfectly finished to me.  I can’t believe it’s only like a third of the way there!

Keith Dunne

Oh yeah, there’s a bit more to do on it and then we’ll be right.  There’s a pot with pencils in, little things like maybe a pair of glasses on the table if he wears glasses, it’s that final detailing really.

Interviewer

Final detail.

Keith Dunne

That gives you that.

Interviewer

I have got to take you over here, we’ve got to go and look at this because actually Keith has gone to the trouble to strategically place these marbles which I just find is an attention to detail that is just beyond belief, so come and have a look at this.  We’ve got a tipped up jar of marbles and individually placed marbles there on a set of this size; that really is going some for detail, isn’t it?

Keith Dunne

Yes.  As I said

Interviewer

And a jar of shells.

Keith Dunne

And I think that’s what will make this set is the detail, from the paintwork to the props to the dress.

Interviewer

And is this your favourite bit of the whole process now?

Keith Dunne

It is.  This is my favourite bit because that’s when the set takes on character and it comes alive.  I mean I always love the paint element because it takes the edge off the dullness of construction, but there’s when you start putting your furniture in and then start putting the final touches and then as I said it is the detail that makes the difference.

Interviewer

The devil is in the detail.

Keith Dunne

It’s all in the detail.

Interviewer

It’s a bit like science isn’t it?

Keith Dunne

It is all in the detail, and by that, if it’s there, then people believe it.  It doesn’t look like a set.  It stops being a studio, it stops being a set and people think it’s here all the time.

Interviewer

It doesn’t, actually now, even though you’re only a third through, it doesn’t feel like a set, it just feels like some space that we’ve walked into and all this has been here for tens and tens of years slowly gathering dust.

Keith Dunne

Well, I’m doing my job right then!

Interviewer

You are absolutely doing 100%.

Keith Dunne

If that’s how you’re feeling then I’m doing my job, because that’s the bottom line, if you don’t believe it then I haven’t done my work, and it’s good to hear.

Interviewer

100% believable and thanks very much for talking to us, Keith.

Keith Dunne

Yeah, it’s a pleasure, thanks for coming.

Interviewer

It’s really good to know about the ins and outs of your job, so thank you.

Keith Dunne

That’s fine, thank you.  I hope it’s helpful.

Voiceover

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

8’38”

 

 

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