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Lights, camera, action!

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Pupils at one Cardiff school have discovered an innovative way to learn about the Victorians - by making their own Doctor Who movie. Rachel Mainwaring finds out about the production which will be given the red carpet treatment

DOCTOR Who is set to be given the big screen treatment in a drama set in Victorian times.

But there won't be a massive budget, Peter Capaldi or a Dalek in sight - as it's a unique school project being created by pupils at Coryton Primary school in Cardiff with a little help from film, fashion and music undergraduates.

Pupils from years five and six are studying the Victorians as one of their main topics this term, and have written a script that will be transformed into a 30-minute film called Another Day, Another Dimension.

Filming is due to start in the next couple of weeks and it will eventually have a red carpet screening and reception in Cineworld, Cardiff in April.

Teacher Jane Donoghue, who is overseeing the project with colleague David Barker, who teaches the year six pupils, says: "We always like to think big when it comes to topics and this year we are studying the Victorians and it was really the children who came up with the idea. We originally talked about what they already knew about the Victorian times and what they would like to learn and it went from there.

"They thought about how they would like the project to work. At the time, there was a lot of talk about who the next Doctor Who was going to be and they started linking the two and that was that! Sometimes it's harder to get boys as interested but they certainly have been since we decided to make a film."

The two classes visited the BBC Wales studios for a tour as well as the Doctor Who Experience at Cardiff Bay and then they all started to come up with ideas for script. They have all been assigned on-screen and off-screen roles and have already undertaken a green screen workshop in preparation for filming.

"That was great fun. The directors and producers went into the control room and started calling all the cues, they all really enjoyed it.

"The pupils started off by writing stories involving Doctor Who going back to Victorian times and meeting various Welsh characters, who they learned about after doing research in school. So it features an inventor called Ernest Willows and an engineer called David Thomas, as well as a former headmistress of the Victorian school that is now housed at St Fagans: National History Museum, where we hope to film some of the scenes.

"We put the best ideas together to make a final film script then held auditions to cast the film. We have four Doctor Whos - two male, two female as we wanted to break the mould of the doctor always being male - as well as four assistants.

"Everybody has a part to play on-screen and we also have all the backstage crew covered as well, from catering to costume, production, direction and cameras. The children have written to companies asking for funding. A couple of them did a Powerpoint presentation to students at the Atrium and were given a standing ovation."

More than 20 third-year film students agreed to help the inspiring pupils, shadowing them in their various roles from camera to costume and they will also receive help from composition undergraduates from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, who will write the film's score.

The project will film in locations including Barry train station.

"We also had a branding workshop to create a logo for the film and any merchandise that we create from it.

"We have learned about different types of film shots ready for our directors to help with the actual filming. The children have been able to use literacy and numeracy skills to write to businesses for funding and they've just secured £250 from the Principality Building Society in Whitchurch, which is really good." The pupils are very excited about turning their scripts into a film, and even more so to be getting the red carpet treatment when it premieres at Cineworld in three months time.

"The pupils and staff are really excited to be bringing history into the working world and giving pupils an opportunity to be creative and also learn about the world of film-making.

"They have already put such a lot of effort and enthusiasm into the project and can't wait to get started.

"Each and every pupil is involved in some way and all of them got their first or second choice role as we didn't want anyone to be disappointed."

GRAPHIC: Toby Evans, 10, plays the Doctor

Jack Williams,10, also plays the Doctor

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  • APA 6th ed.: Mainwaring, Rachel (2014-01-12). Lights, camera, action!. Wales on Sunday p. 12.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Mainwaring, Rachel. "Lights, camera, action!." Wales on Sunday [add city] 2014-01-12, 12. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Mainwaring, Rachel. "Lights, camera, action!." Wales on Sunday, edition, sec., 2014-01-12
  • Turabian: Mainwaring, Rachel. "Lights, camera, action!." Wales on Sunday, 2014-01-12, section, 12 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Lights, camera, action! | url=,_camera,_action! | work=Wales on Sunday | pages=12 | date=2014-01-12 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=3 March 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Lights, camera, action! | url=,_camera,_action! | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=3 March 2024}}</ref>