Season 10 of Doctor Who was the first in the long-running series to show off its sustainability credentials on-screen. The ‘albert Sustainable Production’ end credits logo reflects the actions that the production team have taken to make this their greenest series so far.
The first programme produced in this run was the Christmas Special which TX’d in December 2016. The ‘New York’ scenes were filmed at in a studio in Bulgaria but they managed to cut their carbon emissions by flying out a minimal crew from the UK and hiring most of their crew locally. They also sourced much of their filming equipment in Bulgaria, only flying out their camera kit. The production saved around £11,000 on flights and accommodation by using local crew and £1,500 on fuel costs not having to drive all their kit from the UK. Their overall carbon emissions savings from all these actions are estimated at 35 tonnes.
For all the programmes in this series, the production have also chosen a variety of other green travel options: crew were encouraged to car-share; they booked cab companies with hybrid cars and chose low carbon emission cars when hiring from Enterprise; and several of the crew walk or cycle to work. Guest cast members are asked to travel to Cardiff by train for fittings and filming (most are based in London) saving approx. £15,000 on car mileage costs and 15 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Cast and crew can choose to have scripts emailed rather than printed and they can opt for A5 sized rather than A4, which saves paper. All printing is done on sustainably sourced paper. The production also uses the Huddle on line file sharing system to reduce the need for printed paperwork to be circulated at all. The production team also bought rechargeable AA and AAA batteries and encouraged everyone in the sound department to use these to save on materials and waste. Cast and crew were encouraged to use mugs and re-usable bottles and to refill with tap water rather than buying new ones. And on set the maximum amount of waste was recycled.
Everyone on the production team was encouraged to be energy efficient, switching off kit whenever possible and using renewable energy options where they could. Roughly 60% of the lighting used on studio sets was low energy: fluorescent Kino Flo lamps have replaced Tungstens, compact fluorescent tubes have replaced space lights and for some time and LED panels are gaining popularity.
Other companies that supply Doctor Who were also asked about their green credentials. Their caterers followed sustainable guidelines around sourcing food and avoiding disposables. Whenever possible, hotels were chosen based on whether or not they had sustainability policies.
The Doctor Who production team have been measuring the carbon emissions of their series since 2012 using albert’s carbon foot printing software for TV production that has become a UK TV standard. The BBC studios at Roath Lock in Cardiff where Doctor Who is filmed, were built to a high environmental standard with a BREEAM outstanding rating. They have solar panels on the roof and rainwater is harvested for re-use.