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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 530 > TARDIS EVOLUTION

TARDIS EVOLUTION

The ability to change appearance isn’t just confined to the Doctor. Over the years, the TARDIS interior has changed too – sometimes in very subtle ways. The first part of this series begins with a look at a control room that never actually made it to the screen…
A CG reconstruction of how Peter Brachacki’s TARDIS would have looked, if the set had been built to his original design in 1963.

What will the interior of the TARDIS look like when the Thirteenth Doctor takes the controls?

Most fans will be expecting something new. After all, the Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh Doctors all debuted alongside a transformed set, and the Twelfth Doctor redecorated to make the ship his own. (Clara didn’t like it.)

But has it always been this way?

During the show’s original run, attentive viewers may have noticed the walls changing slightly and various upgrades to the console, but was the TARDIS ever truly redesigned back then? The answer to that question is surprising.

On the rare occasions that time and money were spent on the TARDIS set, the ship wasn’t radically overhauled but actually steered back towards its original form. That form, it turns out, could have been very different… n the original TARDIS designed by Peter Brachacki in 1963, a person entering the ship was faced with two hexagonal chambers in the middle of the room: one a Perspex cubicle, the other made up of columns with a canopy above. Beyond these, a console sat within a metal floor hexagon, next to a framework flanked by two rectangular lighting ‘piers’. From the middle of the framework, trapdoors opened in the ceiling, through which a screen would descend.

Behind the frame were pieces of machinery which resembled enormous electronic vacuum-tubes, or valves, which were the high-tech computer components of the day. The wall behind them was adorned with gigantic roundels. At the centre of the console was another of the giant, rounded valves, filled with electronic filaments.

This was a more complex room than the one we’re used to, with different technological components all clustered at one end. As viewed from the doors, the console would have almost blended into the array of machinery behind it, rather than being the focal point of the architecture, as it’s taken to be today.

Despite budget constraints quite a lot of this unfamiliar design actually made it onto the screen, albeit briefly, while other parts of the concept were dropped before construction. The console had to be modified and was positioned slightly further away from the computer bay than planned, but it was still not central to the design. The two hexagonal chambers were omitted, although the canopy was retained, along with its hexagonal ‘footprint’.

Three sections of walls were made with deep, circular windows, each backed with a translucent bowl lit from behind. An additional wall was created by blowing up a photograph of a smaller roundel template – rumoured (somewhat dubiously) to have been a pill packet.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • Exclusive previews of the first two episodes of the new series: The Woman Who Fell to Earth and The Ghost Monument • An excluive new interview with Jodie Whittaker • Showrunner Chris Chibnall's Production Notes • Meet the team responsible for bringing the new series of Doctor Who to our screens • The first part of a series of features looking at the evolution of the TARDIS • An interview with actor and comedian Matt Berry who is recreating the Doctor Who theme for his new album • The Time Team watches Doctor Who episodes featuring the First Doctor • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2006 Tenth Doctor story School Reunion • Discover how tailor Steven Ricks recreated the torn coat worn by the Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors in Twice Upon a Time • The seventh and final part of The Clockwise War, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill • An interview with musician Christian Erickson whose latest album is inspired by 1984's The Caves of Androzani • A competition to win a HUGE bundle of Doctor Who goodies • Previews, reviews, news, The Blogs of Doom, a big prize-winning competition and much, much more!