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Thinking Outside T he Box

This first-hand account reveals how the 1960s TARDIS prop was painstakingly recreated for the Christmas Special.
TARDIS builders Matt Sanders (above) and Tony Farrell.

On Saturday 9 June 2007 I went to a Doctor Who convention, and in the evening we all watched the first broadcast of the episode Blink. At one point DI Billy Shipton (Michael Obiora) points out that the TARDIS isn’t a real police box: “The phone’s just a dummy, and the windows are the wrong size.” The convention audience thought this was very funny indeed.

As a police box devotee, I knew that writer Steven Moffat was making a sly reference to online debates about the unexpected proportions of the police box in recent series. Little did I know that those proportions would play a role in my own TV career…

Ten years later I was the Art Department draftsman on the 2017 series of Doctor Who, responsible for drawing up such sets as the Chasm Forge mining station, the Vatican library, the Monks’ pyramids, the Ice Warrior hive, the Iron-Age cairn, the Mondas spaceship and the roof of the Cyberman hospital… And then came the Christmas Special, Twice Upon a Time.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

New year, new Doctor... We have an exclusive interview with the newly regenerated Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker! Plus new showrunner Chris Chibnall writes exclusively for DWM. Doctor Who Magazine 521 also includes: • An interview with Twice Upon a Time director Rachel Talalay, who talks us through Peter and Jodie's regeneration scene • DWM's Twice Upon a Time set report and review • An interview with 'John Smith', Doctor Who fan turned visual effects pro working on the Twelfth Doctor's final adventures • A tribute to Dudley Simpson, Doctor Who's prolific composer from 1964 to 1980 • Highlights of Dudley Simpson's Doctor Who scores • A first-hand account of how the 1960s TARDIS prop was recreated for Twice Upon a Time • Writer and illustrator Adam Hargreaves explains how his Mr Men entered the world of Doctor Who • Part three of The Phantom Piper, our new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill • Fact of Fiction explores the 1977 Fourth Doctor story The Face of Evil • Previews, book, audio and DVD reviews, news, the DWM Christmas Quiz answers, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!