Doctor Who: thoughts on the new TARDIS interior

News Andrew Blair 20 Dec 2012 - 07:47

Andrew gives us some brief thoughts on Doctor Who's new-look TARDIS interior...

As you may have heard, Doctor Who is getting a modicum of a makeover this Christmas, including a new title sequence and theme music. While those delights await us on Christmas Day, right now we have our first full sight of the new TARDIS interior. 

Our first thought on the new interior set is "Oooh." 

Secondly, and perhaps more helpfully, we think it looks like a cross between the late eighties console (used from The Five Doctors through to Battlefield) and the epic steampunk of the 1996 TV Movie set (certainly when we checked out The Snowmen the other week, it was very much a Davison-era feel that we got from the console of the TARDIS). The walls beneath the roundels are reminiscent of a cathedral. There’s also a touch of Mike Tucker’s miniature made for Doctor Who Night.

It’s got a sterility to it in the photo that feels more like the original series’ main set, which isn’t immediately attractive. It reminds me – and I appreciate not everyone will relate to this - of the cold concrete-enhanced chill of a Nineties-built Scottish First Division football stadium on a November evening. Specifically Forthbank. After the bee-stripe yellow of the previous set, the contrast is decidedly marked. However, once it’s not in a static image and things are exploding, I’m sure we’ll welcome it as we would an old friend. 

The console itself looks like it’s been stolen from a submarine. Maybe it has. The Eighth Doctor would feel right at home next to it, especially in his nice new togs. Meanwhile, the roundels now resemble the eyes of morally ambiguous robots hiding in the TARDIS walls. 

Over to you then: Sterile? Submarine-like? Cathedral-esque? Morally ambiguous robots? Give us your thoughts on the new look in the comments.

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Initial impression is that it looks more like a machine and spaceship like and less sentient and organic than previous new series designs.The last one had a slight nautical quality and the first new series one had a kind of alien submarine look.It's debatable if the set needs to look sentient since i never had a problem considering the classic series console as alive.Sure theres still a hatstand by the door as the eleventh doctor really needs one.Hope the set still has a phone on the console and a chair.The first Doctor even had a chair in his console room.I'll get used to it ,at least it's nothing like the jungle room theme alluded to in time crash,i hope that wasn't the sixth doctor's idea.

I think it makes perfect sense really. Clearly the Doctor has been hugely effected by the deaths of his last companions (something that hasn't happened to him in quite a while...even if the Pond's deaths were slightly more convoluted than most)

It's a stark contrast to the last set...the brightness, flamboyance and just general whimsical feel is gone completely, replaced with darkness & much more gallifreyan elements than normal.

It's basically changed with the Doctor's mood. I really can't wait to see it fully in motion in the episode...especially those circles with gallifreyan apparently spin as it's used.

Looks like a Star Trek fan film set. Cheap, small and clichéd. Maybe it'll look better on the telly.

It's good to see a less cluttered TARDIS

The last one was a bit Twee

I don't know, I'll have to wait and see it on screen to decide if I like it, but more important a question is: Why have they changed it? I don't mind change, but it's got to fit with the story, there has to be a believable reason behind it. Is there one..?

Well it is considered a "desktop setting". If the Doctor has reverted back to a previous state (which it looks like he has), perhaps that is why he reverted to an old-school TARDIS interior. I guess the main reason is that the current TARDIS reminds him of Amy - after all, it changed on their first adventure. The TARDIS interior brought back too many memories - hence the change.

That is my guess anyway!


Simon Brew watched The Snowmen so has seen the new console room in action. I'd like to see what he has to say.

I was never a fan of those "quirky" touches on the last two consoles. Taps and bicycle pumps are perfect for a sketch parodying Doctor Who. Those ideas from almost sounded like they came after somebody said "Wouldn't it be funny if...?"

As a fan of the console debuted in The Five Doctors I approve. I like switches and levers.

This is good, very good echoes of Tom Baker era and less organic (cheap) and more SciFi looking. Now if they can just get the Daleks back on track.....

Exactly my thoughts....hated the taps, pump and gramaphone horn looked stupid. And the brown covers hiding the time rotor...what was the point of goin to all that effort building it, just to cover half of it up with what looked like brown woodgrain sticky backed plastic!
I like the look of the new one...but I am going to wait to see what its like in the show before making a final judgement.

First impressions are good. I'd say that the console itself harks back even further, with its chunky angular look and big knobs and dials - it wouldn't look out of place in a Troughton-era episode, and that's definitely a good thing.

Can't help wondering what the designers seem to have against 'proper' roundels though. They were a constant feature of every control room in the classic series - even the wooden one.

Clichéd? So what you're saying is you don't like it because it looks too much like what it is: the Tardis Console Room? Cheap? I don't think it looks cheap at all. I think it looks fantastic. I welcome the return to the simpler, more classic looking control room. The current one is quite busy...I like it, but this'll make a nice contrast.

The new BBC studios are too small for the old set. This is why there's a change.

No, No, No. It looks like the bathroom of a 1980s 'niteclub' in Hamilton, New Zealand. Sorry but the control room of the TARDIS was finally starting to look entertaining and usable - I liked the last one and Tennant's control room was excellent albeit on a smaller scale.

Hopefully there's more to the room than just this bit - I LIKED the platforms and staircases and the couch.

I like the classic look and closed in feel. But the single row of bright blue roundels is an eye-sore.

It looks like an amalgamation of all the past Tardis console rooms. Based on that photo, we have the clinical white of the walls and console design echoing the classic series, the symmetrical round cavernous shape and mezzanine level of the Eccleston/Tennant era console room, and the raised platform and multi-level staircases of the last Tardis interior design. There's even an element of the steampunk console room of the TV movie. Interesting idea, but I'm going to reserve judgement until I see it in action.

Hmmmm not too keen on it now but as you said, I'm sure I'll learn to love it

I'd never thought of it like a 'desktop setting' before, good analogy. I thought of it more like something which regenerated with the Doctor, since the TARDIS too is alive, but I know the two things have been far from aligned over the years.

Interesting! Why would they build new studios which are smaller? I thought they were boasting about how amazing the new facilities in Cardiff are.

No idea. Probably because the studios are for many types of production, and they didn't factor the Tardis set at Upper Boat into it. I heard about it a year ago that the Smith Tardis set wasn't going to fit. And bear in mind they spent a sh*tload of cash on it just a few years ago.

Unfortunately the Mighty Binos lie bottom of the pile in the 3rd division at the moment, with only a fairly ridiculous win against Rangers for comfort. Still happy for the first ever Albion reference on Den Of Geek. What brought you to Forthbank on a chilly November?

Indeed - the taps, typewriters and so fort did not belong in a vessel created by the race at the zenith of evolution in the galaxy

St Johnstone fan.

I'm curious whether he'll be updating the screwdriver. Last one is clearly styled after his TARDIS interior, so I doubt this new big budget Who will let Hasbro go without.

I'm not sure I'm completely thrilled with the new look. It looks a bit too much "Star Trek" original series to me. Though I do agree the idea of the bicycle pump and typewriter were way too silly. I think the steampunk tv movie version is still my favorite.

And if they show additional rooms....aka the Tardis Libray, that could be pretty sweet.

This is excellent;along with Matts new costume a return to classic who style witha modern update

Big Dr. who fan, but not a immediate fan of the Tardis remodel. I read that they moved the studio and they did not have the room to build a bigger Tardis set.

I really liked the last tardis with the campy dials, switches, bells and whistles.

The new tardis control panels looks flat like star trek, but we really have not seen it in action yet, so like getting used to a new Doctor, I will eventually warm up to the new digs.

I don't mind some aspects of it, but I think that the blue-and-yellow lights have GOT to go; they just look wrong and entirely unnecessary. Also, I think it looks too gloomy, but I guess that's excusable for now, since the Doctor's in kind of a depression himself at the moment. I mean, in the first few Eccleston episodes, the TARDIS console was also dark and gloomy. However, once Smith's Doctor gets back into full swing, I'd like to see some golden lighting in the TARDIS again for a friendlier, warmer view.

I don't mind some aspects of it, but I think that the blue-and-yellow lights have GOT to go; they just look wrong and entirely unnecessary. Also, I think it looks too gloomy, but I guess that's excusable for now, since the Doctor's in kind of a depression himself at the moment. I mean, in the first few Eccleston episodes, the TARDIS console was also dark and gloomy. However, once Smith's Doctor gets back into full swing, I'd like to see some golden lighting in the TARDIS again for a friendlier, warmer view.

Oops, added the same post twice. Silly me.

At any rate, they didn't just add various Earth things like the Gramophonr just for the sake of being quirky; you have to remember, this is the LAST TARDIS; if some part of it breaks, he can't exactly get replacement parts at a Gallifreyan bodyshop; thus, he's had to make do with what he can get his hands on. That's the feeling they were trying to evoke: that it had been "patched up using the contents of a junkyard."

Well, where's he going to go if something breaks in the TARDIS? Gallifrey's long gone, so there's no hope of getting replacement parts.

So, if he gets back in full swing and manages to shrug off the pain, the lighting may become happier and less gloomy? Let's hope so.

I can appreciate them all, but I liked the business, the "lived in" feel of the last two. The room seems smaller, starker, simplistic and colder. It seems obvious that they're doing this retro look to lead up to the 50 year, along with Matt Smith's face making a brief appearance in the nebula cloud of the opening credits. I think it's a generational thing. Younger prefer the newer and older, the retro.

That is exactly what I thought of when I first saw the new set. The doctor has changed and been through a lot, so why would the tardis not also change?

Not to go off topic, but zarathrustra mentioned new clothes, and if we're talking about in the pic above, that was only for the Christmas episode. They've already release pics from further in the season and he's wearing a similar (slightly different color) outfit to his usual getup.

and I can't believe I am saying this, but I miss the glass floor...

Look at the 3rd Doctor's Tardis, he was fixing it up the whole time, and it still didn't have junkyard parts on it. In fact, he would probably yell at the 9th, 10th, an 11th for using incongruous parts. And the 2nd Doctor would just walk in, "I see you've been redecorating...Hmm....don't like it!" to every new version they ever shot out.

The TARDIS that existed in the Amy-Rory era (let's say) was too....un-TARDIS-like. I feel that this new TARDIS is organized and touches on the previous TARDIS models, which is nice to see. The blueish light reminds me of the Eccleston-Tennant era TARDIS, and the Galifreyian (pardon the spelling) symbols are a lovely addition. My only complaint is that it feels slightly too small, and as Miss Oswald stated, "It's smaller on the outside". The TARDIS seems to have...shrunk?
Looking forward to Jenna-Lou's performance and what twists occur.

I liked the past two TARDIS console rooms - especially the last one, I know that half the objects in the previous console were unnecessary - i.e. a car coolant receptacle - but it was entertaining, it was the madness of the Doctor in a room! Although it could be strongly argued that a TARDIS console constructed by an advanced species should look like this - The TARDIS is a being in it's own right, and after being so long with the Doctor I though it odd for the console room to hail back (to an extent) to the times of William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton...


I quite like the design, but I have to say that it looks a little CGI, like they tried to give it a really hi-tech up-grade and didn't have enough budget to make it look real, hope they only used a prototype for the snowmen, and that it will improve later on...

I see the Doctor's become enamored with Krell design.

Sorry but this version looks awful, uncomfortable and sterile, like you shouldn't touch any of it. The last interior was warm and homely with loads of interesting stuff going on it it and beautiful lighting, this new interior doesn't suit Matt's doctor, maybe it will suit the next doctor better. But the 'orange one' is defiantly my favorite :D

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