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back to article The TARDIS through the ages

The TT Type 40, Mark 3 – it sounds like a motorbike made by BSA. But it is, as any fan will tell you, it is the model of the Doctor’s TARDIS, in which he departed without permission from Time Lord homeworld Gallifrey between 700 and 900 years ago – though we space-and-science-fiction nerks only got to start tuning in in 1963. …

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Headmaster

Enormous flight deck

The enormous flight deck was introduced with Paul McGann's doctor (that Americanized single-episoder is still officially part of the mythos!). It's about the only part of that reimagining that stuck.

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Alien

Ahh Dr Who

Classic of classics!

Bravo.

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Holmes

Too late!

"So expect the TARDIS to appear as a full-time attractive policewoman...."

They did that in the BBC 8th Doctor novels. Can't remember the stories 'she' appeared in but I'm off to search the interwebs.

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Human-like TARDIS

<nerd> She was called Compassion. Introduced in Interference, turned into a TARDIS at the end of Shadows of Avalon, and runs off in the Ancestor Cell. The first human-like TARDIS appears in Alien Bodies, where she is from the Time Lords future, and comes complete with continent destroying weapons systems. </nerd>

I've spent too much time reading spin-offs.

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TRT
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They're not breasts...

they're Dalek bumps.

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Holmes

That's right

Yes that's right. I spent too much time reading them but I seem to have forgotten the details.

And 'they' complain that The Moff has made Who hard to follow.

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TRT
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Coat

As for developing...

the character of the TARDIS, I'm sure there's plenty of room in it.

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William Hartnell once had a problem with a stuck switch that took him back to the start of time.

And the line 'Oh I don't know, I've seen bigger boot cupboards' will live with me for a long time.

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Anonymous Coward

How amazing that you should remember that.

>"William Hartnell once had a problem with a stuck switch that took him back to the start of time."

I wonder if the paragraph outlining the story details and the big close-up picture of the switch in question on the first page of the article prompted your memory at all?

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who knows. I've not been well.

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It does show us one thing...

It seems that back in the days we could use our fantasy much more than we can now. Back then bits and snippets were more than enough to visualize the Tardis while many TV & film producers nowadays feel the need to show and explain the whole thing in every little bit of detail, right to the level where it gets a bit absurd.

Whether this is for get better of worse is something I can't answer. I enjoyed quite a few of the new Doctor Who episodes (last season I saw was with Amy Pond) though also considered some a little bit over the top. But then again; same applies to some of the older episodes; and I don't refer to the shows being a bit slower or less "action packed".

My main "gripe" with the modern Doctor Who is that it sometimes tries to be too perfect for my taste. Like the Amy Pond episode; the whole re-run timeline at the end was pretty fun. But if you do that you can be certain that people are going to dig into it to see if the whole thing matches and fits.

When compared to my favorite Anime series to date (Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex) you too see a very intermingled storyline where small details turn out to be very big clues, but without the theatrics. A small detail is just that; a detail yet with a certain importance to it. In order to check it out you'll just have to see the episode again and get baffled at the way it fits together.

With Dr. Who otoh. it seems as if they desperately try to make the whole thing fit together and hardly leave anything for the viewer to be curious about (apart from the things which they /want/ you to be curious about).

Still, all in all sometimes I think we're talking the whole thing too serious and let ourselves forget that in the end its all entertainment.

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Facepalm

Tardis

The Tardis is cool but my favourite part is when Tom Baker (4th Doctor) offered Davros a Jelly Baby!

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Coat

Missing Ceefax...

I miss cassette tapes more, and even then I don't miss them at all!

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Why the rage at the end?

After all the American Dr Who movie featuring Paul McGann was a fantastic, well scripted film that paid all due care and homage to the series.

(Your new sarcasm detectors are in the post, sorry about the overload.)

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It was a decent Who plot and not a bad script. However the production itself was apalling.

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Presumably

It was redesigned because someone nicked the original when it was on tour. Though when I visited it, I didn't think it was the original, but more mock-up done by someone who had glanced at it once.

I do remember Ian & Barbara being suspicious of Susan's answers and wanting to meet her Grandfather and following her.

Even as a small kid that seemed like a couple of massive plot holes, I may have missed part that made it more believable:

1) Why was she at School /College?

2) How did she get enrolled without address, biirth cert etc?

Someone once said the Best SF is where there is only one "unbelievable" fact . Of course Dr. Who isn't SF now, if it was once. Sort of a rubbish mixture of Horror and Teenage drama now. I guess it gets such good ratings because the dilution of Multichannel T, Reality TV, Soaps, phone in and such that TV is generally now so poor we are reduced to to watch DVD box sets.

If there are repeats of any good programs they are either on daytime or pay tv.

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She did have an address, it was the scrapyard where the TARDIS was parked. And presumably she was at school so she could learn like a human child and fit in. At the time they didn't know how long they would be living there.

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Psychic

paper?

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"How did she get enrolled...?"

...obviously, an early (though unseen) application of "psychic paper".

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As I recall, it was explained: Susan was learning about human culture. She was also learning how to fit in and failing. As a 'child' this could be dismissed as attention seeking or wild imagination. An adult would have a much harder time explaining it. So it would make sense for Susan to mingle with different races/cultures so she could learn to blend in.

The Doctor had somehow acquired property so had an address. A birth certificate isn't hard to get around if you consider the technology available (or just claim it was lost). Also, consider where the Doctor obtained his wealth from to buy that property - he had to have valid resources or a very effective method of forging money/documents etc.

In all, Susan being at school is not unbelievable.

Anyhow, now I know what I'm doing tonight... watching the film again to check :p

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Anonymous Coward

Didn't need paper...

In the good old days, if you turned up in front of an official's desk looking like a man, a woman, a child, you were treated as such. 'Prima facie' evidence was enough for most circumstances.

Ah, the good old days, bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!

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Coat

Massive, massive geek alert

IIRC later model TARDISes can actually look like people.

/Mine's the one with the sonic screwdriver in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Everything in the recent Dr's I have seen has been overheated and...

...overproduced. Too much intrusive music. Too much overhyped emotion turning it into a sort of temporal Eastenders - maybe a 'Time Opera'. I miss the coolness (in the older sense) of the earlier series.

Regarding the Tardis, what has been lost is the obvious maternal imagery. The Tardis was the 'mother' ship to its occupants, an impregnable womb. Uneasiness among young and not-so-young viewers grew as it was left further behind in the serial. Became an almost physical discomfort when it was stolen or took off independently into the void.

So, if the Tardis becomes incarnate in the American version it shouldn't be represented by some dolly in a police uniform, boots and a shooter. It would be better represented by a plump, middle-aged motherly sort who can dab temporal TCP on the Dr's time-wounds.

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Stop

Yikes

Turning the Tardis into some inter-dimensional wet-nurse is a different kind of film altogether :/

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TRT
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WTF?

How... what... I mean... where's the door?

The TARDIS as a woman? That brings a whole new literal level to the phrase "waving a sausage in the Albert Hall".

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But will she be bigger on the insi...

Sorry, forget I even said that.

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Tardis as a plain Police Box

The episode where Billy Piper goes back to 1987 (despite the presence of a mid 90s Vauxhall Combo and E36 beemer) to save her da from a Chevette.

She watches it then goes back and pushes her da out of the road. The bad guy from Gone in 60 seconds is raging, then storms back to the Tardis, but it has converted into a Police Box. At this point he realises all is not well in the world.

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upvote for Gone in 60s reference!

Ecclestone has had a mixed career (All right as Jesus, superb in the Shadow Line). I don't think he did well in Dr Who, but then I don't think the rest of Dr Who did well (tho I'm hypercritical of the whole thing). Anyway. Maybe he did as well as he could with the Gone in 60s script (neither Cage nor Jolie could boast either), but the Shelby Mustang was the true star of that film.

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Who you callin' Beatle-mopped...

...you 3 Stooges denier.

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This is how

> How did she get enrolled without address, biirth cert etc?

Pyschic paper, of course.

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Back in the '60s you just turned up at school. You didn't need no steeking bits of paper. Part of the plot was that Ian and Barbara were getting suspicious with all of Susan's avoidences of formal documentation of her existance, so they followed her home to do their pastoral duty of check out her family background.

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FAIL

the next TARDIS will be a pram

each Doctor now gets younger and more spastic. If this evolution persists, we'll end up next with a Justin Bieberish lad who's strung out on too many espressos. After that, a Doctor toddler who's cursed with Tourette's bouncing off the wall spouting "fantastic" two or three times a second for the whole episode.

give me a Doctor capable of appearing and speaking with decorum again, please? the arrogance of a Time Lord is barely palatable when they're at least physically mature. Hearing that from a frat-boy class cut-up is annoying. I spend episodes awaiting more Amy in short skirts and Rory being a either a henpecked hubby or a raging God of War.

The last two Doctors, do not instill fear when they are angry. It looks like temper tantrums. When Baker went off, you felt like the Principal was going to tell your parents you misbehaved. When Ecclestone raged, you *knew* someone or some race was going to die badly. Now, you just look at the Doctors and think, "The only reason you are remotel capable of looking down on anyone is because of the giants' shoulders you have been placed upon."

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Anonymous Coward

"hilariously OTT regeneration"

Really? I thought it was perfection.

If your entire biological mass is very quickly torn apart and then reassembled in a different configuration I would expect that to be quite exothermic and violent.

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DJO
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Alien

Not 100% certain but I think the welsh dresser and the roman columns were the Masters (or possibly Ranis) TARDIS while the doctors one has only ever been blue.

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"Attack of the Cybermen" in 1986 - The Doctor briefly repairs the chameleon circuit, but does something of a botch job on it, with the end result being a series of external shell disguises even more out of place than the original Police Box, such as the aforementioned Welsh dresser, and old Organ with working keys (IIRC), and a fairly elaborate doorway set into a random wall in a cyber tomb on Telos. At the end of the story, the changes are rolled back, and never spoken of again.

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Sink plungers

I have no problem with the egg whisk controls. They are merely icons of the best possible user interface for the purpose.

The Tardis, like much Gallifreyan technology such as the Doctor's magic wand, has a telepathic interface providing many services including translation and flight control.

The console/control room, like your computer interface, can be designed to appear in any way you like, according to the owner's whims. It doesn't even need to feature a console. The actual Tardis command interface is telepathic. The physical controls are a metaphor, rather than physically connected to anything, where the physical manipulation confirms the intended action of the user. This requirement for physical action is to prevent the mere thought of something happening without actually meaning it. For example, launching all the missiles, or setting the controls for the heart of the sun, could be a bad thing to do if the idea merely crossed your mind.

The physical controls metaphorically control the functionality the user expects/thinks/believes them to, so to an observer the slidy/tweaky/plungy object's apparent functionality can vary over time depending on the user.

The telepathic user interface is designed and "tuned" for Time Lords, which is why only Time Lords can fly a Tardis. That, and the security software.

The brake fluid reservoir of the current design is probably some metaphorical level indicator. Possibly of brake fluid.

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In the 2007 Children In Need...

... Doctor Who special (The one with Peter Davidson and David Tenant), Davidson's incarnation comments "You've changed the Desktop Theme [...] What is is one? Coral?" :-)

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But wait....

Haven't we seen humans fly it recently...?

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Facepalm

Stop this now!

Don't you fools realise that every time someone says 'Dr Who' Michale Grade drowns another kitten?

Bugger! That's another one gone.

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TRT
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And, AND...

If the TARDIS ever were to be rendered as a real life woman of the female persuasion, as it were, even then and, AND even with the ability to navigate the space-time vortex, it would STILL take 30 minutes in the bathroom when there's only 5 minutes to go before the time you booked the table for.

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Anonymous Coward

"If the TARDIS ever were to be rendered as a real life woman of the female persuasion"

She has. The Doctor's Wife episode by Neil Gaiman. She was delightful.

Albeit a very temporary arrangement.

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TRT
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That wasn't the TARDIS, that was the sentient part of the TARDIS inhabiting another body temporarily. In that form it was devoid of space-time travel capacity (at least travel beyond the usual up/down, left/right, backwards/forwards, 1 second per second only travel that us meat bags can manage).

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Anonymous Coward

I know ...

But she was beautiful and completely, deliciously kooky.

I also know that wasn't her "real" personality --- it was her personality through the distorting mirror of being forced to inhabit a human form.

But still. Sigh ...

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Joke

Stahlman's Gas?

Must have been a typo. And its probably something I wouldnt want to smell.

Probably the stench of wet gnu with a dash of raw Penguin.

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Coat

They wouldn't really

have the TAR|DIS as a woman would they? I mean, how would they manage to park it?

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If it was an American woman

They'd need a very large parking space.

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Anonymous Coward

Lots of planets have a North.

I'm from the North. Lots of planets have a North.

"Eccleston has had a mixed career ... I don't think he did well in Dr Who"

Eccleston as the Doctor made Saturday evening TV a must-see for me for the first time in a very very long time. Those that followed... sorry guys, no comparison.

"When Eccleston raged ..."

I'm very cross... GO TO YOUR ROOM!

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The "optional hat stand"...

...is mandatory.

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I miss Ceefax too.

It was the best thing on the telly, I don't like this digital stuff.

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