I enjoyed doing the Sonic Screwdriver article so much, that I thought I might do a similar one about the Tardis. Well for this particular list I will focus on the Tardis interiors rather than the Police Box design variants. Might save that for another list. Anyway here goes.
Season One to Six
The main recurring features of the Tardis control room are the roundels on the walls, the six-sided console itself, with the time rotor that moves up and down in the centre. These things are all established in this original design. It is a very clean design, and even though it only really appears in black and white, you get the feeling that it is usually a bright, shiny interior.
Something specific to this design is the Fault Locator. It is a large computer along one of the walls. Mainly appearing in the First Doctor’s era, it assisted in locating faults with the ship (,as the name suggests).
At this point the roundels on the walls don’t have a purpose other than for decoration. Two of the walls features three-dimensional roundels, including on the doors; while the other is a drape with printed roundels. Although this was possibly a money saving tactic, it does help to keep the room feeling interesting. The interior doors made no reference to the exterior Police Box doors at all, and opened via a control on the console.
The viewscreen in this interior was just a small monitor. It first appeared to be near the Fault Locator, but its appearance and location altered throughout its use.
The console room does have doors leading into other rooms, and we do get to see what some of them are. One of them is a type of relaxation room, with a sofa and a food machine nearby. Another room that just appears in The Web Planet, is a small science lab. It joins directly onto the console room.
I like to imagine that there is some kind of lever on the console which grants you access by lifting or lowering a wall – hence its disappearance before and after. There are also corridors seen leading to other rooms, like bedrooms with fold-down beds and miscellaneous work rooms. As a final note, I feel that it would be amiss not to mention the set recreations featured in An Adventure in Space and Time drama. Take a look at them in stunning colour.
Now, in Season Seven, the Third Doctor had been exiled to Earth and we didn’t see inside the Tardis. But the Doctor takes the console outside of the ship to work on it, so we see it in a couple of workshops. The console itself is the same prop but has been changed slightly with silver panels added. The Doctor ended up trying to repair the console, resulting in him travelling to a parallel universe temporarily.
By Season Eight, the Doctor was going to start Tardis travelling again, and so the set was brought out of storage. The console however, was completely remade, with added red and green lights in the time rotor and red lines connecting panels, like a circuit board.
In The Claws of Axos, we are reintroduced to the Tardis interior which now seems quite a bit smaller.
It appears to contain several of the old set dressings, the wooden chair and the bird book-stand. There is also a large computer desk seen in the picture above, which I believe is a new addition.
During this time period the console has a turbulent time. In the opening story it is back in a workshop being fixed.
Then in The Curse of Peladon we see the old Tardis interior for the last time. The roundel drapes are replaced by a new design completely. It still features the same console that had been made for the previous season.
This design probably would have lasted if it wasn’t for the fact that after this story, the set was irretrievably damaged in storage. And so this set only features for one story.
Opening with the 10th Anniversary story, The Three Doctors; the Tardis set was redesigned again. It was very reminiscent of the original, with roundel walls and a wall hinting at a Fault Locator behind it.
In Planet of the Daleks, we see that there are bedroom-style wardrobes in the console room. They feature pull-out beds and we even learn that there are oxygen tanks in the Tardis.
The next time we see the Tardis, the console is a brand new model again, with a screen being placed on the 5th panel and all of it being a bit more colourful. Other than that, the design is fairly similar to previous editions. For the first time since the first console room, we get to see doors leading to other rooms. The doors look indented to make them look different to the front doors
Unfortunately this design was only seen in two stories before we were shown deeper parts of the Tardis, including the Secondary Control Room.
Straight away this season, we get to see proper Tardis corridors. This is while Sarah has a little snoop around the extra rooms in the ship. She stumbles across the Secondary Control Room. This room is then used instead for a few stories.
The Doctor also suggests that he used this control room originally. The console doesn’t have a time rotor in the middle, but a shaving mirror instead. The six compartments open up revealing buttons and possessions. There are wooden chairs similar to the one in the Hartnell control room. The scanner screen has a fixed place built into the wall. It can be opened and closed via the console.
Season Fifteen to Nineteen
The Doctor and Leela decide to move back to the Primary Control Room at the start of this season. The console is the modified one from Season Thirteen. It has red strips between panels instead of raised borders from before. The room itself is different completely. For the first time we have columns in between wall panels. This is the first console set to be used regularly since the 1960s.
The roundels on the walls are no longer lit up; they are a permanent shade of cream.
In The Invasion of Time, we get the opportunity to see some of the deeper parts of the Tardis. However, they were mostly filmed on location in a hospital. And so most of the rooms don’t really fit in with the themes established so far.
We also get to have a look at a couple of rooms during the late Baker / early Davison era.
Ah yes, and the roundels are now shown to have maintenance panels behind them, or at least some of them.
A few companion rooms are seen around this time too.
While the set remained essentially the same, the console itself was given a major upgrade. Once again, it allowed it to seem a lot more bright and colourful.
Season Twenty One to Twenty Six
For the show’s 20th Anniversary, the entire console room was redesigned. It featured a new console made up of mostly switches and a whole new set. Many of the console sides now had monitors on them too. This console room was used by the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors.
We get another few glimpses of the Tardis Wardrobe too.
This version of the console room was used for such a long time that it began falling into disrepair. It would have been due for an upgrade but the show was cancelled before it got the chance.
When Doctor Who came back for one night only, the console room reflected the change in budget. Long gone were the wobbly time rotors and big red levers. It was time for the Tardis to have the biggest redesign so far.
It wasn’t just the unique console that we were treated to in the Television Movie. We also got to see the Eye of Harmony. The room was made up to look like an old cathedral.
The War Doctor’s Console
Chronologically for the Doctor, this is the console room that he had next. He used it during the Time War against the Daleks. It looked very similar to the Console Room to follow, but also contained the white roundels of the past.
Series One to Four
When the series came back in 2005, it came with a new Tardis and new Doctor. Story-wise the design of the Tardis looks great, since it seems to have evolved naturally from that of the War Doctor. The console is made up of six panels as always, however the console is more circular than any other previously. The actual controls on the console are mostly made of junk for example, bicycle pumps, car handbrake etc. It is a more natural and living feel than previous designs with coral-type columns and orange glowing light.
Different directors preferred different lighting. In fact the cliffhanger for the end of Doomsday was shot twice, once for the ending and once for the introduction to the next episode. This is because the two different directors preferred the Tardis lit in different ways.
With this version of the Tardis interior, we only got the chance to glimpse at another interior room. The Wardrobe was now massive in comparison to other looks. It had multiple levels, spiraling staircases and racks and racks of clothing from all eras.
When the Tenth Doctor was regenerating, the energy was so powerful that it completely destroyed the console, in a way that nothing ever has before.
Series Five to Seven
When the Tardis rebuilt itself, it was in an even bigger design than before. Multiple levels were now visible and frequently used. The golden colour scheme remained the same, but everything else was new. The console was now more hexagonal but still made up of strange things such as a typewriter, bell, telephone and gramophone.
Different staircases were designed to lead into multiple Tardis corridors deeper into the ship. There was a lower level below the glass floor where the Doctor could work on the console, and upper levels which also let to corridors.
The aforementioned corridors were only seen in one story in which the Tardis entity is taken over. This means that the corridors are more sinister and probably more green than they would usually appear.
Just before the Eleventh Doctor stopped using this design, there was a new archway with a web-like design visible. It has never been explained what the plan with that new archway would have been.
Series Seven to Ten
After the Eleventh Doctor had lost the Ponds as companions, he decided he wanted to go for a more serious looking console room. This lead to more metallic colours and a more classic design.
The upper level leading to other rooms and lower level for tinkering still exist, and are made better. We are also shown other rooms briefly.
When the Eleventh Doctor regenerated into the Twelfth, the Tardis stayed the same, but he made some tweaks. The console room changed from a greenish colour to a warmer orange, with bookshelves and chalkboards appearing too.
There we have it. They are all of the Doctor’s Tardis interiors so far. I will probably add to this list at some point, and even make a separate one about other Tardises appearances too. But for now that’s it. The Capaldi Tardis is currently my favourite, especially with the more homely looks and the multiple levels. I can imagine it being a very comfortable place to be while flying around all of time and space.