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The TARDIS Console Room

Down through the Years

By Alden Bates

The TARDIS console room has changed numerous times over the history of the show. Sometimes the console was modified or replaced and sometimes the rest of the room was altered.

In the beginning, back in An Unearthly Child, the console room was large. Scattered around the room were pieces of art, furniture and the fault locator. A light fixture hung from the ceiling. The console itself was painted light green, which showed up white when viewed in black and white. This console is the one pictured on the cover of the Target novelisation The Edge of Destruction. The central column could rise, fall and rotate.

In The Chase a workroom adjoining the console room appeared where the Doctor worked on the visualiser. This console room continued on relatively unchanged until The War Games.

The console appeared outside the TARDIS in The Ambassadors of Death with the central column devoid of its internal workings. It reappeared in Inferno which was to be this console's last appearance, with the internal workings back in. Most of the lights had ceased to function.

In The Claws of Axos a new console was introduced. This was smaller than the original and had a blue neon column which was unable to rotate as the original had done. A corridor linked the main doors and the exterior police box doors however this feature vanished after this story. The scanner was just a roundel on the wall, but returned to being a TV set for Colony in Space.

A new-set of TARDIS-walls appeared in The Time Monster. These were inset with bowl-shaped roundels and the scanner itself was once again a roundel.

Another new set of walls appeared in The Three Doctors. The roundels were back to their old shape but were translucent to give a feeling of open space when lit from behind. The scanner was once again a TV set and one wall was similar in appearance to the transporter room set in Star Trek. A set of bunks and a storage locker were added for Frontier in Space and Planet of the Daleks. In Death to the Daleks the 'Star Trek wall' had disappeared.

In Planet of Evil the console was altered and a red fluorescent column fitted. The scanner had disappeared.

In The Masque of Mandragora the secondary console room first appeared. The walls were wood-panelled, and the scanner screen was set into the wall behind sliding panels. A small set of stairs led up to the door at the rear. The console was small with wooden panels which hid the controls and there was no central column. The console was surrounded by brass railings.

The original console room reappeared in The Invisible Enemy. This featured the same console as seen before The Masque of Mandragora but had different walls. The scanner was no inset in the wall and the roundels were smaller and lit with a yellow light. Notably in The Invasion of Time the column remained stationary whilst the TARDIS was in flight.

During the Key to Time season, a black walled area adjacent to the console room housed the safe used to store the segments of the key. A storage locker also appeared in The Androids of Tara.

The walls were rebuilt for Meglos with Greek pillars at the corners. The central column was altered for Warriors' Gate; the number of neon tubes was reduced from six to three, and random flashing lights were added to the interior. The column's movements had been jerky since Meglos and it was not until Castrovalva that the problem was fixed. A pop-up keyboard on the console first appeared in Logopolis and continued until Four to Doomsday after which it was removed.

In The Five Doctors a completely new console room appeared. The walls had square pillars in the corners. The console itself was larger with a column reminiscent of the original. The walls and console became a light grey colour instead of the previously customary gleaming white.

This console room remained unchanged until Battlefield, in which the room was darkened with backlit walls. The console room has not appeared on screen since.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).