The TARDIS on Display
By Edwin Patterson
It is now possible for members of the public to view the police box and the TARDIS console room purpose-built for the currently screening New Zealand Superannuation Services television commercials starring Tom Baker.
Impressed with the quality of the set, and wishing to reinforce the Doctor Who theme of their advertising campaign, Superannuation Services have erected the police box and TARDIS console room within the company's offices located at 10-12 Teed Street, Newmarket, Auckland.
To get to the console room you must enter through the police box, which stands against one wall with its blue light flashing. This arrangement is very impressive, as you can see the console directly through the open doors, giving a magical effect. The console room is very realistic, with lit roundels on the walls and even an inner door. As seen in some of the television commercials, the console only has three completed panels, however the uncompleted panels face the wall (so as not to wreck any photo opportunities!). The most striking aspect is how different the set looks in real life - obviously 35mm film and atmospheric lighting has hidden many of the shortcomings of the set. For instance the police box is a markedly lighter shade of streaked blue than seen, with a dark grey information panel. In fact, all of the set has similarly streaked paint.
The purpose of the display is to provide a tour for people willing to sign up for the superannuation scheme. When fully operational, the set will have information panels on the wall reinforcing the 'Plan for the future' message, with comparisons of 1960s, 1990s and 2010 food prices and inflation charts. Running continuously on the scanner screen will be all of the television adverts and the background music in the room will be Doctor Who-related (the TARDIS hum etc).
The Operations Manager at NZ Superannuation Services was initially unaware of the potential attraction the display presents to Doctor Who fans. This is the closest that anyone will ever come to entering TARDIS in New Zealand, so for your own enjoyment and the opportunity of a photo of yourself at the TARDIS console, I recommend paying a visit to this unique display.
Photographs by Darrell and Edwin Patterson
This item appeared in TSV 50 (February 1997).