Doctor Who: The Many Faces of the TARDIS

In the latest episode of Doctor Who, Rory and Amy got a glimpse of the (recent) past – the interior of the TARDIS as it was during the Russell T Davies years (pictured above, and affectionately known as the “Coral” TARDIS).  Turns out Sexy TARDIS has been archiving these console “desktops” all along, and she’s got at least thirty from the past, present and future.

Well, as we’ve seen even in the modern incarnation of the show, the TARDIS doesn’t change with every new Doctor, but there have still been some changes over the years.  What are some of the “desktops” we know to exist?

Hartnell’s TARDIS

Originally, the TARDIS had a very subtle design, with muted shades of gray… Okay, I know that’s a terrible joke.  The truth is, this TARDIS is indeed the prototype, and every other TARDIS stays pretty faithful to this design. I hope the chairs have gotten more comfortable, though. How can someone be so austere in his furnishings but so flamboyant in his fashion?




Secondary TARDIS control room

See, there’s a precedent for secondary control rooms!  Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor used this one as his primary for a little while.  It had wood paneling (how very groovy) and stained glass.  I feel like the Doctor needs a pipe, a globe and a wall of bookshelves to make this one complete.




I Love the 80s

The 1980s saw the TARDIS look less like a house and more like a spaceship.  The sleek white look would be dated for nearly twenty years, until Apple made it their own.  I will say I’m struck by how much more orderly this console is – it really makes everything pop off the surface.  And again, perhaps the bright white does make for the perfect backdrop to show off the totally bitchin’ outfits.





Victorian Alien Chamber of Love

The TV movie, which attempted to update the series for the gritty, angsty 90s,  was suboptimal in a lot of ways, but many agree that the one neat bit was the TARDIS.  It really thought outside the box when it came to the TARDIS, perhaps opening the door for the later designs, and it was kind of perfect for a grungy, yet romantic era.  Uhoh, I’ve brought up romance within the context of Doctor Who – I’ll stop before I break out in hives.





This might not be our Sexy TARDIS, but it’s a bonus: the TARDIS of the Rani, an evil female Time Lord (insert River Song joke here) who’s embroiled the Doctor in wacky hijinks on more than one occasion.  This shot’s from the 1980′s – can you tell?





Home Sweet TARDIS

And, of course, there’s the familiar orange-and-plexiglass version that we’ve come to associate with the Eleventh Doctor.  I like this one quite a bit, though favorite TARDIS “desktops” can get as contentious as favorite Doctor incarnations.  Still, this one seems more friendly to me.






Now, obviously I haven’t covered every tweak over the years.  Plus, there are more descriptions of the TARDIS in other mediums, like the novels (though whether or not that’s canon is an entirely different discussion).  The Fifth Doctor even mentioned a leopard-print desktop theme!  That’s one I’m glad I haven’t witnessed.  What’s your favorite TARDIS “desktop”?  What would you like to see in the future?

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