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Time Machines

T.A.R.D.I.S. - Blue Police Call Box that can travel to any planet, or to any time in history on the British science fiction series DOCTOR WHO/BBC/1963-89.

T.A.R.D.I.S. Police Call Box - DOCTOR WHO

The TA.R.D.I.S. (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) carried Time Lord Doctor Who about the universe as he explored strange new species and battled evil.

Its piloting system is controlled by a six-sided central console panel that includes such gadgets as:

  • The Master Control Panel
  • The Dematerialization Panel
  • The Exterior Monitor Panel
  • The Navigational Control Panel
  • Auxiliary Systems Panel
  • The Informational Controls Panel

The ship's time rotor (a transparent cylindrical column that rises and falls during each flight) is located at the center of the control console. Above the control console is the power octagon that links with its power source.

While traveling through time and space, the Doctor uses a scanner located behind the control console to view the world that exists outside of the TA.R.D.I.S..

T.A.R.D.I.S. Controls - Earlier episodes - DOCTOR WHO

T.A.R.D.I.S. controls in earlier episodes

T.A.R.D.I.S. Controls - Later episodes - DOCTOR WHO
T.A.R.D.I..S. controls in later episodes

The TA.R.D.I.S. is the by-product of the research of the great Time Lords Rassilon and Omega whose experiments with energy from a exploding super nova lead to the construction of an prototype time-machine whose interior existed in a permanent artificial alternative dimension (PAAD). This means the inside of the time machine exist in one dimension while its exterior exists in another.

Dubbed the SIDRAT, the machine was powered by Zyton-7 crystals, imbedded within the master control rods that allowed access to the space-time vortex. The crystal energy supply for the SIDRAT (later to called a TA.R.D.I.S.) was replaced by a transcendental link with the "Eye of Harmony" (a power source-raw artron energy-emanating from the core of a collapsed black hole).

The TA.R.D.I.S. (one of 305 Type 40TT produced) featured such gadgets as a Chameleon Circuit that adapted the TARDIS' appearance to any surrounding. When the Doctor first absconded with the TA.R.D.I.S., it's faulty chameleon circuit was stuck in the shape of a blue police box and remained in that shape for the life of the series.

Since the interior of the TARDIS exists in an other dimension, it can be manipulated to be as large as needed supplying rooms, and hallways for storage and living areas.

The Doctor remotely controlled the TA.R.D.I.S. through mind control and gained access to it with a key or his special ring. In case of emergency, theTA.R.D.I.S. could be programmed to self-destruct. It can also take off from any angle. The TA.R.D.I.S. can also track the path of another time traveler; and generate an external gravity tractor beam and defense shield.

On episode No. 17 "The Time Meddler," the Doctor got irritated when Steven, one of his passengers asked, "Well, what does that do?" The Doctor quickly explained "That is the dematerialising control. And that over there is the horizontal hold. Up there is the scanner, those are the doors, that is a chair with a panda on it. Sheer poetry, dear boy. Now please stop bothering me."

When the evil Timelord known as the Master stole the TA.R.D.I.S., he complained "Overweight, underpowered museum-piece...Might as well try to fly a second-hand gas stove." On episode No. 153 "The Happiness Patrol" a gay man painted the TA.R.D.I.S. pink.

While exterior of TA.R.D.I.S. remained relatively similar over the years the interiors props have changed, especially the central console.

TRIVIA NOTE: Police call boxes were commonly used in Great Britain from the 1930s to the 1970s. They acted as a telephone communication station for both police officers and the public as well as a temporary holding cell for apprehended criminals. A blue light on top of the box was activated to alert officers in the area in time of need. With the advent of light-weight radios, the police box faded into history. A Doctor Who game by Denys Fisher Toys Ltd. (1975) featured a miniature plastic telephone booth, deck of cards and small cardboard figure of Doctor Who. See also WEAPONS & SCI-FI GADGETRY: "The Eye of Harmony"


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