The First TARDIS, Recreated

The TARDIS console (All pics courtesy of Blogtor Who)

The TARDIS console (All pics courtesy of Blogtor Who)

For fans who grew up with Doctor Who, there is a primal charge to seeing a image like this: that hexagonal console set against the wall of circles, only in full color and positively glowing with now – a relic from the forward-looking past and a portal back into what, in 1963, felt very much like the future.

This is the recreated console and set of the very first TARDIS, from the William Hartnell-era. It was painstakingly recreated for ‘An Adventure In Space And Time’ – the Mark Gatiss dramatisation of the show’s early days, taken from the original designs.

So, as it was originally built during the Cold War, you get a lot of radiation guages:

Radion gauge

And attempts to manfully grapple with the problem of what to call instruments so that it’s obvious what they do:


The full set is on display at this weekend’s Paris Comic-Con, with an accompanying sign that reads:

“These are elements of the replica (constructed for the BBC drama “An Adventure In Space And Time”) of the original TARDIS control room. Designed originally in 1963 by BBC designer Peter Brachaki (with invaluable input from Barry Newbery), this studio set became and design icon and set a basic template which is still followed today.

“Gleaming white, with a hexagonal central console and illuminated circular indents in the walls, this TARDIS interior was scattered with objects from the Doctor’s travels, including an elegant Ormolu clock and a Sheraton chair. In the very early episodes, it included a huge hexagonal device on the ceiling next to the console and other separate banks of instruments, including a ‘fault locator.'”

Here’s the original in action:

All of these pictures come from the handsome gallery compiled by the fansite Blogtor Who. And there are plenty more there to stare at, in wonderment.

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2. He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage. Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
View all posts by Fraser McAlpine.