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Published on August 8th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

How To Build A TARDIS

How do you build a TARDIS? Well, if you ask the Doctor, he’ll shake his head sadly and say, ‘they were grown, not built.’ He’s not very helpful really, but maybe he’s just worried about the human race advancing too far.


So the most we can do is build a blue box that can’t get you to the year 5.5/apple/26, isn’t powered by the Eye of Harmony, and can’t be utilised by a living planetoid to try to get from a bubble universe into our main one. Still reading? Good.

The idea of having your very own TARDIS is a pretty darn cool one anyway, don’t you think? And for those who want to build one, the TARDIS Builders website is perfect, detailing both the consistently-iconic exterior and the ever-in-flux interior. BBC News’ Technology Correspondent, Mark Ward, has explored this cult fascination, introducing us to Yoz, who has built a TARDIS in her living room! She says:

“It seems natural to me to want to have a TARDIS. I could not stop thinking about it and the only solution, the only way to get this idea out of my head, was to build it. To do it.”

Her ideal TARDIS is the one piloted by Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison; building it has taken her about a year – and it’s still not finished, as she explains:

“I’m still not entirely happy with it. The final stage is to make it dirty so it looks like it has been used.”

Head over to TARDIS Builders and you’ll discover a wonderful world of dedication and love. There are floor plans, fan creations, specific details about roundels (that’s an anorak topic, yes, but then if you’re on Kasterborous, you’re probably a bit of an anorak), TARDIS sightings, prop building, tutorials… In fact, I’m pretty sure the site is bigger on the inside.

Royal TARDIS visitThe current TARDIS interior, which debuted in The Snowmen, was designed by Michael Pickwoad, who has been working on the series since 2010’s A Christmas Carol. He told Ward:

“The colours have changed and it’s now slightly bluer than it was. If I was to do another one, another box, we might paint it a different hue of the same colour.”

That set is now open to the public (well, as long as you book in advance) as part of a Doctor Who Experience tour until late August. It’s also the console room that will appear in the 50th anniversary special in November and, presumably, the place where – blub – the Eleventh Doctor will regenerate at Christmas.

Kasterborous Associate Editor, Brian A. Terranova is a keen prop maker and cosplayer; his Facebook profile is littered with beautiful photos of, say, the Tenth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, fob watches, the First Doctor’s library card, that crystal thing that Turlough uses to communicate with the Black Guardian – and then some. Head over and have a look!

You can read Mark Ward’s full report here, and don’t forget to head over to TARDIS Builders to explore.


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

8 Responses to How To Build A TARDIS

  1. avatar Mr Paddy says:

    Look, I know this is a really nit-picky thing – but every time the official BBC website insists on writing it “Tardis” instead of “TARDIS”, I have a little geek-cringe.

    • avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

      Isn’t the current BBC policy to write all acronyms as lower case. I’m sure I heard that somewhere.

  2. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    Also, while I’m at it am I the only one who doesn’t like the chunky fat TARDIS of the modern era?

    I’d love the TARDIS to return to the similar dimensions of the 80s box, or even better look more like a real Mackenzie-Trench police box and for the first time ever actually look like it was made from concrete like in real life.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      I agree, every time the Doctor regenerates the Tardis exterior seems to look a bit bigger. I remember when I saw the first location shots of Matt in costume with the Tardis thinking that it looked the same size as a 3 bed detached house. Of course it could just be that they are casting ever smaller Doctors but I don’t remember Sylvester having this problem!
      I loved the 80s Tardis design closely followed by the McGann version. Worst ever was the Williams era one complete with tacky revolving police car light but the whole show looked tacky and sh*t for the most part between 1977 and 1979.

      • avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

        To be fair the revolving light is only in Horns of Nimon I think….but I know what you mean! I have a bit of a soft spot for the Williams era though….

        McGann version is great – Richard Hudolin’s work on the exterior prop and interior are my favourites probably, thinking about it.

        I once saw what I was told was Peter Cushing’s TARDIS prop and if it was the real deal it was tiny too. I liked the idea of making the 2010 version look like the movie version but it’s time for a change, I feel.

        It’s a real niggle for me, the 2005 onwards chunky TARDIS prop. The reasoning was, by Ed Thomas,as designer, I believe, that the 80s version was “too dainty” and it was made chunky to look like it could travel through time. As if looking chunky makes a wooden box seem more likely to travel through time. The whole point of a TARDIS disguise is to NOT make it look like a time machine. The mind boggles.

        As the current interior is a vast improvement over the prior iterations could Michael Pickwoad turn his skill to the exterior of the world’s most iconic time machine and give it the attention it deserves in this anniversary year?

  3. avatar Wayne Hope says:

    They were not all made of concrete.Mostly the scottish ones

  4. avatar Geoff says:

    I found a website a while back of this guy who built a very precise replica 70s/80s Tardis and had it in a room in his house. It was against the wall and what he did was knock the wall through behind it into the next room which he converted into a faithful season 18 console room. He had video clips showing it all and 360 views on his site and it was incredible.

    • avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

      I think if I had the time and resources and above all money, I’d love a TARDIS control room in my house. I think I’d be tempted to make my own desktop theme than base it on any one that appeared in the series..

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