Despite being at the center of 50 years’ worth of history and continuity, the TARDIS from Doctor Who is still a mysterious and wonderful device. Despite being easily one of the most iconic science fiction vehicles of all time, most of the time the only part of the TARDIS’ supposedly massive interior is the ever-updating control room. That’s set to change next year, in an episode intriguingly entitled “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.” But while some Who fans would rather the ship’s inner workings remain a mystery, showrunner Steven Moffat apparently has a very specific reason for wanting to journey deeper than the control room: because they mucked it up the first time round.
In the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, writer Stephen Thompson — who penned the upcoming episode — says that Moffat’s goal with the episode was to update/replace the one time the TARDIS interior had been explored before, in a 1978 episode that, to say the least, didn’t exactly wow the audience with amazing visuals.Here’s what Thompson has to say on the subject:
Steven had two ancillary reasons for bringing that idea to the table. One: he admits to being haunted by The Invasion of Time – the story from 1978 set on board the TARDIS, where the sets were cobbled together at the last minute. Unfortunately a TV strike meant that studio sets were not built, and as a result our only glimpse of the TARDIS interior has been a disused hospital in Surrey with bin-bags stuck to the windows. Two: Steven knows; that I’m a pure mathematician and anything involving multi-dimensional geometry gets me excited. (There’s my geek credentials.) So – that was the brief. What’s in the middle? Plus the title. And then I’m sent off to fill in all the blanks.
In a way, part of the fun of the modern incarnation of Who has been about doing just what Thompson is describing: giving the crazy stories the show has been telling for decades the special effects and budget to match their aspirations. Sure, the cheesy sets and effects of the classic show had their own charm, but it is nice to see aliens that don’t look like contraptions cobbled together by 10-year-old cosplayers. Whether “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS” will live up to the things we’ve been imagining for decades, but at the very least I hope we get to see the swimming pool.