There was a lovely discussion on my Twitter yesterday about TARDIS consoles rooms. It’s the sort of Doctor Who chat I love, for people have strong opinions, but it’s too trivial a matter to really get worked up about (in my experience; perhaps there are some v angry people out there, who can’t let go of the fact we lost the salad bowl roundels so quickly, but I have never encountered them.)
So, I tweeted that my most disliked console room was the secondary one that first appeared in The Masque of Mandragora. Because it’s awful. But in the spirit of positivity, this post will delight in the best of the console rooms. Of which there are many, but there five are my favs. (And in chronological order cause I was spending way too much time dithering over which one I like best.)
The original. Which is an impressive design today, but was truly magical back in the sixties. I often annoy my Mum about what she thought of various Doctor Who stuff when she was a kid (she’s literally seen every single ep) and I was assured that, yes, this was an awesomely cool interior the likes of which had never been seen before.
Along with the exterior of the TARDIS and the Dalek design, it’s stayed recognisably similar for almost sixty years. Changes in size and colour and roundels have been made, but it’s clearly the same ship. Quite the achievement. It’s also rather splendidly decorated with a smattering of furniture, and later on with best of all the console room décor: the wonderful panda soft toy, Hi-fi.
Making its first appearance in The Five Doctors, this is my childhood console. At one point all other consoles were inferior. It’s got my favourite buttons and roundels. There are lovely columns and it’s all s a nice calming, over-lit grey. It shines! It glows! It’s so very obviously from the eighties. And it gets that little extra love from me cause of the nostalgia.
Damn, it’s so cool. And massive! And gothic! It’s full of what we think of as ‘Doctor-y’ stuff. Is this a good thing? Not sure, but since it’s the only one that really leans into it, I will go with yes. It’s the most magnificent of console rooms, designed to impress all those new nineties viewers. Despite the size, it’s even got a spot of cosiness in the comfy armchair and the Doctor’s nice cup of tea.
This particular image has a lot to answer for regarding my love of the console room in Scream of the Shalka. It might just be pictures in a nineties (sort of) animation, but the design is beautiful. The epic spiralling stairway, the moody green, the Master looming over the controls. It more perfectly reflects the Doctor occupying it than any other console room.
In restricting myself to five, this was the hardest choice: should I go for the eleventh or twelfth Doctor’s console room? I love them both, but in the end Twelve won out. This one feels very lived in, very friendly. There are all these nooks and crannies, there’s a second level, and pretty lights. It manages to make this sixties design look futuristic again. And it’s spacious, but still feels like a home. Beautiful stuff.