Doctor Who thing: original TARDIS blueprints uncovered!

Well, not the Gallifreyan version — though I’d love to see how an apparently infinite ship would look in the planning stages — but the BBC version, the floorplan for shooting “An Unearthly Child” half a century ago tomorrow. How cool is this (via Radio Times yesterday)?

An amazingly rare artefact has surfaced in the collection of director Waris Hussein – his original, personally annotated studio floorplan for Doctor Who’s pilot episode from 1963. The document is dated “25/9” – 25 September, today’s date 50 years ago.

This week, five decades ago, the cast and crew of Doctor Who were busy gearing up for episode one, An Unearthly Child, which would be recorded on Friday 27 September. While the actors rehearsed in the less-than-glamorous Drill Hall in Uxbridge Road, London W12, the BBC design team and set builders were constructing the sets according to this floorplan at nearby Lime Grove Studios.

The episode was written to be taped “as live”, with only one break in recording. “In those days,” says Waris, “we shot continuously on four cameras with very few breaks in the tape. You had to know exactly what you were doing. It was almost mathematical in its strategy.”

This is the full studio floorplan, with all four sets to be used (the junkyard, Coal Hill School, Totter’s Lane, and the TARDIS):


(Click here to embiggen.)

And here’s just the TARDIS section:


(Click here to embiggen.)

Head over to Radio Times for a detailed explanation of the shooting difficulties this floorplan represents… which kinda makes you wonder if it’s a miracle anything ever got shot at all.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)

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Lowell Rapaport
Lowell Rapaport
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 3:16am

the interior of the tardis is designed like an escher print. not the one with the impossible cube or endless staircase, but of the ever diminishing fish in Circle Limit III.

reply to  Lowell Rapaport
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 4:08pm

do you mean the inside of the TARDIS although larger than the outside, gets smaller and smaller as you travel through it?

Lowell Rapaport
Lowell Rapaport
reply to  bronxbee
Sun, Sep 29, 2013 1:45am

ok, so here’s the thing. the tardis is not bigger on the inside than the outside, it’s smaller on the inside than the outside like everything else.

however, everything shrinks in proportion the farther you go into the tardis. so an infinite (or nearly infinite) amount of stuff can fit in a finite space. and since the tardis’ size doesn’t change it appears ever larger, especially as you approach the center. which is why the eye of harmony, at the very center of the tardis, appears to be the size of an entire galaxy.