Doctor Who’s new TARDIS features a heartfelt tribute to a late colleague

Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC)

The Doctor's new TARDIS, which debuted during the 60th anniversary specials, is full of impressive details, and in the new issue of SFX magazine, we get an exclusive tour. 

Production designer Phil Sims tells us in the issue, which features Doctor Who's Ncuti Gatwa on the cover, all about how they brought showrunner Russell T Davies' ambitious designs to life, as well as the smaller details they included. 

Among the latter that SFX spotted was a sonic socket, an intriguing-looking coffee machine, and a touching tribute to a lost colleague. This reads: "This Type 40 Time Capsule has been approved for use by Chief Stellar Engineer Charles Edwards of the Gallifrey TARDIS Shipyard". 

The sign is just one of many details in the new TARDIS, which was described in Davies' set notes as "a huge spherical cavernous space". Sims tells us: "We started playing with models and illustrations. We were going along a different tack where we got lots of triangular panels with roundels interlinked in the old hexagonal arrangement of roundels. Russell and Phil [Collinson, producer] both thought it wasn’t big enough and airy enough and there wasn’t the scale. 

"I’d done another sketch, which I presented at the end of the document, because I’d already got the feeling that if the airiness was what they wanted, then we needed to go even bigger. I did this sketch, which was more or less what we’ve got here, and they loved it. And I immediately wished I had not put the sketch in the document because I didn’t know how we were going to make it."

Sims adds: "I think, in hindsight, it deserved it. It deserved that chance to just be as big and as bonkers as we could think it could be."

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The Doctor Who Christmas special airs on Christmas day on BBC and Disney+. The above is just a snippet from our interview with Sims, available in the latest issue of SFX magazine, which features Doctor Who on the cover and is available on newsstands from Friday, December 29. For even more from SFX, sign up for the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

I'm the Editor of SFX, the world's number one sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – available digitally and in print every four weeks since 1995. I've been editing magazines, and writing for numerous publications since before the Time War. Obviously SFX is the best one. I knew being a geek would work out fine.