As a fan of both franchises, something has long nagged at me. Looking at the bridges of several Romulan vessels, I can't help but notice a common design element: a central column which some or all of the bridge officers face inward toward:

Balance of Terror

Enterprise: Romulan Drone Ship

Once I was introduced to Doctor Who, this naturally came to mind once I saw The TARDIS console:

80's TARDIS console

My question is, out of universe, was the Romulan design cribbed from Doctor Who? Do they both draw from some real-world design? Is it total coincidence?

  • 2
    I think freestanding consoles were common enough when I was young, though I suppose my memories mostly represent just my father's workplace. I think this may have been because technical equipment tended to be heavy and hence difficult to move, but also needed frequent repair, so you had to have easy access to the back. Sep 22, 2015 at 20:21
  • This strikes me as less freestanding than 4-5 consoles joined by their backs.
    – Politank-Z
    Sep 22, 2015 at 20:43
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    Sure, but the point is that the ST designers (presumably older than I am, since I was still in my late teens when STNG came out) had almost certainly been exposed to real-world technical equipment located in the middle of the room. So if it is a coincidence it's a quite unremarkable one, bordering on not qualifying as a coincidence at all, any more than you would call it a coincidence that the TARDIS bridge and the Enterprise bridge both have doors. :-) Sep 22, 2015 at 21:13
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    The 1956 movie "Forbidden Planet" also had a central "astrogator" that various members of the crew would gather around, see some of the images on this page, such as this one and this one.
    – Hypnosifl
    Sep 22, 2015 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


The two Romulan examples remind me of a submarine control room. Which would be very fitting considering the Romulan cloaking devices.

Tertiary sources quote The Star Trek Compendium:

Many “Star Trek” episodes were written from an initial inspiration, a preexisting literary or motion picture concept expressed in terms of the world of tomorrow. Usually, those ideas were reworked so thoroughly it was difficult to spot the original inspiration. This segment is a notable exception. Its dramatic situations are drawn largely from two motion pictures about submarine warfare, Run Silent, Run Deep and The Enemy Below . “Balance of Terror” is a war movie translated into science fiction terms: a confrontation between a “surface vessel” (the Enterprise ) and a “submarine” (the invisible Romulan ship). The
cramped quarters of the Romulan bridge suggest a submarine-type environment: there is even a monitor device that resembles a periscope
(the Enterprise chapel is just a redress of the transporter room set).

  • @N_Soong, the OP asked "Do they both draw from some real-world design?" I reminded him of a real-world design precedent.
    – o.m.
    Sep 23, 2015 at 5:43
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    Addition of the source greatly improve it - good find Sep 23, 2015 at 6:14

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