The TARDIS has been stuck as a Police Call Box for almost the entirety of the show's history due to a broken chameleon circuit. In this form, it has a police telephone on the outside, which the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors have received calls from.

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If the chameleon circuit were fixed and the TARDIS switched to another form (say, a tree or a cabinet), what would happen to calls made to this outside telephone?

2 Answers 2


They usually seem to fix these things with lazy throwaway lines, but in this case, they actually seemed to answer it with a pretty clever line!

In "The Time of the Doctor," near the beginning, the exterior phone begins to ring, and as he's going to answer it, he says to Handles,

"Oh, no. And remind me, I've got to patch the telephone back through the console unit. This is getting ridiculous."

To me, this says that, in its original state, and all the way up to the point of the ninth and tenth Doctors, the phone was just part of the disguise. And then, at some point, either the Doctor decided it might be useful to make it functional, or the TARDIS just sort of did it itself.


I believe the calls would get routed to an interior communication system instead. This exterior phone is part of the TARDIS' disguise, after all, so any functionality it may have would logically be given to it by the TARDIS' main computer systems.

The actual functionality of this exterior phone is something of an enigma within the show, as this article outlines. The Ninth Doctor said it was a dummy that didn't work, but the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors have both used it, as you noted. Either its functionality is intermittent, or it can be disconnected. Or the dummy phone was replaced with a real one at some point, apparently off-screen.

The Ninth Doctor also used a phone inside the TARDIS to call Rose, though, which shows that the exterior phone is not actually required. If it weren't there due to the TARDIS changing disguises, calls could still be made - and presumably received - from inside ("You think I can travel through space and time and I haven't got a phone?")

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