In the episode "Hell Bent", we see the interior of a TARDIS which looks a lot like the original as it was from the very beginning of the series through much of its pre-2005/Eccleston run - its "classic" look. The console room has had a few obvious changes in appearance during its pre-2005 run, but otherwise maintained a pretty consistent appearance, with perhaps subtle changes from time to time over the years.

My question is: how faithful is the "Hell Bent" console room to the "classic" and exactly which variant was it modeled on? Was the aim to replicate the console room as Hartnell first appeared in it, or some later vintage?

2 Answers 2


The Hell Bent TARDIS was inspired by the original Hartnell desktop. Showrunner Steven Moffat visualised the Hartnell desktop as the "default" theme (think of the green hills Windows XP wallpaper). This TARDIS isn't accurate to the Hartnell desktop though, nor is it trying to be, but it's a very nice callback!

Notable discrepancies are:

  • the Hell Bent set "footprint" is completely different (walls in different layout and not aligned with the shape of the console)
  • it's a 360-degree set, the 1960s set was missing the "fourth wall" as it's where the cameras usually were
  • the server banks have been redesigned
  • the viewscreen is a modern flatscreen TV not a 1960s television set
  • the 1960s set was also painted a pastel green IRL to show up pure white on old B/W televisions

The parts that are accurate are the console itself, the roundels by the doors, and the hexagonal ceiling centrepiece over the console - all were reused pieces originally built for the docu-drama An Adventure in Space and Time (featuring a very accurate recreation of the Hartnell desktop) and were also displayed at the former Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.

Another little easter egg, the wall with the backlit vertical slits is recycled from the Gallifreyan "extraction chamber" earlier in the episode!

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    This is a nice answer that lists some of the discrepancies but it would be a lot better if you edited in some evidence to back it up.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Mar 28, 2019 at 7:36

It's an off the rack time capsule - no customization, default desktop. It's the same blank column design we saw The (first) Doctor steal in The Name of the Doctor. It's the same default settings as The Doctor's TARDIS had in those early adventures. indeed, I didn't notice so much as a second door to the food generators - it likely hasn't even started adding new rooms yet. So if anything, it's designed to look like an even earlier version of Hartnell's TARDIS.

It's a new set, but how awesome would it have been if they'd kept the set from An Adventure in Time and Space and used it for the "real" TARDIS?

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    I'd be surprised if a set was kept; even if there was no economic benefit to recycle it, storage space costs money, so there would always be some economic benefit to getting rid of a disused set (as it would certainly have been after the end of the original run). The BBC recycled tapes, which is why we have all those "lost episodes", so I'd be surprised if they actually would have carried the cost of keeping the TARDIS set in storage all those years. I assume they would have reverse-engineered the Hell Bent set based on all that video; question is: how much attention to detail?
    – Anthony X
    Jan 14, 2017 at 1:31
  • As I understand it, they kept Ten's TARDIS set standing, which is what they used in "The Doctor's Wife". I don't believe they knew they'd need it,as I don't think Neil's story was that far along, if written at all at that point (could be wrong on that) - perhaps they kept it as part of the exhibition? Jan 17, 2017 at 15:03
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    Followup to my own point - they did keep Ten's set up for use in "The Doctors's Wife. Neil was kind enough to walk through the timeline for the writing of the episode: " I’d plotted The Doctor’s Wife before David Tennant left, written the first draft before Matt was cast. So they kept the old set standing, and lied when anyone asked them why it was still up." Feb 16, 2017 at 16:00

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