At the end of Turn Left, when the Doctor finds out about Bad Wolf, he runs back to the Tardis. The interior has turned completely red.

I know the out-of-universe reason is mood lighting for the dramatic finale ups the ante. But has there ever been a convincing in-universe explanation put out?

The start of the following episode, The Stolen Earth, has the Doctor and Donna running out of a red Tardis and then running back into a red Tardis moments later. But by the time of the next scene it's back to its usual yellowish colour scheme. So I'd guess that it was red for only 2-3 minutes, tops.

What, if anything, explains the Tardis's sudden and transient change of colour?

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    It also had all the words on the outside of it turned into “BAD WOLF”, so I figure Rose messed with it somewhat. Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


It's the Tardis alerting the Doctor to a seriously major problem or emergency. You can hear the Cloister bells ringing.

Here's another example from Season3 Ep.13 "the Sound of Drums" enter image description here

Apparently, some people think the red lighting was due to the Tardis being converted into a Paradox Machine rather than the Tardis signalling that something very bad is happening or about to happen...like someone creating a Paradox Machine.

Here's an sequential example from "Journey to the Centre of the Tardis" - a new Doctor, a new console, new control room, new blue-ish colour scheme:

Blue-y-all-systems-go-ishness enter image description here

Blue-y-systems-losing-power-y-ness enter image description here

Bit-of-a-problem-redness enter image description here

Definate-magno-grab-shields-down-vulnerable-red-alert-type-problem enter image description here

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    In The Sound of Drums, wasn't it because The Master had turned it into a Paradox machine? Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 9:02
  • 1
    @DisturbedNeo - which is likely the same massage - something is terribly, horribly wrong. Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 15:00

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