In season 6 episode 1, The Impossible Astronaut, The Doctor cloaks the TARDIS, rendering its external appearance invisible. Is this the first time the TARDIS has shown this capability?

  • 2
    of course, if its chameleon circuit was working, it could just disguise itself as "the Oval Office's back wall", but that's clearly not what happened here.
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 11, 2012 at 16:31

4 Answers 4


In the old series I remember it actually did blend itself into the surroundings at least a few times. That is confirmed by the main Wikipedia entry on the TARDIS as being in the episodes, 'Attack of the Cybermen' and 'Logopolis'.

  • It did a much better job in Logopolis than Attack of the Cybermen where it appears as a Victorian bureau and an organ console. Mar 14, 2013 at 6:41
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    In neither of those episodes did it actually become invisible, it just appeared as something other than a police box. As LordRassilon points out in another answer, it did actually become completely invisible in a 2nd Doctor episode, The Invasion.
    – Hypnosifl
    Oct 17, 2014 at 13:26

It's not the first time, but not by much.

The End of Time, David Tennant's last story, includes the Tardis cloaking.

When The Doctor and Wilfred arrive at Naismiths estate (around 2/3 of the way through part one), the Doctor cloaks the Tardis to stop The Master from finding it.

Update: In light of the comments below, it appears that this isn't an example of acctual cloaking. So, the occasion in The Impossible Astronaut may be the first example after all.

  • 4
    I don;t think it was cloaked. Was the TARDIS just moved a fraction of a second ahead in the time stream? Apr 27, 2011 at 7:41
  • @Martin - it's possible. Has been a while since I saw The End of Time and I don't have it on DVD to review. Also, I have yet to see The Impossible Astronaut to compare.
    – Bevan
    Apr 27, 2011 at 18:43
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    "[The Doctor points his screwdriver at the TARDIS and it disappears] Just a second out of sync, don't want the Master finding the TARDIS; that's the last thing we need"
    – Nick T
    Apr 28, 2011 at 3:05

I don't comprehend how this question could go unanswered, or hold an correct answer for such a long span of time:

The TARDIS has been made to be invisible, on one prior occasion: In 'The Invasion' (November, 1968, not to be confused with 'The Invasion (of the Dinosaurs)', from 1974), during which the TARDIS becomes invisible when landing in 1960s London, making difficulty for The Doctor, along with Jamie, and Zoe.

While unintentional, this is a capability that should be easy to replicate at will, as the invisibility is caused by a fault in the 'Visual Stabiliser' (cit 'The Invasion'), and in theory, disabling that component, which is likely linked to the Chameleon Circuit that generates the plasmic shell, would have the same effect.

The subplot of that story, involves building a replacement component, and the serial is a technical sequel to both 'The Web of Fear', and 'The Moonbase'.

In addition, for the record, the Tardis did come with a manual. The Doctor is seen reading from it on more than one occasion when forced (as have other companions, including as I recall, Nyssa, and Adric), tore pages from it in 'The Pirate Planet', spoke of tossing it in a supernova (Matt Smith; because 'he disagreed with it'), used it to prop up equipment, and generally disregarded it.

The TARDIS further has a library record system of computer cards (including 'The Record of Rassilon'), electronic datum systems (but not an electronic manual; however this was faked by the Master in 'Castrovalva'). it is likely that there is also a schematic set, somewhere on-board, but this has never been shown.

  • In Vengeance on Varos Peri found the TARDIS manual when the TARDIS ran out of fuel (Zeiton-7) and asked the Doctor to read it. Oct 17, 2014 at 7:51
  • The original script for Terror of the Zygons had this feature too, but it was dropped You can see the fixed scene on the DVD. Jan 4, 2021 at 20:17

Yes, this is the first time the capacity has been seen.

According to a Doctor Who wiki the Doctor's TARDIS has no such ability - it must be either newly added or (less likely) the Doctor aquired a newer model TARDIS.

  • I'd go with newly added. A newer model TARDIS would also have a working camouflage. A working TARDIS is supposed to change appearance based on the location/era it arrives, but got stuck as a police box.
    – riv_rec
    Apr 26, 2011 at 21:13
  • Since Galafry no longer exists getting a new TARDIS may be a tad on the hard side. @spencer: Its called the chameleon circuit (on "The Dr"'s TARDIS it is broken (or stuck)). Apr 27, 2011 at 7:38
  • I believe the TARDIS' chameleon circuit was fixed, but the Doctor overrode it to keep it a police box (at one point) because it had been that way for so long, he got used to it. And I agree, it's much less likely he got a new one, but not (completely) impossible.
    – Jeff
    Apr 27, 2011 at 13:40
  • 1. TARDIS did not came with a manual. The Doctor is learning new tricks as he goes along, like open the doors using finger snapping in Forest of the Dead. 2. The chameleon circuit is psychological. One can see the TARDIS, but the mind choose to ignore the anomaly.
    – HuBeZa
    Apr 28, 2011 at 8:38
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    @HuBeZa Actually the TARDIS may have come with a manual it seems. In final serial with Tom Baker, "Logopolis", the Doctor says this while discussing the chameleon circuit: "Ah, well, that's a sore point. According to the handbook, yeah, because the outer plasmic shell of a Tardis is driven by the chameleon circuit, or so the theory runs. In practice I always meant to ask Romana to help me fix it one day." So it would seem the TARDIS does have a manual of some sort.
    – Matt
    Dec 19, 2013 at 14:34

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