25

In the 11th Doctor episode The Big Bang, the Doctor sets up the ending by telling Amy:

A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well, I borrowed it. I was always going to take it back. Oh, that box, Amy. You'll dream about that box. It'll never leave you. Big and little at the same time. Brand new and ancient. And the bluest blue ever.

The setup here is obviously for the wedding custom of 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue' (unfortunately, like most modern takes, missing the "and a silver sixpence in her shoe"). The Doctor has always maintained that he "borrowed" the TARDIS, so that fits, and it's clearly both blue and old.

I don't really understand how the TARDIS can be considered "new". It's at least at old as he is (debatable, but at least 900). It had a refresh of the interior with the introduction of the 11th Doctor (as is usual with a reincarnation), but that was an entire season earlier, so it seems doubly a stretch to call it new.

  • If you include the radio plays, the TARDIS is much older than the doctor is, as at one point it was buried in a volcanic eruption and only dug out millenia later before being sent back again to pick doctor & companion up... – Jules Apr 8 '16 at 13:36
32

Well, there a number of ways it could be interpreted, but the three that seem most likely to me:

  • The TARDIS is, as has often been stated, alive. Living things are constantly in the process of renewal, so, like the Doctor, the Tardis is effectively ageless; people often comment on how he doesn't appear to have aged -- for a machine, I would think the equivalent would be staying forever 'New'. Also (commonly when the Doctor regenerates) we see that the TARDIS reshapes/structures herself; her configuration (not to mention style) changes, and becomes new as well.
  • In 'The Doctor's Wife', Idris (the avatar of the Tardis) pointed out "I exist across all space and time", i.e., in all time and space simultaneously. This is, as an example, how she's able to have archived control rooms that he hasn't even created as of the time of the episode. (Doctor: "You can't archive something that hasn't happened yet!" Idris: "You can't!"). Existing in all times at the same time suggests that she doesn't progress through time, but, rather, is an existing fact at all points in time. Since she never actually moves in time (as she's already everywhen), the same, original TARDIS, is there at all times. Without movement in time, she can't age, and without aging, she's eternally 'new.' (If this one gives you trouble, think of time as a 3 dimensional object, that most people follow a straight path thru, like a bullet, and the Doctor moves back and forth in, like a worm. The TARDIS, in its creation, becomes one long 3 dimensional object in its own right, spanning the entire distance of time, so it's everywhere it will ever be, and everywhen at the same time).
  • It's not: Rule #1 -- The Doctor lies.
    He was saying this just to implant the key phrase in her head. I doubt she was really questioning the details of anything he said, but the words were meant to resonate with the 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue' phrase that was sure to pop up at the wedding.
  • I almost got the impression from that episode that perhaps the Doctor was the original source of that saying, talking about his relationship with the Tardis. – BBlake Aug 22 '11 at 4:35
  • 1
    It could also be brand new in the way that it had a new "desktop theme". – dkuntz2 Aug 22 '11 at 22:35
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    I think that last point (that it's not) is important. Remember Rule #1, as pointed out in another answer: The Doctor lies. (On the other hand, when he stole it, it was new to him as well as something borrowed.) – Tango Aug 23 '11 at 3:33
  • The first doesn't seem applicable to me: we don't say that a person (or other creature) is "brand new" (unless they're a baby), even though they are in constant renewal. For the second, "The Doctor's Wife" is 5 episodes later in a different season - my personal impression was that the avatar's comments were really written for that episode, not planned a long time earlier. The "it's not"/lying answer does seem the best fit - it's disappointingly weak writing if true, though. – Tony Meyer Aug 25 '11 at 5:52
  • Well, I would agree with that, for a person.. But the tardis, being a machine.. shrug You don't normally think of machines as being in constant renewal.. If you scuff or break something you tend to think it will stay that way.. Personally, I'm most fond of the second -- instead of a moving point in time, she's been extended into a line, so every instance of her is the same one.. which is as new as when she was made.. But The Doctor Lies is always a valid answer, too :) – K-H-W Aug 25 '11 at 20:36
15

I interpreted it to mean "renewed". This is because it was badly damaged in The End of Time and it self-repaired in The Eleventh Hour with a different (new) interior. Hence it was both old and new simultaneously.

Also, it fit the "old, new, borrowed, blue" theme of weddings rather conveniently, which probably influenced the inclusion of this part of the script.

  • 1
    This was my understanding of his assertion that it was 'new'. It was also just a new physical prop, they revamped it with Moffat's takeover of the show. – Katey HW Aug 22 '11 at 17:27
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    This occurred to me (final paragraph of the question), but it was 12 episodes (the entire season) earlier, so "brand new" meaning "refreshed a season ago" seemed a stretch. However, I forgot that "The Big Bang" takes place the same day (in-universe) as "The Eleventh Hour", so "brand new" could indeed be real-estate agent speak for "remodelled". – Tony Meyer Aug 25 '11 at 5:46
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    I remembered the look on the outside is also new?? – lamwaiman1988 Aug 26 '11 at 2:16
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    @TonyMeyer also, given how many centuries The Doctor and the TARDIS have been traveling together, their perception of how long 'brand new' lasts is likely different than ours. – LindaJeanne Nov 12 '15 at 11:07
9

One could also consider that since it doesn't exist in time during Amy's wedding, her act of remembering brings it back into time, making it new in that moment.

  • 1
    This is an interesting idea, although rather timey-wimey :) – Tony Meyer Aug 25 '11 at 5:46
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    timey-wimey is the very nature of Doctor Who! :-) – user158017 Aug 27 '11 at 23:43
7

Rule number one: the Doctor lies.

  • 6
    I think this can legitimately be used to answer about 75% of all Doctor Who questions that deal with the 9th Doctor onwards. – Tango Aug 23 '11 at 3:34
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    Yes, it's a cunning little get-out clause. Clever line! – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 23 '11 at 8:10
  • Although this does conveniently explain away just about anything, from what I can recall when we catch the Doctor lying, there's generally a reason that the audience already knows, or expects to know soon. Although you could say that setting Amy up was the reason here, generally it's more obvious than this that it's a deliberate lie. – Tony Meyer Aug 25 '11 at 5:42
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    @Tony: Well I found that whole sequence rather hard to justify. He'd visibly given up on her saving him, and clearly expected to blink out of existence. And because of that he gives a "goodbye" speech, one which he supposedly set up in order to be saved? It didn't ring well for me. – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 25 '11 at 9:37
  • @Tomalak: I can't imagine The Doctor going gently into that good night without some plan to at least try to stay alive. As much as he has his own issues of self-loathing and is ready to sacrifice for others, he loves the thrill of what he does too much to give it up easily if he can think of a way around it. – Tango Sep 5 '11 at 15:42
1

The allure of the TARDIS, for the Doctor, and for each of his companions, is the utter novelty of every experience. There are always new paradigms of existence at the end of a short TARDIS flight. The TARDIS is not just a spaceship, she is the journey across space and time. She is thus, always, "something brand new".

0

The TARDIS has the capability of rebuilding itself, and it's interiors as she wishes. That way, the blue box is always new.
During the events of Amy's wedding, the TARDIS was recently rebuilt internally and externally. Hence at that point, it was indeed new.
You can consider The Doctor as a good analogy. A new face, although he himself in reality is well over a 1000 years old (During the events of Amy's wedding) thus making both him and the TARDIS "Something old, Something new". There's a good chance that The Doctor thinks his TARDIS to be new in a similar manner.

-1

I get the impression that the Doctor has been traveling in the TARDIS for hundreds of years. Perhaps as many as 700 years, if you consider the TARDIS wiki, which I'm still kinda vague on if it is considered a valid reference.

So if you consider being around something for 700, a part of it that is only 2-3 years old is pretty dang new still.

Additionally, listening to the 10 & 11th Doctor's talk about the TARDIS they are frequently surprised by how it(she?) does something crazy that surprises them. I think that in a lot of ways that is the newest part of it; that after all that time spent together the TARDIS can still surprise the Doctor.

There may also be another new factor: While we obviously don't know what happens "between-the-scenes" or between episodes, the last few Doctor's have been living very short lives out of the Doctor's supposed 900 years of life. With the TARDIS generating a new control room every time he regenerates, it would seem that not only is he just barely getting used to his new life, he is also getting used to a new control room.

These could lead to an overall feeling of newnewss.

  • Although we only see the Doctor for the duration of the season, that is not the entirety of his "life span". Best example - in "The Impossible Astronaut", he comments to the others that he has spent the last 200 years running. – Verdan Jun 17 '18 at 7:17
-1

Umm, it was entirely destroyed, on the inside at least, when his regenerative energy exploded, mixed with the Radiation he had to absorb from 'The End Of Time, Part 2'. He even introduces 'her' as a new model of TARDIS, so if anything, he either found some way to get inside of Gallifrey's time lock and stole another one, or he rebuilt it himself. If he rebuild it himself, its new in the same sense that a refurbished gaming console is new. If he stole another one somehow, its new in that he stole a completely new TARDIS. -The Doorman

  • 2
    It's the same TARDIS, remodelled, not a stolen one. The interior (of the first room, at least, which is generally all we see) is remodelled most times that the Doctor reincarnates. – Tony Meyer Feb 28 '12 at 7:18
  • If he had stolen a new TARDIS, I doubt it would be stuck as a police box. – Verdan Jun 17 '18 at 7:12
-1

Precisely, each time the doctor regenerates, so does the TARDIS. You can look at images online at the models over the years both inside and outside. As far as we know, the original grey model on the black and white show was never meant to be blue, unlike the new models of today. That’s as simple as I can put it.

  • 1
    The 1963 TARDIS was supposed to look like a police box, which is blue. – Blackwood Jun 17 '18 at 2:58

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