In several episodes, you see that the TARDIS has a new console. Why doesn’t it just fix the old console instead of building a new one?

  • Which episodes do you mean? The episodes in which the Doctor regenerates (because that's usually the time when the console changes)? Other episodes?
    – nidunc
    May 14, 2014 at 16:10
  • On at least one occasion, the doctor refers to it as a "desktop", the clear implication being that it's a personal preference.
    – Valorum
    May 14, 2014 at 17:15
  • The Fourth Doctor used the secondary control room for a while whilst the first was being re-decorated (I think it was stated in the Masque of Mandragora). May 15, 2014 at 10:29
  • where's the fun in that... May 17, 2014 at 5:12

3 Answers 3


The look, feel and even control systems of the TARDIS seem to change according to the whim of the current incarnation of the Doctor.

In the minisode "Time Crash", the fifth Doctor compares the control room's appearance to that of a computer's desktop theme;

FIVE: What have you done to my TARDIS? You've changed the desktop theme, haven't you? What's this one? Coral? It's worse than the leopardskin.

Additionally, in the episode "Eleventh Hour", we see that the TARDIS itself is capable of selecting a new Control Room when the previous one is destroyed during by the Doctor's regeneration cycle.

As to the specific question of why they don't simply fix the old one when it gets broken, the answer is that the TARDIS contains a considerable number of "themes" from both the doctor's past (and future) that can be selected at will. Changing between them seems to require a trivial amount of energy compared to fixing a broken one.

DOCTOR: How's he going to be able to take down the shields anyway? The House is in the control room.

IDRIS: I directed him to one of the old control rooms.

DOCTOR: There aren't any old control rooms. They were all deleted or remodelled.

IDRIS: I archive them, for neatness. I've got about thirty now.

DOCTOR: But I've only changed the desktop, what, a dozen times?

IDRIS: So far, yes.

DOCTOR: You can't archive something that hasn't happened yet.

IDRIS: You can't.

If you'd like a breakdown of the various control rooms seen in the TV show, there's an extensive list (with pictures) here.


It's stablished in I don't remember which chapter, that the control room of the TARDIS changes to match the personality and taste of each incarnation of the Doctor. The TARDIS does this automatically and has stored every main control room that the Doctor used or will use. That would be the "canon" answer, but it´s really an excuse to keep updating the scenario to match the times in which the show is aired and the particular taste of the director of the season.

  • Agree with the last sentence, and if the console hadn't changed, it would still be plain, white and boring.
    – nidunc
    May 14, 2014 at 18:01
  • @nidunc: Actually, if had never changed it would be green. During the Hartnell/Troughton years, the console was painted a pale green rather than gray because the green looked better on the black and white cameras of the day. After the show went to color with the introduction of Jon Pertwee, the old console appeared in one story where the Doctor had moved it outside the TARDIS; after that the prop was junked and replaced. Because it appeared on screen in color, however, I would consider the green console "canonical". Incidentally, color photographs from the earlier eras show that...
    – supercat
    Aug 28, 2014 at 15:32
  • ...the TARDIS exterior prop was charcoal gray rather than blue; that may explain why some characters referred to it as a "black" box rather than a "blue" one.
    – supercat
    Aug 28, 2014 at 15:33

It could be that the TARDIS has just one of all these interiors that she can swap out and use as the console room. So when the console room is destroyed, she has to use a different one.

  • 1
    Welcome to SciFi.SE! Please don't capitalise the first letter of every word, it makes your post extremely hard to read.
    – F1Krazy
    Dec 27, 2019 at 18:30

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