New Series Episode 104:
Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS


Aware that his companion is uncomfortable around the TARDIS, the Doctor sets the Ship into a low-power mode to help Clara get accustomed to her new home. However, this inadvertently leaves the TARDIS vulnerable to an intergalactic salvage vessel, whose attempts to seize the time machine critically damage the interior. With time and space running amok inside the TARDIS, the Doctor is forced into an uneasy alliance with the salvage team in order to rescue Clara, and keep his ship's engine from exploding.


Executive producer Steven Moffat was a lifelong Doctor Who fan, but keenly remembered a time that the programme had disappointed him. This was March 1978, when the Radio Times billing for the final episode of The Invasion Of Time had promised an exploration of the interior of the TARDIS. The young Moffat had expected to be dazzled by what unfolded on screen. However, an industrial dispute had forced these scenes to be primarily filmed at a disused hospital, to underwhelming results.

Thirty-four years later and in charge of Doctor Who, Moffat wanted to remedy that missed opportunity. In shaping Season Thirty-Three, he suggested to Steve Thompson -- who had written The Curse Of The Black Pearl the previous year -- that he attempt a story which would venture into the heart of the TARDIS. Thompson held a degree in pure mathematics, and Moffat thought that this might help fuel his ideas. It was Moffat who suggested the episode title: Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS, alluding to the classic Jules Verne novel A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (first published in 1864 as Voyage au centre de la Terre).

Thompson initially unleashed teenagers into the TARDIS who cause it to malfunction

Thompson initially thought back to his days as a teacher, and came up with a story in which the TARDIS crashed into a school trip, unleashing a gaggle of teenagers into the time machine who cause it to malfunction. Moffat disliked this idea, and so Thompson suggested replacing the students with a salvage team. This met with Moffat's approval, and Thompson completed his first draft in late June 2012.

In early versions, Clara came across a chamber containing the leftover belongings of all of the Doctor's previous companions; this was eventually simplified to the storeroom in which she finds one of the young Amy Pond's model TARDISes (from Let's Kill Hitler) and the Doctor's cot (from A Good Man Goes To War). Originally, the third van Baalen brother was named Sander rather than Tricky -- meant to be short for “Electricky” -- and was not an android, while Gregor was disfigured and had numerous metal attachments. For a time, the Van Baalens' salvage career was motivated by a severe metal famine in the area.

While Thompson was writing Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS, it was intended to be the sixth episode of Doctor Who's spring run. As such, it ended with a coda featuring Clara's charges, Angie and Artie Maitland, confronting the time travellers about their adventures and leading into episode seven, Nightmare In Silver. Subsequently, Thompson's story was moved to the fifth spot, and the epilogue was rewritten and shifted to the eventual episode six, The Crimson Horror.

Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS was made on its own as Block Seven of the production schedule, and was helmed by Mat King. King had gotten his start in television in his native Australia, working on programmes such as The Fairies. More recently, he had begun working in Britain with credits including MI High, Holby City and Law & Order: UK.

Nearly all of Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS was filmed in studio at Roath Lock

Nearly all of Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS was filmed at Doctor Who's usual Roath Lock studio home. An exception to this was the first day of recording, September 4th, when the deck of the Hornet was actually a warehouse on Celtic Way in Newport. The same day, footage of the scoop was captured at Roath Lock, and this work continued to the 5th. Corridor scenes were on the agenda for the next three days, together with those in the shaft (on the 6th), the cloisters (on the 6th and 7th) and the TARDIS console room (on the 7th and 8th). Recording in the console room continued on September 10th and 11th, with the latter day also covering material in the tunnel. On the night of the 11th, King's team enjoyed another brief location shoot, with Cardiff Castle in Cardiff posing as the TARDIS library.

The focus on September 12th and 13th was the Eye of Harmony, together with more tunnel sequences on the second day. Material in the Eye antechamber and in the Architectural Reconfiguration System was recorded on the 14th. Jenna-Louise Coleman was ill on September 17th, so the plan to record more console room scenes was abandoned in favour of effects and insert shots. Coleman returned to Roath Lock for material in the tunnel and the storeroom on the 18th, and in the engine room and console room on the 19th. The remainder of the required console room footage was captured on the 24th. Inserts followed on October 18th and November 27th. Then, on November 28th, the mostly studio-bound production ironically ended as it had begun -- on location -- with the ravine actually part of Argoes Isha Quarry near Llansannor.

The scene where Bram starts to strip down the TARDIS console room offered an opportunity to delve into the Doctor Who back catalogue -- appropriate, given that the Spring 2013 run of episodes effectively began the countdown to the programme's fiftieth anniversary in November. Sound clips could be heard of Susan and Ian from 100,000 BC, the Third Doctor and Jo from Colony In Space, the Fourth Doctor from The Robots Of Death, the Ninth Doctor from Rose, Martha from Smith And Jones, Amy from The Beast Below, and the TARDIS itself -- inhabiting the form of Idris -- from The Doctor's Wife.

  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #37, Autumn 2014, “Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS” by Andrew Pixley, Panini UK Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 27th Apr 2013
Time 6.30pm
Duration 44'43"
Viewers (more) 6.5m (19th)
· BBC1/HD 6.5m
· iPlayer 1.9m
Appreciation 85%

The Doctor
Matt Smith
Jenna-Louise Coleman
Gregor van Baalen
Ashley Walters
Bram van Baalen
Mark Oliver
Jahvel Hall
Time Zombie
Sarah Louise Madison
Ruari Mears
Paul Kasey

Written by
Stephen Thompson
Directed by
Mat King
Produced by
Marcus Wilson

Stunt Coordinators
Crispin Layfield
Gordon Seed
Stunt Performers
André Layne
Lewis Young
First Assistant Director
Jonathan Farmer
Second Assistant Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
Third Assistant Director
Delmi Thomas
Assistant Directors
Danielle Richards
Gareth Jones
Location Manager
Nicky James
Unit Manager
Monty Till
Location Assistant
Iestyn Hampson-Jones
Production Manager
Phillipa Cole
Production Coordinator
Claire Hildred
Assistant Coordinator
Gabriella Ricci
Production Secretary
Sandra Cosfeld
Production Assistants
Rachel Vipond
Samantha Price
Assistant Accountant
Rhys Evans
Assistant Script Editor
John Phillips
Script Supervisor
Rory Herbert
Camera Operator
Joe Russell
Focus Pullers
James Scott
Chris Walmsley
Gary Norman
Camera Assistants
Meg de Koning
Sam Smithard
Evelina Norgren
Assistant Grip
Owen Charnley
Sound Maintenance Engineers
Ross Adams
Chris Goding
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Stephen Slocombe
Bob Milton
Nick Powell
Gafin Riley
Gareth Sheldon
Supervising Art Director
Paul Spriggs
Set Decorator
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyers
Adrian Greenwood
Holly Thurman
Art Director
Amy Pickwoad
Stand By Art Director
Nandie Narishkin
Assistant Art Director
Richard Hardy
Art Department Coordinator
Donna Shakesheff
Prop Master
Paul Smith
Prop Chargehand
Ian Griffin
Set Dresser
Jayne Davies
Austin J Curtis
Jamie Farrell
Jamie Southcott
Standby Props
Helen Atherton
Rob Brandon
Dressing Props
Mike Elkins
Paul Barnett
Graphic Designer
Chris Lees
Graphic Artist
Christina Tom
Concept Artist
Bryan Hitch
Storyboard Artist
Andrew Wildman
Petty Cash Buyer
Florence Tasker
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Practical Electrician
Christian Davies
Props Makers
Penny Howarth
Alan Hardy
Jamie Thomas
Props Driver
Gareth Fox
Construction Manager
Terry Horle
Construction Chargehand
Dean Tucker
Scenic Artist
John Pinkerton
Assistant Costume Designer
Fraser Purfit
Costume Supervisor
Carly Griffith
Costume Assistants
Katarina Cappellazzi
Gemma Evans
Make-Up Artists
Katie Lee
Vivienne Simpson
Casting Associate
Alice Purser
Assistant Editor
Becky Trotman
VFX Editor
Joel Skinner
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
ADR Editor
Matthew Cox
Dialogue Editor
Darran Clement
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Foley Editor
Jamie Talbutt
Peter Anderson Studio
Additional Visual Effects
BBC Wales Visual Effects
Online Editor
Geraint Pari Huws
Mick Vincent
With Thanks to
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Conducted and Orchestrated by
Ben Foster
Mixed by
Jake Jackson
Recorded by
Gerry O'Riordan
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Production Accountant
Jeff Dunn
Sound Recordist
Deian Llŷr Humphreys
Costume Designer
Howard Burden
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Special Effects
Real SFX
Millennium FX
Selina MacArthur
Production Designer
Michael Pickwoad
Director Of Photography
Jake Polonsky
Script Producer
Denise Paul
Line Producer
Des Hughes
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Caroline Skinner

Updated 7th June 2015