TARDIS Doors (part 1)

Somewhere along the way I planned to respond to the prompt below, thought about it, then promptly abandoned it in my draft folder for months and months, only to rediscover it today.

A picture is worth 1000 words. This safe has been through a lot. Tell its story.

Image credit: “safe” – © 2007 Paul Keller – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

At first glance the safe sitting amid the ruins reminds me of the TARDIS from the BBC’s Doctor Who.  In fact, I didn’t even realize it was a safe until I reread the prompt’s caption.

The TARDIS makes an appearance at the Toronto Comic Con.
The TARDIS makes an appearance at the Toronto Comic Con. Photo taken by my good friend Wayne Abat

Doctor Who’s TARDIS never changes from a Police Box into other shapes because because of a malfunction in the 1963 pilot episode, An Unearthly Child. Since then, for whatever reason, The Doctor just hasn’t been focused on getting it fixed–it being the Camouflage Unit, the Chameleon Circuit, or the Cloaking Device (depending upon the show’s episode or writer).  And not that the Doctor didn’t try to fix it, because eventually the malfunction does get solved, (sort of, but by then The Doctor is fond of the TARDIS’ Police Box appearance) yet no efforts are televised repairing it between the 1963 and 1981 seasons.  That seems like a long time for a crucial security feature to be offline.  Mind you, it was the 60s & 70s, and security was generally lax prior to the 911 terror attacks.

Besides, keeping track of a different shaped TARDIS during each new adventure might prove annoying (and even challenging) for a time traveling fellow and his companions (especially considering just how old the Doctor was rumored to be).  I equate it to keeping track of where I last parked my car at the mall, but with the added complexity of it changing color and model upon each new visit.

On the other hand, I think that a chameleon circuit might be an excellent feature on my aged minivan.  With it being nearly 14 years old, there’s many times I would prefer it look different than what it does.  I image myself saying to the grocery cart delivery kid, “Sure, just leave the bags by the base of that palm tree.  I can get them from there.”

The yellow highlighted doors on the left don't match the shape of doors seen on a Police Box.
The yellow highlighted doors on the left don’t match the shape of doors seen on a Police Box.

The doors of Doctor Who’s Police Box is one aspect of the TARDIS that has always bothered me.  On the outside, the Police Box doors are rectangular, but on the interior of the TARDIS the outer doors have a jagged cut on each hinged side.  My logical mind justifies it with idea of there being a lobby, mud room, airlock, or transitional area to accommodate the differing door shapes.  I’m sure some expert “Whovian” will be able to explain it all away, but in my imagination, a scene like this plays out prior to the show’s pilot episode…

 (Somewhere on the BBC studios in 1962)

Nigel:  Hey, what the hell is this?!
Garth:  What’s the matter?
Nigel:  The doors.  You’ve made them all wrong!
Garth:  What you mean?  I built the spaceship’s interior just like the script says.
Nigel:  Yes, but the doors aren’t rectangles!  You’ve got these angled cuts on the hinged sides.
Garth:  Why? What do your doors look like on the outside?
Nigel:  They’re tall rectangles, just like a Police Box.
Garth:  That’s stupid.  What kind of spaceship has doors that look like a Police Box?
Nigel:  No, you don’t understand. “It is a Police Box.”
Garth:  I thought it was a space ship?  Are you sure we’re working on the same set?
Nigel: Yes!  The Police Box “is” the spaceship.
Garth:  You’re telling me, the spaceship is a Police Box?
Nigel:   Yes.
Garth:  Well, how is all this supposed to fit inside a Police Box?
Nigel:  The spaceship is bigger on the inside than on the outside?
Garth:  You mean to tell me, the TV viewer is supposed to believe this room fits into a space the size of a Police Box?  TV viewers are daft, but this is just plain unbelievable.
Nigel:  Don’t worry. The Doctor explains it to the viewers in the story.
Garth: The doctor?
Nigel:  Yes, Doctor Who.
Garth: Exactly.  I have no clue who the doctor is.
Nigel:  No, The Doctor is the main character in the show.
Garth: What does a doctor have to do with space travel?  Is one of the astronauts sick?
Nigel:  No, the Doctor is the space traveler.
Garth: Really?  Is that because only doctors can actually afford space travel?
Nigel:   No, and he’s not a doctor of medicine.  He’s a scientist from another world.
Garth:  And he builds spaceships that look like Police Boxes?
Nigel:   No, Doctor Who flies the spaceship.
Garth:  I have no idea which doctor flies this ridiculous spacecraft.
Nigel:  No, no. The Doctor’s name is Who.
Garth:  How do you spell it?
Nigel:   W-H-O
Garth:  That’s an odd name for a doctor, even for a Police Box spaceship-building scientist doctor.
Nigel:   Yes, but your interior doors still don’t match my Police Box doors.  These have got to be fixed.
Garth:  Listen, long before any TV viewers ever notice the inconsistency between the inner and outer doors, they’ll have to reconcile that they’re watching a crazy TV show where a scientist doctor, named Who, that flies around space inside a Police Box, which itself defies the laws of physics and spatial relations.  Our doors are the least of the problem here.
Nigel:   Well… alright, but I still don’t like it.
Garth:  Relax.  This show won’t even last a season, if that.

If a TARDIS with a functioning Chameleon Circuit arrived in our westernized culture today, what shape or object would it mimic?

(To be cont’d in Part 2)

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