November 9th, 2017 was a pretty exciting day for Doctor Who fans around the world, with Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker’s new costume unveiled for the very first time ahead of her full series in autumn 2018.


And amidst all the sartorial excitement it would have been easy to miss the fact that the the BBC also offered a first look at the exterior of Jodie Whittaker’s Tardis, which has changed quite significantly from the version used by Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith’s incarnations. At time of writing, the new interior remains under wraps.

Since then, more photos and models have emerged giving us a much better look at the revamped blue box – so what’s changed?

1. The colour

Jodie Whittaker's new Tardis alongside the current model

Let’s start with one of the more extensive changes made to the Tardis for Whittaker’s series: the colour. The Tardis has apparently switched from the brighter blue of the Smith/Capaldi Tardis to a an almost greenish hue, though it may look more blue as it travels to different destinations throughout future episodes.

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The slightly more "distressed" style of paintwork is also much closer to that used for the Tardis previously flown by Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant’s Doctors, which appeared from 2005 until 2010 – and then made a cameo in the video announcing Whittaker’s casting as the new Doctor last year. Perhaps a statement of intent to take the Tardis back to its noughties days?

2. The St John’s Ambulance logo

Also extremely notable in this new Tardis is that the St John’s Ambulance logo, which used to be displayed on the right-hand door has been removed. Now, this logo hasn’t always been present – in fact, over Doctor Who’s 54-year history most Tardis designs have eschewed it.

However, it was part of the very first Tardis piloted by William Hartnell’s Doctor, and while it was dropped after 1966, departing showrunner Steven Moffat brought it back for his 2010 Tardis redesign as a way of connecting the show to its original roots. Now, it seems to have slipped off again.

3. The black sign

In a big change, the Tardis' iconic door sign (the one that says it’s Free for Use of Public and instructs the user to pull the door open, despite the fact that the Doctor always pushes) has been inverted in this new design, with white letters on a black background as opposed to the black letter on white background style most fans will be used to.

This is not a complete first in Doctor Who, of course - a darker sign in this style was used in the series between 1969-1976, and sporadically after that until 1980. A dark blue version was used in the 1996 Doctor Who movie.

This change slightly ties in with the style of the main Police Box sign on the top of the Tardis, which has white letters on a black background, as usual, though with a slight change in the font.

While we’re looking at it, it’s worth mentioning that the new sign also switches around the handle used to pull out the police box phone enclosed behind the panel. Before it was on the right, and now it’s on the left – another unusual style for the Tardis, though this format has been used on at least one occasion in the 1996 Doctor Who movie.

4. Handles

On the subject of handles (no, not the Cyberman), a minor change worth noticing – the right-hand door handle has moved on this new exterior, slipping below the Yale lock and out of line with the smaller panel handle.

From what we can see, the door handles have a less rounded and more square appearance in this new version.

5. Windows

On the new Tardis exterior, the windows have lost their white paintjob as seen on Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s version, while the tint on two of the lower panes (forming a “T” shape out of the untinted panes) has also been removed.

6. The lamp

At the top of the Tardis, some small aesthetic changes seem to have been made to the lamp, though it’s hard to see it clearly in the current image.

8. Some other tiny tweaks

In an interesting alteration to the Tardis design, the four edges of the frame have become diagonally fluted pillars, with new indentations lining up with grooves under the Police Box sign.

Meanwhile the six door panels, while remaining largely the same, now leave a greater gap between the lowest two panels and the very bottom of the Tardis.

8. And finally, one thing that hasn’t changed…

A recreation of the original Tardis design alongside Peter Capaldi's in Twice Upon a Time (BBC)

While there are a few differences to previous Tardises in this new design, one tradition burns brightly: it still looks NOTHING like the real Police Boxes of the 1960s, in keeping with every other woefully inaccurate Doctor Who Tardis to date (the closest, as noted by Sarah Jane Adventures writer and Doctor Who expert Clayton Hickman, was Peter Cushing’s Doctor in the non-canon 1960s films).

It’s nice to know that some things never change.

An earlier version of this article was published on 9 November 2017


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