Across fifty years of Doctor Who, one of the few constants has been the TARDIS (standing for either “Time And Relative Dimension In Space” or “Time And Relative Dimensions In Space” depending which episode you watch and who you ask). It’s always been there to some degree, usually seen at the beginning and end of a story—a literal vehicle to transport the Doctor and his companions to the story’s location. Like the Doctor, the TARDIS has changed a lot over the years. Even its exterior, stuck in the form of a police box due to a faulty chameleon circuit, has undergone small changes. However, the interior has appeared in numerous different ways. But despite the changes in appearance, the TARDIS has always remained more or less the same.
It’s actually been quite rare for any particular episode or story to focus on the TARDIS to any degree. Despite the constant changing and reinventing of the show as a whole, this is one thing that has remained quite constant—and for good reason, I think. Fans have often clamoured for more stories about the TARDIS, particularly stories set entirely on board the TARDIS. Yet production teams have remained resistant to doing this, adamant that the TARDIS is just a plot device, that literal vehicle I mentioned. The programme rarely showed more than just the console room, and sometimes not even that, instead having the TARDIS appear and the Doctor and companions come out. Indeed, in the early years, despite common fan belief, there was nothing to indicate that the TARDIS interior was the massive size it became in later years. It was bigger on the inside than the outside, yes, but in the early William Hartnell years, only the console room and a couple of adjoining rooms were ever seen, and there was no indication that there was more. Throughout the late sixties and all of the third Doctor’s tenure, we never saw anything beyond the console room at all. It wasn’t until the fourth Doctor story, “The Masque of Mandragora” that the first indication of those endless corridors appeared.