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A TARDIS is a product of the advanced technology of theTime Lords, an extraterrestrial civilisation to which the programme's central character, the Doctor, belongs. A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and space. The interior of a TARDIS is much larger than its exterior. It can blend in with its surroundings using the ship's "chameleon circuit". TARDISes also possess a degree of sapience and provide their users with additional tools and abilities including a universal translation system based on telepathy.
In the series, the Doctor pilots an apparently unreliable, obsolete TARDIS; in the episode "Let's Kill Hitler" (2011), it is designated "TT Type 40, Mark 3". Its chameleon circuit is broken, leaving it stuck in the shape of a 1960s-style London police box after a visit to London in 1963.The Doctor's TARDIS was for most of the series' history said to have been stolen from the Time Lords' home planet, Gallifrey, where it was old, decommissioned and derelict.
The unpredictability of the TARDIS' short-range guidance (relative to the size of the Universe) has often been a plot point in the Doctor's travels. In "The Doctor's Wife", the TARDIS reveals that much of this "unpredictability" was actually intentional on its part in order to get the Doctor where he needed to go as opposed to where he wanted to go.
Doctor Who has become so much a part of British popular culture that the shape of the police box become more immediately associated with the TARDIS than with its real-world inspiration. The name TARDIS is a registered trademark of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
When Doctor Who was being developed in 1963, the production staff discussed what the Doctor's time machine would look like. To keep the design within budget, it was decided to make it resemble apolice telephone box. This was explained in the context of the series as a disguise created by the ship's "chameleon circuit", a mechanism which is responsible for changing the outside appearance of the ship the millisecond it lands in order to fit in with its environment. The Ninth Doctor explains that if, for example, a TARDIS (with a working chameleon circuit) were to materialise in ancient Rome it might disguise itself as a statue on a plinth. The First Doctor explains that if it were to land in the middle of theIndian Mutiny, it might take on the appearance of a howdah (the carrier on the back of an elephant).Within the context of the series, the Doctor's TARDIS has a faulty chameleon circuit that keeps it permanently stuck in the police box form. Despite being shown several times trying to repair it, the Doctor claims to have given up the attempt as he has grown accustomed to its appearance.
The idea for the police-box disguise came from BBC staff writer Anthony Coburn, who rewrote the programme's first episode from a draft by C. E. Webber. In the first episode, "An Unearthly Child" (1963), the TARDIS is first seen in a 1963 junkyard. It subsequently malfunctions, retaining the police box shape in a prehistoric landscape.
The first police box prop to be built for the programme was designed by Peter Brachacki, who worked as designer on the first episode. Nevertheless, one story has it the box came from Z-Cars, whileDoctor Who producer Steven Moffat has said that the original TARDIS prop was reused from Dixon of Dock Green, although this is explicitly contradicted by the research cited on the BBC's own website. Despite changes in the prop, the TARDIS has become the show's most consistently recognisable visual element.
The dimensions and colour of the TARDIS props used in the series have changed many times, as a result of damage and the needs of the show, and none of the BBC props has been a faithful replica of the original MacKenzie Trench model. This was referenced on-screen in the episode "Blink" (2007), when the character Detective Inspector Shipton says the TARDIS "isn't a real [police box]. The phone's just a dummy, and the windows are the wrong size."[nb 4]
The production team conceived of the TARDIS travelling bydematerialising at one point and rematerialising elsewhere, although sometimes in the series it is shown also to be capable of conventional space travel. In the 2006 Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride", the Doctor remarks that for a spaceship, the TARDIS does remarkably little flying. The ability to travel simply by fading into and out of different locations became one of the trademarks of the show, allowing for a great deal of versatility in setting and storytelling without a large expense in special effects. The distinctive accompanying sound effect – a cyclic wheezing, groaning noise – was originally created in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop by Brian Hodgson. He produced the effect by dragging a set of house keys along the strings of an old, gutted piano. The resulting sound was recorded and electronically processed with echo and reverb. When employed in the series, the sound is usually synchronised with the flashing light on top of the police box, or the fade-in and fade-out effects of a TARDIS (see "Controls" below). Writer Patrick Ness has described the ship's distinctive dematerialisation noise as "a kind of haunted grinding sound", while the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips traditionally use the onomatopoeicphrase "vworp vworp vworp".
In 1996, the BBC applied to the UK Patent Office to register the TARDIS as a trademark. This was challenged by the Metropolitan Police, who felt that they owned the rights to the police box image. However, the Patent Office found that there was no evidence that the Metropolitan Police – or any other police force – had ever registered the image as a trademark. In addition, the BBC had been sellingmerchandise based on the image for over three decades without complaint by the police. The Patent Office issued a ruling in favour of the BBC in 2002.
TARDISes are "grown", as stated by the Tenth Doctor in "The Impossible Planet" (2006), and new TARDISes cannot be grown to replace a missing TARDIS if the Doctor's home planet was "gone". They draw their power from several sources, but primarily from the Eye of Harmony, said to be the nucleus of a black hole created by the early time lords; a singularity. In The Edge of Destruction (1964), the power source of the TARDIS (referred to as the "heart of the TARDIS") is said to be beneath the central column of the console. They are also said to draw power from the entire universe as revealed in the episode "Rise of the Cybermen" (2006), in which the TARDIS is brought to a parallel universe and cannot function without the use of a crystal power source from within the TARDIS, charged by the Doctor's life force.
Other elements needed for the proper functioning of the TARDIS and requiring occasional replenishment include mercury (used in its fluid links), the rare ore Zeiton 7 (Vengeance on Varos, 1985), a trachoid time crystal (The Hand of Fear, 1976) and "artron energy". Artron energy is said to be the "residue of TARDIS engines", and is also found in Time Lord brains and bodies as well as other species of time traveller (The Deadly Assassin, 1976; Four to Doomsday, 1982; The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, 2009; Death of the Doctor, 2010; "The Doctor's Wife", 2011; "The Power of Three", 2012). Another form of energy, "huon energy", is found in the heart of the TARDIS and (apart from the activities of theTorchwood Institute) nowhere else in the universe ("The Runaway Bride", 2006).
Before a TARDIS becomes fully functional, it must be primed with the biological imprint of a Time Lord, normally done by simply having a Time Lord operate the TARDIS for the first time. This imprint comes from the Rassilon Imprimatur, part of the biological make-up of Time Lords, which gives them both asymbiotic link to their TARDISes and the ability to withstand the physical stresses of time travel (The Two Doctors, 1985). Without the Imprimatur, molecular disintegration would result; this serves as a safeguard against misuse of time travel even if the TARDIS technology were copied. Once a time machine is properly primed, however, with the imprint stored on a device called a "briode nebuliser", it can be used safely by any species.[nb 5] According to Time Lord law, unauthorised use of a TARDIS carries "only one penalty", implied to be death ("The Invasion of Time", 1978).
A TARDIS usually travels by dematerialising in one spot, traversing the time vortex, and then rematerialising at its destination, without physically travelling through the intervening space. However, the Doctor's TARDIS has been seen to be able to fly through physical space, first in Fury from the Deep(1968) and at repeated times throughout the revived series, most notably in "The Runaway Bride" (2006), in which the TARDIS is shown launching into space (most previous incidents show the TARDIS flying only after it has dematerialised from a location). In "The Runaway Bride", extended flight of this nature puts a strain on the TARDIS's systems. While a TARDIS can materialise inside another, if both TARDISes occupy exactly the same space and time, a Time Ram will occur, resulting in their mutual annihilation (The Time Monster). In Logopolis, the Master tricked the Doctor into materialising his TARDIS around the Master's, creating a dimensionally recursive loop, each TARDIS appearing inside the other's console room. In the mini-episodes "Space" and "Time" (2011), an accident results in the TARDIS automatically materialising in "the safest spot available", which turns out to be inside its own control room.
Apart from the ability to travel in space and time (and, on occasion, to other dimensions), the most remarkable characteristic of a TARDIS is that its interior is much larger than it appears from the outside. The explanation is that a TARDIS is "dimensionally transcendental", meaning that its exterior and interior exist in separate dimensions. In The Robots of Death (1977), the Fourth Doctor tried to explain this to his companion Leela, using the analogy of how a larger cube can appear to be able to fit inside a smaller one if the larger cube is farther away, yet immediately accessible at the same time (see Tesseract). According to the Doctor, transdimensional engineering was "a key Time Lord discovery". To those unfamiliar with this aspect of a TARDIS, stepping inside the ship for the first time usually results in a reaction of shocked disbelief as they see the interior dimensions ("It's bigger on the inside!"). The Eleventh Doctor is particularly fond of this reaction, and is surprised and confused when Clara Oswald(in "The Snowmen") inverts the usual response by saying "It's smaller on the outside."
In An Unearthly Child (1963), Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter, claimed to have coined theacronym TARDIS, saying that she "made [it] up from the initials", while the Twelfth Doctor claims in "The Zygon Inversion" (2015) that he came up with it the term from the initials, mentioning an entirely different set of words to Susan as to what "TARDIS" stands for. The word TARDIS is used to describe other Time Lords' travel capsules as well. The Discontinuity Guide, written by Paul Cornell, Keith Topping, and Martin Day, suggests that "[she] was a precocious young Time Lady, and her name for travel capsules caught on." The Virgin New Adventures novel Lungbarrow by Marc Platt records Susan telling the First Doctor that she gave him the idea when he was, implicitly, the "Other".
As seen in The Trial of a Time Lord (1986), the experiences of the TARDIS and its crew can be recorded and played back from the Matrix, the Time Lord computer network that is the repository of all their knowledge, as well as the memories and experiences of deceased Time Lords. The Doctor implies in this serial, with his protestations of being "bugged", that the TARDIS is not normally connected to the Matrix in this manner.
The TARDIS has been shown to be incredibly rugged, withstanding gunfire (the 1996 television movie,Doctor Who; "The Runaway Bride"), temperatures of 3000 degrees without even scorching ("42"), atmospheric re-entry ("Voyage of the Damned"), falls of several miles ("The Satan Pit") and sinking into pooling acid ("The Almost People"). In The Curse of Peladon, after the TARDIS falls down the side of a cliff, the Third Doctor remarks that it "may have its faults, but it is indestructible." This does not apply when facing certain extremely advanced weaponry, often created after the Doctor's Type 40 TARDIS, such as Dalek missiles ("The Parting of the Ways"), for which the TARDIS requires additional shielding. Another piece of advanced Dalek technology which comes near to destroying the TARDIS is the power source of the "Crucible" in "Journey's End" (2008). In Frontios (1984), the Fifth Doctor believes the TARDIS to have been destroyed in a meteorite bombardment, apparently contradicting the earlier claim of indestructibility. It explodes in The Mind Robber (1968) and the crew end up "out of the time space dimension. Out of reality." In 2007's Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned", the TARDIS is hit in mid-flight, creating a large hole in the interior wall, although its shields are down at the time. The Doctor later activates some controls and the TARDIS again becomes able to withstand an atmospheric re-entry. Also in the 2013 episode "The Name of the Doctor" the TARDIS is shown to be able to withstand immense speeds, pressure and heat by being pulled into Trenzalore's atmosphere without any functioning systems. The only noticeable damage caused was to the exterior of the TARDIS, in which a small crack is shown on the glass. In "Robot of Sherwood" (2014), Robin Hood's wooden arrow easily pierces the TARDIS's wooden frame. However, once the Twelfth Doctor removes it, the hole immediately seals itself. In "Flatline" (2014), the TARDIS demonstrated a 'siege mode' after being drained of power, miniaturised and hit by a train, when it reverted to a small, almost inert metal cube with Gallifreyan markings. In the episodes "The Magician's Apprentice" and "The Witch's Familiar" (2015), it was apparently destroyed by a Dalek laser, but shown to have deliberately vaporised itself as a protective measure - the Doctor was then able to cause it to reassemble itself, undamaged, in the same spot.
In the programme, the Doctor's TARDIS is an obsolete "Type 40 TT capsule" that he unofficially "borrowed" from the repair shop when he departed his home planet of Gallifrey. That incident is referred to as early as 1969, but not actually shown on screen for another 44 years, in a scene where future companion Clara Oswald advises him the specific capsule to take: although the navigation systems were malfunctioning it would be much more fun.
The TARDIS was already old when the Doctor first took it, but its actual age is not specified. In the unfinished TV serial Shada, fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis says that the Type 40 models came out when he was a boy. There were originally 305 registered Type 40s, but all the others had been decommissioned and replaced by new, improved models; however, the Doctor's TARDIS had at some point been removed from the registry by the Celestial Intervention Agency on Gallifrey. By the time of The Pirate Planet (1978), the Doctor had been travelling on board in time and space for 523 years, by the time of "The Doctor's Wife" (2011), he had been travelling in it for 700 years, and in "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" (2013) he had been travelling for 900 years. In "The Empty Child" (2005), the Ninth Doctor claimed that he has had "900 years of phone box travel".
The appearance of the primary console room has changed over the years, sometimes in minor ways and sometimes drastically when the set has had to be moved or rebuilt. This has often been rationalised in the scripts as redecoration, the ship's own ability to reconfigure or repair itself, or even a change of "desktop theme". In "The Doctor's Wife" the TARDIS says she has thirty desktops archived, although the Doctor has only changed it a dozen times "yet".
In the 2011 episode "The Doctor's Wife" the "soul" of the ship is transferred into the body of a humanoid female called Idris, enabling the Doctor to have a conversation with his craft. The TARDIS says that she deliberately allowed the Doctor to "steal" her, as she wanted to see the universe itself; in a reversal of the traditional view, the TARDIS claims to have stolen the Doctor. When he accuses the TARDIS of being unreliable, she defends herself by saying that she has always taken him where he "needed to go", as opposed to where he "wanted to go". During their brief opportunity to converse, the TARDIS expresses both affection and frustration with the Doctor (including annoyance that he pushes her doors open rather than pulls them open as the instructional sign on the outside indicates). When asked by the Doctor if she actually has a name, she self-identifies with the name "Sexy", based upon what the Doctor calls her when he's alone in the ship (she later introduces herself to the Doctor's companions using this name). Eventually, the Idris "avatar" dies, and the last words uttered by the TARDIS to the Doctor using this interface are "I love you." Two additional pieces of information confirmed by the TARDIS during this incident are that TARDIS consciousnesses are female and that she and the Doctor have been travelling for approximately 700 years.
In a later episode, "Let's Kill Hitler" (2011), the Doctor speaks to the TARDIS by way of a holographic voice interface. In this instance, after providing options including an image of himself and former companions, the TARDIS manifests as an image of Amelia Pond as a child. In "Hide" (2013), companion Clara Oswald interacts with a similar interface outside the TARDIS' doors when it refuses to open for her. In a subsequent mini-episode entitled "Clara and the TARDIS", further animosity between Clara and the ship's consciousness is indicated when the TARDIS reconfigures her internal layout to prevent Clara from finding her bedroom. However, following "The Name of the Doctor" (2013) - in which her leap into the Doctor's time stream is what facilitated the Doctor and Susan to steal that TARDIS instead of the adjacent one that they had intended to take - the TARDIS's animosity appears to have disappeared as Clara is now shown as able to close the TARDIS doors with a click of her fingers.
The episode "Hide" (2013) revealed that the Doctor's TARDIS is capable of operating autonomously; in the storyline, Clara convinces the ship, simply by speaking to her, to enter a pocket universe to rescue the imperiled Doctor.
The undisguised appearance of a Type 40 TARDIS' exterior is a silver-grey cylinder only slightly larger than a police box. Its door is recessed and slides to open. This default state has appeared in 2013's "The Name of the Doctor", which depicts the TARDIS' original theft by the Doctor.
Although a TARDIS is supposed to blend inconspicuously into whatever environment it turns up in, the Doctor's TARDIS retains the shape of apolice box because of a fault that occurred in the first Doctor Who serial,An Unearthly Child (1963). The ability to alter its appearance was first mentioned in the second episode of the series, where the First Doctor and Susan noted the unit was malfunctioning. ("It's still a police box! Why hasn't it changed?") It was first given a general term of a "camouflage unit" in The Time Meddler (1965). The name "chameleon circuit" was first used in the 1975 Target Books novelisation of The Terror of the Autons, and eventually mentioned on screen in Logopolis(1981). The circuit was called a "cloaking device" by the Eighth Doctorin the television movie Doctor Who (1996), and again a "chameleon circuit" in the 2005 series episode "Boom Town".
The Doctor attempts to repair the circuit in Logopolis, to disastrous results. He tries again in Attack of the Cybermen (1985), but the successful transformations of the TARDIS into the shape of a pipe organ, a painted Welsh dresser (much to the amusement ofPerpurgilliam "Peri" Brown and the Sixth Doctor's annoyance) and an elaborate gateway ended with a return to the police box shape. The circuit was also repaired during the Virgin New Adventures novels, but again the TARDIS' shape was eventually restored to a police box shape. In "Boom Town", the Ninth Doctor implies that he had stopped trying to fix the circuit quite some time ago because he had become rather fond of the police box shape – a claim the Eighth Doctor makes in the 1996 television movie.
Cosmetically, the police box exterior of the TARDIS has remained virtually unchanged, although there have been slight modifications over the years. For example, the sign on the door concealing the police telephone has been black letters on a white background (An Unearthly Child), white on blue (The Seeds of Death, 1969)[dubious ] and white on black (The Curse of Peladon, 1972). Other modifications include different wordings on the phone panel; for example, "Urgent Calls" (An Unearthly Child) as opposed to "All Calls" (Castrovalva publicity photos). The "POLICE BOX" sign was wider from Season 18 (1980) onwards and for the 2005 series, but not for the television movie. From An Unearthly Child toThe War Machines (1966), the TARDIS also had a St. John Ambulance badge on the main doors, as did real police boxes; this has been reinstated and the window frame colour has returned to white forMatt Smith's first season as the Doctor, shown in 2010. These various versions are depicted when thirteen incarnations of the Doctor all converge on Gallifrey at the climax of "The Day of the Doctor" (2013). "The Empty Child" (2005) shows that the telephone cupboard could be opened and the telephone accessed from the exterior, but this device was then non-functional. The telephone can however be called from across space and time. Because of the St. John Ambulance badge, 11th-century monks considered the telephone's ring to be "the bells of Saint John".
Despite the anachronistic police box shape, the TARDIS' presence is rarely questioned when it materialises in the present-day United Kingdom. In "Boom Town", the Ninth Doctor simply notes that humans do not notice odd things like the TARDIS, echoing a similar sentiment expressed by theSeventh Doctor in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), that humans have an "amazing capacity for self-deception", while in "The Fires of Pompeii" (2008) it is mistaken for an objet d'art by a merchant who purchases it and moves it into his home. Various episodes, notably "The Sound of Drums" (2007), also note that the TARDIS generates a perception filter to reinforce the idea that it is perfectly ordinary.
When the TARDIS "died" with the Doctor in battle in an alternative timeline, it became his tomb on the grave fields of the planet Trenzalore. Although the tomb retains its police box exterior appearance, its interior volume begins to "leak", growing the exterior to hundreds of feet in height.
For most of the series' run, the exterior doors of the police box operated separately from the heavier interior doors, although sometimes the two sets could open simultaneously to allow the ship's passengers to look directly outside and vice versa. The revived series' TARDIS features no such secondary doors; the police box doors open directly into the console room. The entrance to the TARDIS is capable of being locked and unlocked from the outside with a key, which the Doctor keeps on his person and occasionally gives copies of to his companions. In the 1996 television movie, the Doctor kept a spare key "in a cubbyhole behind the 'P'" (of the POLICE BOX sign). In The Invasion of Time, a Citadel Guard on Gallifrey is initially baffled by the archaic lock when attempting to open the Doctor's TARDIS.
The Doctor almost always opens the doors inwards, despite the fact that a real police box door opened outwards; in "The Doctor's Wife" (2011), it is revealed that the TARDIS is aware of this and finds it annoying. After crash-landing on its back in Amelia Pond's garden in "The Eleventh Hour", the doors uncharacteristically open outward, as they had previously done when the TARDIS was also on its back inThe Ice Warriors (1967); additionally, the left door opened in tandem with the usual right door in these instances. When hovering against a building in the same 'doors-up' horizontal orientation in "Day of the Moon" (2011), however, the doors opened inward as usual to receive River Song.
In the 2005 series, the keys are also remotely linked to the TARDIS, capable of signalling its presence or impending arrival by heating up and glowing. The TARDIS' keys have varied in design from an ordinaryYale key to an ankh-like key embossed with an alien pattern (identified in Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke's 1972 book The Making of Doctor Who as the constellation of Kasterborous, Gallifrey's home system) from seasons 11 to 13, after which it reverted to the Yale key design. The ankh-like key was also used in the 1996 television movie. In Ghost Light and Survival, a different design, featuring the Seal of Rassilon, was used. The revived series uses the Yale key version, most notably shown in "Blink" (2007), when the Weeping Angels attempt to gain access to the TARDIS using a stolen key.
The key is also able to repair temporal anomalies and paradoxes, including death aversion, through its link to the TARDIS.
The TARDIS' lock's security level has varied from story to story. Originally, it was said to have 21 different "combinations" and would melt if the key was placed in the wrong one (The Daleks, 1963–64). The First Doctor was also able to unlock it with his ring (The Web Planet, 1965) and repair it by using the light of an alien sun refracted through the ring's jewel (The Daleks' Master Plan). In The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) and "Utopia" (2007), the TARDIS was shown to have an internal deadlock; once thrown, it would prevent entry even for authorised users with authorised keys. In The Dalek Invasion of Earth, this is known as 'double-locking'. In The Sensorites (1964), the entire lock mechanism is removed from the TARDIS' door via a hand-held Sensorite device.
The lock itself has been shown with different capabilities. In Spearhead from Space (1970), the Third Doctor said that the lock had a metabolism detector, so that even if an unauthorised person had a key, the doors would remain locked. This security measure was also seen in the New Series Adventuresnovel Only Human (2005), which called it an "advanced meson recognition system." The Ninth Doctor claims that when the doors were shut, even "the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan" could not enter ("believe me, they've tried") ("Rose", 2005). In "Doomsday" (2006), when the TARDIS is confiscated, the Doctor claims, "You'll never get inside it." Several people have managed to just wander into the TARDIS without any problem over the years, including some who became companions. Despite the TARDIS' apparent infallibility in its security, some of the instruments inside or the interior itself have been breached and remote-controlled. In the serial The War Games (1969), the Time Lords manage to breach the inside of the TARDIS while in mid-flight and landing in order to erect something similar to a force field. In "Utopia" (2007), the Doctor is able to lock the TARDIS to the coordinates it had previously visited from outside using the sonic screwdriver. In the episode "The Rings of Akhaten" (2013), Clara Oswaldcannot get into the TARDIS and says, "I don't think it likes me!"
In the 2008 episode "Forest of the Dead" (2008), River Song (a character whose timeline intersects with the Doctor's in non-linear order) says to the Doctor that she knows he would be able to open the TARDIS' doors with a snap of his fingers. Although the Doctor dismisses this as impossible, at the episode's conclusion, he opens and closes the doors by doing just that, eschewing the need for a key. He is later shown doing the same in "The Eleventh Hour" (2010), "Day of the Moon", and "The Caretaker" (2014). In addition, despite the animosity it previously displayed towards her, Clara Oswald is also shown being able to open and shut the TARDIS' doors by snapping her fingers (in "The Day of the Doctor", 2013, and "The Caretaker").
In the 2009 Christmas episode, part one of The End of Time, the Doctor uses a remote locking system to lock the TARDIS, similar to the remote-control locking system used on modern cars. Upon pointing his key fob at the TARDIS, the TARDIS makes a distinctive chirp and the light on top of the TARDIS flashes. Later in the same episode, the key fob, when again used by the Doctor, shifts the TARDIS "just a second out of sync" (one second into the future), rendering it invisible and so hiding it from the Master.
The doors are supposed to be closed while materialising; in Planet of Giants (1964), the opening of the doors during a materialisation sequence causes the ship and its occupants to shrink to doll size. In The Enemy of the World (1967), taking off while the doors were still open results in an uncontrolled decompression, causing the villainous Salamander to be blown out of the TARDIS. In the Seventh Doctor audio drama Colditz (2001), a character is killed by being halfway inside the TARDIS when it dematerialises. In Warriors' Gate (1981), the doors open during flight between two universes, admitting a Tharil named Biroc, and allowing the time winds to burn the Doctor's hand and seriously damage K9. In "The Runaway Bride" (2006), "The Stolen Earth" (2008) and subsequent stories, the doors can be opened safely while the ship is in a vacuum, as the TARDIS protects its occupants (see the "Defences" section below); in The Horns of Nimon (1979), the Doctor deliberately extrudes the "defence shield" to dock with a spacecraft. In The Time Of Angels, River asks the Doctor to provide an "air corridor" to assist in her escape from the Byzantium in deep space.
Objects are sometimes shown clinging to the outside of the TARDIS and being carried with it as it dematerialises. In Silver Nemesis (1988), an arrow is fired at the TARDIS and is embedded in its door. The arrow remains in the door throughout the serial and through several dematerialisations before being removed at the story's conclusion; this is repeated in "The Shakespeare Code" (2007), and the arrow is removed in the following episode, "Gridlock". "Utopia" presents, for the first time on-screen, a circumstance in which a character travels on the exterior of the TARDIS during a flight, when Jack Harkness grabs hold of the TARDIS as it began to dematerialise and holds on until it reaches its destination; the episode does establish, however, that a normal person would not have survived the trip, as Jack is "killed" by the experience, but due to his immortality, soon revives. This concept was altered for "The Time of the Doctor" (2013) where Clara also travels with the TARDIS by holding on to its exterior. To prevent Clara from dying the TARDIS has to drastically slow down its time travel, arriving 300 years too late with a visibly aged Doctor shouting where has it been all this time. In "Vincent and the Doctor" (2010), some advertisements are attached to the TARDIS. After materialisation, they are shown to be burning. At the conclusion of the 2015 episode "Face the Raven", Rigsy decorates the TARDIS with painted flowers and a chalk drawing of Clara Oswald; when the Doctor dematerialises the retrieved TARDIS at the conclusion of "Hell Bent" (2015), the painted flowers and picture remain for a moment before the picture blows away and the flowers flake and fall to the ground.