The Fourth Dimension

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

The read through for Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS was held immediately after production on The Snowmen wrapped for the day on Wednesday, 29 August, 2012. It took place in the BBC’s Roath Lock studios in Cardiff.

Principle filming began on Tuesday, 4 September, 2012 and ran through to Monday, 24 September. However, as the adventure contains a fragment from the very first episode of Doctor Who (see below) it could argued that Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS began shooting on 18 October, 1963 – the day the Doctor’s debut was shot!

The vast majority of the adventure was filmed in studio but the scene on the apparent edge of a rocky ravine was shot on location, weeks after the rest of the episode was in the can. This nail-biting sequence was shot in the Argoed Isha Quarry in the Vale of Glamorgan on Wednesday, 28 November, 2012.

When Clara explores one of the TARDIS’ many rooms she finds the Doctor’s cot, first seen in A Good Man Goes to War and what looks to be Amy’s toy TARDIS from Let’s Kill Hitler. She also comes across a magnifying glass – possibly the one used by the Doctor in the console room in The Power of Three – and an umbrella that looks very similar to the Seventh Doctor’s brolly in Paradise Towers.

The adventure is written by Steve Thompson who also wrote the 2011 pirate yarn, The Curse of the Black Spot. It’s the first episode of Doctor Who directed by Mat King whose previous credits include M.I. High, DCI Banks and Law and Order: UK.

Gregor van Baalen is played Ashley Walters, also known as Asher D, formerly of the group So Solid Crew. Bram van Baalen is played by Mark Oliver who starred alongside Matt Smith in the BBC’s 2009 series, Moses Jones.

This is the second adventure in a row where we hear the Cloister Bell. The Eye of Harmony was also referenced in Hide – you can read about them both in that episode’s Fourth Dimension.

Lancashire is a northern English county and its most famous towns include the seaside resort of Blackpool, referenced in The Rings of Akhaten and the ‘real life’ birth place of Jenna-Louise Coleman. It borders several other counties, including Cumbria; indeed prior to the boundary reforms of 1974, certain regions of what is now Cumbria were part of Lancashire.

When the Encyclopaedia Gallifreya ‘leaks’ and we hear knowledge ebbing from its container, you might just be able to catch the familiar voice of Timothy Dalton – in other words, Rassilon himself from The End of Time.

Immediately after Bram tries to dismantle the TARDIS console we hear an audio mosaic of lines from previous episodes– some more clearly than others… We initially catch the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan, from An Unearthly Child, revealing how the initials of TARDIS stand for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Also from that story, towards the end of the sequence, you can hear one of the people she was addressing – Ian Chesterton – expressing his astonishment at the nature of the ship! The clips from that scene are taken from:

An Unearthly Child, episode 1. 

Colony in Space, episode 1. The Third Doctor explains to Jo Grant that the TARDIS is dimensionally transcendental.

The Robots of Death, episode 1. The Fourth Doctor discusses trans-dimensional engineering with Leela.

The Doctor’s Wife. The TARDIS asks if ‘sexy thing’ is her name!

Rose. The Ninth Doctor assures Rose that the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn’t get through ‘that door’.

The Beast Below. Amy Pond reflects that she is in space…

Smith and Jones. Martha Jones struggles to understand the TARDIS.