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The TARDIS: It's a Pretty Dangerous Workplace

From the moment Ian and Barbara met a grumpy old man in a junkyard, we could guess that the Doctor can be dangerous. And when his time-space ship suddenly dematerialised, knocking its occupants out and landing in Stone Age Britain, we knew the TARDIS was dangerous.
Imagine having a safety inspector come along and rate it! Well, that’s basically what Storage Equipment Experts has done. Think that’s mad? As the SEE explains:

“Sometimes a story moves too fast for the characters to pause and consider the unsafe working environment that they’re in… Over the course of Doctor Who’s 50 years, the Doctor has experienced every kind of drama — from the political to the intellectual, to the comedic, to the absurd — so why haven’t pallet rack inspections found their way into the story? Would it really be any stranger than that time the Doctor was trapped in the Big Brother house?”

They have a point. Taking a brief gaze at the workplaces of several fictional (probably) universes, the SEE has concluded that the TARDIS is one of the four most dangerous places in all of televisual history…
Very clever infographic there. The SEE has to be applauded.
Refusing to land? That’s happened a few times. Just recently, it refused to go to Trenzalore in The Name of the Doctor (2013), and the previous year, it struggled to break into 1930s New York. The “true weight” quote comes from Flatline (2014), finally giving us a proper answer to the question that’s persisted since the TARDIS was carried about in Marco Polo (1964). And the apt “health and safety nightmare” quote comes from Hide (2013).
So when has the TARDIS proven most dangerous? Three serials immediately come to mind: The Edge of Destruction (1964) showed us how the ship gets into people’s heads, making them go a little nutty as a result of a little accident. It’s like spilling a drink of a laptop: small accident; big hassle. Then in Castrovalva (1982), the newly-regenerated Fifth Doctor and his companions have to navigate around the TARDIS as it heads towards their doom once again. And in 2013’s Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, after the Eleventh Doctor sets its systems to basic and turns its shield oscillators off, some dodgy scrap-dealers decide it’s good salvage and rip it apart. Cue the cloister bell and a glorious scene alongside the Eye of Harmony.
Then there’s LogopolisThe Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, in which it destroys all of creation. Planet of Giants is pretty disastrous when the doors open in-flight. Inferno (courtesy of the Doctor’s tampering). The Invasion of Time is the scariest of the lot, of course. All those hospital wings. Brrr.
(Thanks to SEE Racking Inspection.)

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

The TARDIS: It's a Pretty Dangerous Workplace

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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