Tuesday, October 13, 1998 Published at 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
Time machine for sale - one careless owner
In action with the Doctor's most lethal enemies Daleks
After years of materialising and then dematerialising, the legendary Tardis from the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who is finally about to be going, going, gone.
But the buyer may have to dig deep into their pockets to take it home.
The boxes were actually used in the days before police radios, for locking up criminals while assistance was called using the telephone on the outside.
The famous blue light on the top flashed when there was a call for an officer, rather than when it was disappearing into thin air in the TV series.
Although the boxes were once a common sight on UK street corners, they are now remembered more for their extra-terrestrial role.
Indeed estate agents would have loved to try to sell its compact yet spacious features, because a technological trick meant the Doctor and his companions certainly travelled in comfort.
The fact that Tardis stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space gives a clue into how the space inside was expanded.
The Tardis should have blended into the scenery wherever it went, but it developed a fault whilst in London and never regained its adaptability.
This model has several million miles on the clock - and one not-so-careful owner.
But prospective purchasers are unlikely to want a full service history.
Auctioneer George McManara says there has been plenty of interest in the ultimate piece of Who memorabilia.
"Perhaps there's a Doctor Who museum, or Doctor Who fanatics who will come and pay loads of money for it," he said.
"We don't know what it will go for but there is no reserve and the highest bidder will get it."
The auction also includes the original cell door that kept the public safe from one of TV's favourite rogues, Norman Stanley Fletcher, played by Ronnie Barker in the BBC prison comedy Porridge.
There is also a bust of one of the men who lived behind it - Winston Churchill.
But Lot 688 - the Tardis - is the prop that is attracting most attention.
"It's bigger than I expected," said one woman who wondered just how large it really was when you step inside.
"I was scared of the Cybermen and the Daleks," he admitted.
There have already been dozens of enquiries about the Tardis from potential new owners.
But the auctioneers are refusing to speculate on what the machine will go for - it is simply impossible to put a price on a time machine, particularly one that is held in such affection by the Doctor's fans.