Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 13:10 UK
Doctor Who's new TARDIS centrepiece made in Bristol

Doctor Who, assistant Amy Pond and the inside of the new TARDIS
The TARDIS interior was redesigned for the new Doctor by Edward Thomas

When the BBC team behind Dr Who decided that the Time Lord's TARDIS needed a makeover for the new series, they called upon a team of craftsman from Bristol to help out with the unique design.

The staff at Bristol Blue Glass were put to the task of producing the glass central pillar, otherwise known as the Time Rotor, for the inside of the Doctor's new look time machine.

BBC Radio Bristol's Nigel Dando spoke to workshop manager Paul Williams about the project.


"It's the heartbeat of the TARDIS," he said.

"You probably saw it on Saturday night (3 April) , when it went up and down in the middle of the TARDIS.

"When I saw it I thought 'that's amazing, we made that in our factory in Brislington'."

The Time Rotor had to be rebuilt, after the TARDIS was destroyed in the final episodes involving the previous Doctor, David Tennant.

"At the moment they want a reserve [Time Rotor] just in case that one breaks, so hopefully in the future we'll be making another one.

"It was made totally by hand, and that's the amazing thing, it's quite a big piece.

"The outer case is about three foot long and about 20 inches wide - the middle bit we made in parts and then glued it together.

The staff at Bristol Blue Glass were able to use traditional techniques to make the centrepiece but admitted that it took "a bit more sweat and a bit more muscle" to complete this huge task.

Doctor Who and his assistant, Amy Pond, with the new look TARDIS
The TARDIS is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space
The programme is listed in Guinness World Records as the world's longest-running science fiction tv show
The Doctor has been played by 11 actors
The transition from one actor to another is explained by 'regeneration', where the Doctor takes on a new body and personality
The 11th Doctor is accompanied by assistant Amy Pond, portrayed by Karen Gillan
Since 1963, more than 35 actors have featured as the Doctor's companion
Notable adversaries of the Doctor include the Cybermen, the Sontarans, the Daleks, and Davros, creator of the Daleks
As of July 2008, the revived series has been, or is currently, broadcast weekly in 42 countries

"It took about four or five people to make the piece," said Mr Williams.

"Imagine on the end of a blowing iron, a piece of glass that big, it's quite hard for someone to pick it up - you need to be Goliath!"

But it wasn't all plain sailing for the workshop staff, with a few accidents taking place along the way.

"It's so big, [that] as it cools down it cools down too quickly sometimes," added Mr Williams.

"You need to keep the glass really hot to keep it turning and to keep it going.

"Once it cools down, it cracks and we actually lost a few on the way.

"I think we done about three or four - it's quite frustrating sometimes as a lot of work goes into it."

Bristol Blue Glass has previously made other items for films and TV shows, including all of the goblets - which they also engraved - on the set of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The firm also created unique historically-accurate green glass goblets, beakers and jugs for the 2008 feature film The Other Boleyn Girl.

The company has been in the city, in some way, shape or form, for about 400 years.

Review: Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor
19 Mar 10 |  Entertainment
New Doctor Who series premiered
19 Mar 10 |  Entertainment
Fans to redesign Tardis console
07 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Doctor Who assistant is unveiled
29 May 09 |  Entertainment
New Doctor actor is youngest ever
04 Jan 09 |  Entertainment
Doctor Who finale watched by 10m
02 Jan 10 |  Entertainment
Dr Who 'longest-running sci-fi'
28 Sep 06 |  Entertainment



Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific