7.11. Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS

Series 7 - 2012/2013

Writer: Steve Thompson
Produced by: Marcus Wilson
Director: Mat King
Music: Murray Gold


On a salvage vessel the crew are alerted to some potential salvage. It doesn't look like much, but Gregor Van Baalen has a feeling that it will be worth it and activates the magno-grab.

In the TARDIS the Doctor is trying to get Clara and the TARDIS better acquainted, and starts to teach Clara to fly the TARDIS. He shuts the TARDIS down to basic mode, which deactivates the shield, just as the magno-grab is activated. The lights dim and red lights start to flash, and the Doctor struggles to raise the shields. Clara asks the Doctor to tell her there is a button he can press to fix things, and he says that there isn't a 'big friendly button' he can press. As fires and explosions break out in the console room Clara spots what looks like a grenade on the floor. She picks it up and it burns her hand.

Inside the salvage vessel the crew find the TARDIS. Thinking it is an escape pod Bram Van Baalen uses a hammer to try to crack it open. When this doesn't work he tries a laser cutter. Gregor hands him a thermo charge, but Tricky, an android, stops him, saying he can feel the TARDIS is alive, and in pain. Gregor is ready to throw the salvage back into space, and no-one notices the figure lying underneath it until the Doctor says 'Hi'.

Realising Clara is still inside the TARDIS the Doctor tries to go back inside, but Tricky stops him, saying the TARDIS is leaking fuel. The Doctor notices some respirators, and asks the crew to help him rescue Clara. In return they can have whatever they can have the TARDIS as salvage - and the Doctor guarantees it would be the salvage of a lifetime.

Inside the TARDIS the cloister bell is ringing. Clara wakes in a corridor to find herself under bits of TARDIS. Her hand still hurts where the grenade burnt her. The corridor is lit by a red light, and she finds a door with a flashing red light over it. Curious she opens the door, and instantly regrets as she is met by fire. She runs into another corridor where the wall has large scratches that could have been made by a human hand.

As the salvage crew prepare to enter the TARDIS the Doctor finds it odd that an android would need a suit and a respirator. Bram tells him that the it because Tricky is flesh coated, but the Doctor is not convinced. Inside the crew are amazed that is is bigger on the inside, and that it is upright whereas outside the TARDIS is lying on her side. The Doctor turns on fans and the smoke clears, showing the crew the full extent of the console room, and allowing them to breathe without respirators.

The Doctor tells them the ship is infinite in size, which could make finding Clara difficult. When Gregor complains the Doctor says he has activated the self-destruct to give them all one hour to find Clara. When they still don't help the Doctor turns the the timer down to thirty minutes to a little gentle persuasion. The Doctor tells them that when he said 'salvage of a lifetime' he was referring to Clara.

Running through the TARDIS Clara is discovering new rooms, including an old stone walled room containing old documents and a hand-made TARDIS model. She can also hear something else in the room, and quickly leaves as the humanoid figure start to pursue her. Her hand is still hurting, and something is appearing in her palm.

As the Doctor and the crew are searching through the TARDIS Gregor is scanning to see what is available. Finding out he suggests that they should split up, as this would offer the best chance of finding Clara. The Doctor reluctantly agrees. Gregor tells Bram to got back to the console and strip it apart. As Bram starts to break apart the console he can hear echoey speech from past conversations that have taken place inside the TARDIS.

Gregor is still scanning the TARDIS, and his scanner finds a door behind which is 'everything you could possibly want'. He opens the door and finds a room with lights and living metal tendrils. The scanner says the system can build any machine you could ever want. He is about to use a laser cutter to cut through one of the tendrils when the Doctor stops him, saying the TARDIS will not let him continue to damage the architectural configuration system. Gregor steals one of the lights, and the door to the room disappears. Gregor threatens to torch the room, and the TARDIS creates a new door and allows them to leave. Gregor thinks he has won, but the Doctor is unsure.

In the console room Bram finds a hatch under the console and a ladder leading down. As he gets down the ladder it heats up, and he has to let go and falls to the floor. Another humanoid figure is there and he is attacked by it. Tricky was communicating with Bram when he was attacked. The Doctor warns Bram and Gregor that there is something down there. Using the sonic screwdriver he detects multiple life-forms inside the TARDIS coming towards them. Two humanoid figures, joined together, appear. The Doctor, Tricky run one way and Gregor another.

Inside the TARDIS library Clara is looking around and finds 'The History of the Time War'. She reads a bit before being interrupted by a sound and hides behind some shelves as the figure enters the room, growling. Running from the figure Clara finds herself in the console room. She makes her way to the exit but the door has gone. She leaves by the door she came in through and, after a short distance, finds herself in the control room again.

The Doctor and Tricky find themselves in the console room as well, but Clara is not there. The Doctor tells Tricky it is only an echo of the console room. As the Doctor knocks bits off the console they disappear, and reappear in the Clara's console room. As she moves around the shadows appear in the Doctor's console room. The Doctor can also hear Clara as she screams after opening a door and letting one of the figures in. Gregor arrives in the Doctor's console room, and using his scanner and the sonic screwdriver the Doctor is able to locate Clara and drag her from her echo console room into his.

Now that the Doctor has Clara Gregor tells him to cancel the self destruct. The Doctor says that it was a Tricky, and there isn't a self destruct. He says he only made it look like the engines were overloading, but when he cancels the countdown he sees that the engines really are overloading. The Doctor opens a hatch in the console room that is a short cut to the centre of the TARDIS. Even down there they are being followed by the strange figures. They start running and Clara is separated. Looking at her hand letters are appearing, in reverse, and she can see herself walking past the end of the corridor. She also sees the Doctor standing in the corridor. A second Doctor comes up behind her and tells her not touch the other Doctor. The engine damage is causing small leaks from the past.

One of the figures appears and they run from her. Clara notices that the Doctor called it a 'she', but the Doctor doesn't want to explain further as they keep running. Underneath the fuel cells the Doctor and Clara can hear the creaking of metal. The fuel has escaped, meaning the fuel rods are cooling down, and beginning to break apart. A shaft of metal suddenly pierces a wall in front of them., and they run as more metal spikes appear. Ahead they can hear screaming and find Tricky impaled against a wall, with Gregor trying to free him. Tricky tells him the simplest way is to cut his arm off, but Gregor refuses to do this. The Doctor tells Gregor to explain. Tricky has two bionic eyes and a synthetic voice box, but apart from that is human. On a previous expedition Tricky had been injured, losing his eyes and voice box. They were replaced and, as a practical joke, Gregor said he was an android, and Tricky has continued to believe this. Tricky is actually one of the Van Baalen brothers, and their dad originally wanted Tricky to be captain, but Gregor assumed the role instead.

Eventually the Doctor, Clara, Gregor and Tricky, having been freed by Gregor, find their way to the TARDIS power source. The Doctor says that they would only be able to survive for a couple of minutes inside before being liquefied. He goes inside and tells Clara to make sure the door stays shut. After a few minutes he returns to lead the rest past the Eye of Harmony on the way to the engine room.

The Doctor opens the door at the end of the room containing the Eye of Harmony and is confronted by one of the figures. At the other end Gregor opens the door and finds the other figure. Gregor scans the figure, and the scanner returns information, stating the figure is 'Lancashire. Sass.' It also identifies the figure as Clara. The figure is a badly burned human. The Doctor tells her that it is not just the past that has been leaking, but also the future. Clara doesn't understand when the Doctor says he has tried to keep her safe, but she still dies... again.

Seeing Gregor and Tricky together, near the joined together figure, and suggests the future can be changed. Gregor and Tricky must not touch, and therefore they cannot create the figure that they become. The figure breaks through the door, and Tricky fights it off, but slips from the gantry. Despite the Doctor's warning Gregor goes to help him, and together they burn in the energy, becoming the figure that was just destroyed.

The Doctor and Clara get past and find their way to the engine room, which appears to be a rocky cliff face. The Doctor realises that the room they are isn't real - it's an illusion. He likens it to an animal snarling to make them back away. Instead he suggests they jump...

... and they land it a completely white room. The heart of the TARDIS. Inside are bits of the engine, floating. It has already exploded. The TARDIS is containing the blast, but eventually it will erupt. The Doctor is upset at the thought of not knowing what to do with the TARDIS about to explode. Clara holds his hand to comfort him, and he notices her hand, and the words on her palm - 'big friendly button'.

The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to detect the music that was playing when the salvage ship first hit the TARDIS. There is a rift opening up, and the Doctor says last time the grenade wasn't enough by itself - he has to go back with it to rewrite the day.

The Doctor ends up back in the TARDIS at the moment the magno-grab hits the TARDIS. He throws the grenade, and Clara picks it up. She drops it when it burns her hand, but the original Doctor catches it, and activates the grenade, allowing him to go back to before the magno-grab struck and dematerialise first.

Regular Cast

  • Clara Oswald: Jenna-Louise Coleman

Guest Cast

  • Gregor Van Baalen: Ashley Walters
  • Bram Van Baalen: Mark Oliver
  • Tricky: Jahvel Hall
  • Time Zombies: Sarah Louise Madison, Ruari Mears, Paul Kasey
  • Electronic Voice: Emma Feeney
  • van Baalen Snr (photo): Dennis Perry
  • Stunt Double for Bram van Baalen: André Layne
  • Double for the Doctor: Ian William George, Matt Humphreys
  • Double for Clara: Charlotte Parsonsson, Jenny Phillips
  • Stunt Double for Tricky: Lewis Young

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 11. Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS Saturday, April 27, 2013 6:30 PM - 7:15 PM 6.5M 85

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 1
  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 2
  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 3
  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 4

Outside Locations

  • Argoed Isha Quarry, nr Llansannor, Rhonnda Cynon Taff
  • Rear Warehouse, CUB Site, Celtic Way, Newport