Doctor Who Logo 'Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS'
(Story Code 7.10)

by Stephen Tomkinson
The Doctor and Clara

“I just activated the self-destruct system. One hour until the ship blows. Don’t try to leave. The TARDIS is in lockdown. I’ll open those doors when Clara’s by my side.” – The Doctor

Aboard the massive scrap haulage spaceship owned by the van Baalen Brothers, a salvage alert rings out; although the object - a small, rectangular box - registers as having zero salvage value, the captain, Gregor, decides to go after it anyway. Starting up his favourite music, Gregor orders his brother, Bram, and their android Tricky, to get to work… Inside the object in question - the TARDIS - the Doctor is busy trying to convince Clara to get along with his ship; but Clara is having none of it, believing that the TARDIS has been looking at her “funny”. Their conversation is rudely interrupted as the TARDIS lurches violently and the console explodes – the ship has been caught by a magno-grab beam emanating from the van Baalens’ salvage vessel! The Doctor desperately tries to regain control of his ship, but the TARDIS’ systems go haywire, sparking and exploding as the ship is pulled towards the van Baalens’ vessel. Amidst the chaos the Doctor and Clara suddenly hear music, and a small, oval device rolls across the console room floor; Clara picks up the object, but it burns her hand and she drops it. Then a massive explosion rocks the TARDIS console room, knocking the Doctor and Clara unconscious. Outside, giant robotic arms grab hold of the time-space ship and set it down inside the salvage vessel’s cargo hold. Gregor, Bram and Tricky attempt to break inside the ship, but their efforts using a sledge-hammer and a laser-cutter prove utterly ineffective; Gregor is all for giving up, but Tricky’s android senses detect a person lying underneath the battered blue box. As the brothers decide when to do next, the Doctor wakes up; the Time Lords explains that he had turned off his ship’s shield oscillators so that Clara could fly it, a foolhardy decision that allowed the salvagers’ deactivation device to cause his ship to malfunction. With Clara still trapped inside, the Doctor offers Gregor, Bram and Tricky a deal: the salvage of a lifetime in exchange for helping save his companion. Inside the wrecked TARDIS, as the ship’s Cloister Bell rings out a warning, Clara comes to and pulls herself out from under a pile of rubble; noting that her hand hurts, she sees a strange burn mark forming on her palm. Making her way through the debris-strewn corridor, Clara comes to a closed door marked with a red flashing light – and when she decides to open it, she is confronted by a massive fireball! Running for her life, Clara seals herself inside another corridor; but she may not be safe yet, as a huge claw mark runs across one of the walls… Outside, Gregor, Bram and Tricky agree to help the Doctor on his rescue mission. Once he and the brothers have donned respirators to protect themselves from the toxic fumes emanating from leaking fuel, the Doctor unlocks the TARDIS’ doors and leads his guests inside. As Gregor, Bram and Tricky take in the internal dimensions of the ship, the Doctor activates the extractor fans, expelling the deadly fumes; he then turns the tables on the salvagers, activating the TARDIS’ self-destruct systems and setting the ship on lockdown: they have one hour to rescue Clara, or they will all blow up! When the salvagers protest, the Doctor provides them with some motivation by reducing the countdown to thirty minutes; once the brothers have reluctantly agreed to help, the Doctor explains that by “the salvage of a lifetime” he meant Clara… Meanwhile, Clara discovers a storeroom filled with the Doctor’s bric-a-brac; however, before she can explore, she is confronted by the sight of a hideous creature, its body burnt to a crisp, its eyes glowing a terrifying red. Fleeing in terror as the zombie-creature comes after her, Clara runs past the observatory and the swimming pool before finally arriving inside the TARDIS’ massive library... The Doctor, Gregor, Bram and Tricky begin their search of the TARDIS; after they decide to split up to save time, Gregor orders Bram to return to the console room to start breaking up the equipment on offer. Bram manages to remove one of the console’s panels, but stops when he hears voices… Using his salvage tracker, Gregor locates a room filled with a huge, metallic, tree-like structure, with glowing pods at the ends of its branches. As Gregor starts cutting off one of the pods, the Doctor appears and implores him to stop, explaining that the structure is the TARDIS’ architectural reconfiguration system, a machine that can make any machine possible. When Gregor ignores the warning and removes a circuit, the TARDIS is furious, and removes the door; but Gregor just threatens the ship with a bomb, forcing the TARDIS to reinstate the exit. In the library, Clara finds a huge book called ‘The History of the Time War’; looking through its pages, she makes a startling discovery about the Doctor – but before she can find out more, the burnt creature appears in the doorway. The zombie stalks Clara through the shelves of books, but she manages to slip past it and sneak away down another corridor… Elsewhere, the Doctor, Gregor and Tricky are walking in circles, as the angry TARDIS spins a maze around them… Clara finally arrives in the console room, but her joy is short-lived when she discovers that the exterior door has vanished. On a ladder below her, Bram makes his way to a lower deck; but the metal suddenly gets hot, forcing him to let go and fall to the floor below, where he is attacked by another of the scorched zombies. Hearing their brother’s demise over their communicators, Gregor and Tricky bicker over the loss of their sibling versus the value of the salvage on offer. The Doctor interrupts them with the news that his sonic screwdriver is detecting multiple life forms approaching – and at that moment, two burnt monsters melted together appear from the corridor behind them! Trying to find another way out, Clara is exasperated when she keeps returning again and again to the TARDIS console room. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Tricky arrive in the console room too – but the Doctor explains that this isn’t the real console room, merely an echo of it: the TARDIS is trying to protect them. The Doctor and Tricky then hear Clara, but are unable to see her; the same goes for Clara – although both parties can see objects moved by the others. As a zombie arrives in the console room occupied by Clara, the Doctor tries to find a way to save his companion. When Gregor joins Tricky and the Doctor, the Time Lord uses the salvager’s tracker to isolate Clara’s position, and then uses his sonic to pull her into the safety of ‘their’ console room. Now that the Doctor has been reunited with Clara, Gregor insists that the Time Lord cancel the TARDIS’ self-destruct countdown. With a mad grin the Doctor reveals that he tricked the salvagers: there is no self-destruct! However, when the Doctor turns off the fake countdown, he is surprised to see that the ship’s engine really is overloading! Now needing to fix the ship’s engines for real, the Doctor opens an access panel that will lead them to the very heart of the TARDIS; but as he, Clara, Gregor and Tricky make their way through the time-space vessel’s infrastructure, they are stalked by more of the zombies, forcing them to run for their lives. Separated from the Doctor once more, Clara looks at her hand and sees the burn marks of backwards-words forming on her palm; retracing her steps, Clara encounters an echo of herself, and another of the Doctor. Then the real Doctor appears, and explains that there is a rupture in time inside the TARDIS, which is causing the ship to leak the past and the future. Faced by another of the burnt zombies, the Doctor and Clara run further into the ship, where they see more echoes of themselves, before finally arriving at the point underneath the engine room; here the Doctor and Clara come under attack once again, this time from the decaying fuel rods, which crash through the weakened walls of the TARDIS. The two time-travellers manage to escape unscathed, but the android Tricky is not so lucky, as a fuel rod impales his arm, pinning him to the wall. Tricky orders Gregor to free him by cutting off his arm, but Gregor is unable to carry out his plea; at this point the Doctor reveals that Tricky is actually human, only his eyes and voicebox are artificial! Tricky is incredulous, but this quickly turns to anger when Gregor reluctantly admits that he and Bram pretended that he was an android to stop the boredom: Tricky is really their brother, and had been appointed as captain by their late father; but when he lost his eyes, voice and memory in a salvage accident, Gregor saw a way to take the position for himself. Freeing Tricky by cutting through the metal pole, Gregor then helps his angry brother through the ship as the Doctor leads them and Clara to the TARDIS’ power source. Arriving at the Eye of Harmony – an exploding star suspended in a state of decay by Time Lord engineering - the Doctor warns that they cannot survive its deadly energy for long before it burns them to a crisp. However, as the quartet enter the power room and make their way across the bridge above the engines, the exit is blocked by two more creatures, their blistered bodies fused together. Backing away, the Doctor, Clara and the van Baalens find their retreat blocked by another of the zombies, which Gregor’s scanner identifies as Clara! The Doctor realises that their future is leaking through the time fissure – a future in which they are all hideously burnt by the energy from the Eye of Harmony. As the time zombies close in, Tricky steps forward and pushes them off the bridge, where they fall to their death in the engines; in the attempt Tricky falls off too, but he manages to cling onto the edge long enough for Gregor to get to him. However, as the Doctor and Clara race through the exit, the deadly energy has a devastating effect on the van Baalen brothers, scorching their flesh and melting them together; as Tricky and Gregor become time zombies, the Doctor and Clara seal the door to the engine room – and then find themselves standing on the ledge of an impossibly high cliff. With time running out, the Doctor demands that Clara tell him who she is, but his companion has no knowledge of Oswin or of the other Clara. Seeing his friend’s fear of him, the Doctor wins her back with a hug; he then deduces that their surroundings are not real: the TARDIS is trying to scare them off with an illusion. Asking Clara to trust him, the Doctor takes her hand and together they leap into the abyss… and land inside a white void, filled with metal shrapnel suspended in mid-air: they are in the heart of the TARDIS – and its engines have already exploded. The TARDIS is now holding the explosion in check to save the Doctor and Clara, but the reprieve is only temporary. Taking Clara’s hand, the Doctor notices the backwards-words burnt into her palm, and he immediately concocts a plan; using his sonic, he marks the van Baalens’ deactivation device and then reactivates the brothers’ music, using it to locate the real console room, where he quickly finds the brothers’ deactivation device on the floor. Pointing to a glowing time crack in the TARDIS wall, the Doctor tells Clara that he has plans to use the time rift to re-write the day; when Clara replies that she saw the Doctor’s real name in a book, the Doctor informs her that she will forget it once he re-writes her future. The Doctor forces himself into the narrow time fissure, emerging on the other side in the console room, where his younger self and Clara have just been caught in the van Baalens’ force field. Throwing the deactivation device into the room, the older Doctor tells his younger version to use the reprogrammed gadget to restart time, and then dissipates into nothing. Clara picks up the device, but drops it when it burns her hand; then the Doctor picks it up, and after noting the words scratched onto its surface - BIG FRIENDLY BUTTON - he slams his hand down onto it – and the console room fills with a blinding white light… Time resets: aboard the massive scrap haulage spaceship owned by the van Baalen Brothers, a salvage alert rings out – but this time the object disappears as quickly as it appears, and Gregor instructs his brother Bram not to pick on Tricky. Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor and Clara continue their travels in time and space…

Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Ashley Walters (Gregor Van Baalen), Mark Olivier (Bram Van Baalen), Jahvel Hall (Tricky Van Baalen), Sarah Louise Madson (Time Zombie), Ruari Mears (Time Zombie), Paul Kasey (Time Zombie)

Directed by Mat King
Produced by Denise Paul
Series Producer Marcus Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
27th April 2013 @ 6.30 pm

*Featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Clara

*In the title sequence, the TARDIS wobbles to reflect the events of the story

*Music heard in this episode: 'Fine Woman' by the Cult