Inside the Display
- Full-scale TARDIS – the ONLY one available for public viewing!
- One of only three screen-used TARDIS filming props known in the United States.
- Used onscreen by four Doctors in two different episodes (2017 Christmas Special “Twice Upon a Time” and the 2020 Series 12 Episode 5 “Fugitive of the Judoon”).
- This TARDIS is based off the 1st Doctor’s 1966 TARDIS.
- Items from the largest private collection of sonic screwdriver material IN THE WORLD!
- You hardly see the Doctor without his/her trusty sonic, which has come in handy during many adventures.
- Authentic screen-used sonics and archival replicas
- Used by Doctors of the Who reboot (post-2005), like David Tennant’s 10th Doctor and Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, will be on display. Plus, the oldest Doctor’s sonic to still exist!
- Hand drawn concept art, sketches, and schematics
- Produced by the artists and prop makers of the sonics, this artwork will offer an inside look into the creation of this all important prop.
- The oldest sonic known to still exist and more!
The Third Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver
After “The War Games”, the sonic screwdriver wouldn’t reappear until the Season 8 story, “Colony In Space”. However this story would see the first appearance of the prop that would become the most iconic of the classic era sonic screwdriver designs. The new design was kit-bashed together from reused Gerry Anderson props after his studios had a clear out. The main body was a futuristic screwdriver which features a black spiral and was used by Alan Tracy in the 1966 film, “Thunderbirds Are Go” and the emitter section was a microphone from “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” used by the character Captain Blue. However, before the prop appeared as the familiar sonic screwdriver in Part 5 of the Doctor Who serial “Colony In Space”, it appeared in the same story in Part 3 as a handcuff key used by the IMC mining engineer Caldwell. This handcuff key was simply just both of the Anderson props fitted together with an added clip. The prop was then redressed with colored electrical tape, aluminum tape and paint to distinguish it from its original form and the clip was removed. After this the physical prop would go through multiple changes, including the emitter section being modified and the end cap having a milled angled flat added.
The Fourth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver
Possibly the most iconic of all the classic era Doctor Who sonic screwdriver designs. This prop was used primarily by Tom Baker, however the design actually started out with Jon Pertwee when it was revamped for the filming of the Season 10 story, “Frontier in Space” in 1974. The tape and spiral were removed and a black magnet was added to the back of the emitter bullet. Later on the lower emitter section was seated higher up rather than being hidden by the top of the tapered section on the slider. The aluminium tape on the thumb grip wore down leaving a weathered white surface on the thumb grip which continued to chip away until there was barely any silver left. This style would become synonymous with Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor after being used by him for nearly his entire 7 year run as the Time Lord. Over those 7 years the prop became even more worn down, with the paint coming off completely on the emitter, revealing the brass halo ring beneath. The rod that held the emitter also began to bend as well.
The Seventh Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver
The Seventh Doctor never had a sonic screwdriver of their own before the classic run of Doctor Who was put on indefinite hiatus in 1989, but Sylvester McCoy’s involvement with the production of Doctor Who: The Movie allowed for an opportunity to correct that. Released in 1996, Doctor Who: The Movie was intended as a relaunch and continuation of the show and while poor ratings didn’t warrant an ongoing series renewal of Doctor Who at the time, the film is notable for returning the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver on screen for the first time in fourteen years and for featuring the Seventh Doctor regeneration into Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor. This functional hero prop sonic screwdriver was custom made for the production and was based on measurements from a pre-existing 800-Trekker replica. However, it does differ from the 800-Trekker as it features a spring-loaded, push-button activation allowing it to extend, a feature not seen on other classic era sonic screwdrivers.
The Eighth Doctor’s "Dark Eyes" Sonic Screwdriver
Originally designed and built by David Tremont of Weta Workshop bespoke for Eighth Doctor Paul McGann for use in promotional photography for the Big Finish audio serial, “Dark Eyes” as well as for personal appearances at conventions. This is one of only five “Dark Eyes” Eighth Doctor sonic screwdriver props ever built by Tremont, each of which includes working lights and sounds harvested from Character Options replica toys.
The War Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver
In 2013 for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who legendary actor Sir John Hurt was introduced as a mysterious new incarnation of the Doctor. This Doctor was a secret incarnation that came between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors. They fought during the Last Great Time War, hence his title being The War Doctor. Their sonic screwdriver was a new design that acted as a stylistic bridge between the Classic and Modern era sonic screwdriver props. The original War Doctor sonic screwdriver prop was made from a Character Options “Fourth Doctor” toy with modifications from the BBC props department.
It is currently unclear if more than one War Doctor prop sonic screwdriver was originally created for production, but at least one example is accounted for as part of the BBC Archive and is currently on display in Scotland as part of the traveling Doctor Who exhibit, “Worlds Of Wonder”.
The Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver
The Tenth Doctor continued to use the same sonic screwdriver device as his predecessor throughout his tenure. Behind the scenes, David Tennant utilized a variety of props to represent his Doctor’s sonic and the two main hero props featured from 2005 to 2010 would see multiple physical refreshes.
- Ten – Sonic Screwdriver Stunt Prop
- Ten – “50th Anniversary” Sonic Screwdriver Prop
The Master's "Series 10" Laser Screwdriver
The Master’s laser screwdriver was intended to be larger and more intimidating than the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. This, as well as its lethal and dangerous settings, fit in line with the Master’s portrayal as an antithesis of the Doctor.
After Missy stabbed him in the back and left him to regenerate in the elevator, the Master (refusing to allow his future self to help the Doctor) blasted her in the back with his laser screwdriver. The Master told Missy that she could not regenerate as he gave her the full strike on maximum power, leaving her to die as he departed.
One of only two hero prop laser sonic screwdrivers ever created for filming on Doctor Who. Designed by Peter McKinstry and built by Nick Robatto – the first hero prop was built for the laser’s first appearance in series 3, Ep.12, “The Sound Of Drums” alongside an additional full set of parts that were assembled later to create an additional hero prop hired out for filming on the Series 10, Episode 12, “The Doctor Falls”.
The TARDIS stands for ‘Time and Relative Dimension in Space’.
A staple from the very beginning of the show’s history is the design of the Doctor’s fantastical Time Capsule, The TARDIS. A vehicle that’s bigger on the inside and capable of traveling through all of time, space and beyond! This marvelous machine over the years has displayed many ingenious science fiction concepts.
However one of the very first ideas that the production came up with for this was the Chameleon Circuit. This Circuit allowed the TARDIS to blend into whatever environment it had landed in. But whilst the concept of the Chameleon Circuit was a brilliant one, It was also an expensive one.
And so it was decided that in the first story the TARDIS would assume the form of a standard everyday object, but then upon landing in their next destination The Doctor would realize that the Circuit had gotten stuck in the form of what it had last changed into. Which of course was a 1960’s British Police Telephone Box. It was also pitched not only to save the budget, but for the visual appeal of seeing something from day to day life on the surface of an Alien world.
- Screen-used prop from the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special, “Twice Upon A Time” and series 12, episode 5, “Fugitive Of The Judoon”.
Join us for First Friday: Doctor Who
December 1, 2023 (5:00 – 9:00 PM)
Come celebrate the upcoming 60th anniversary of this epic fantasy/sci-fi television series with us during our First Friday: Doctor Who this December! Join us for the return of Doctor Who First Friday featuring guest speakers, trivia, costume contest, Doctor Who episodes and more. More details and information to come.
First Friday activities such as presentations, pop culture trivia, and the film are primarily designed for visitors 16 years and older.
The images below are from past First Friday: Doctor Who events at the Science Center.
The Doctor Who display is located in the tunnel connecting the Science Center’s Oakland Building with the McDonnell Planetarium and is presented for visitors to view for free.
Membership does more.
As a nonprofit, the Saint Louis Science Center relies on memberships, donations and ticket sales to support free exhibits like Doctor Who, our education programs, community outreach and daily operation.
If you’d like to support the Science Center’s mission, learn more about membership, make a one-time gift in support of the Science Center, or get tickets to see a show.
The Doctor Who display is accessible to visitors with disabilities, as well as visitors with strollers, scooters, and walkers. Elevators and ramps serve all public areas.