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The TARDIS[nb 1][1] /ˈtɑrdɪs/  ( listen) (Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space)[nb 2] is a fictional time machine and spacecraft in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who.

A TARDIS is a product of the advanced technology of the Time Lords, an extraterrestrial civilization to which the programme's central character, the Doctor, belongs. A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and space. The interior of a TARDIS is much larger than its exterior, which can blend in with its surroundings through the ship's "chameleon circuit". In the series, the Doctor pilots an unreliable, obsolete Type 40 TARDIS, whose chameleon circuit is faulty, leaving it locked in the shape of a 1950s-style London police box after a visit to London in 1963.[2] The Doctor's TARDIS was stolen from the Time Lords' home planet, Gallifrey, where it was old, decommissioned and derelict.[3] The unpredictability of the TARDIS's short-range guidance (short relative to the size of the Universe) has often been a plot point in the Doctor's travels. Although "TARDIS" is a type of craft, rather than a specific one, the Doctor's TARDIS is usually referred to as "the" TARDIS or, in some of the earlier serials, just as "the ship", "the blue box", "the capsule" or even "the police box".[nb 3]

Doctor Who has become so much a part of British popular culture that not only has the shape of the police box become more immediately associated with the TARDIS than with its real-world inspiration, the word "TARDIS" has been used to describe anything that seems to be bigger on the inside than on the outside.[4] The name TARDIS is a registered trademark of the British Broadcasting Corporation.[5]


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