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February 22nd, 2011 14 comments

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Doctor Who Experience – Restoration of a Tardis

The Restoration of a Tardis

Anyone visiting The Doctor Who Experience will see the 4th Doctors Tardis in all its glory – but it didn’t always look like that. In the words and pictures of the restorer Mark Barton Hill (free lance prop artist and FAN) here’s how it was done.

“The story is like this, My good Friend Andrew Beech asked me to carry out the work as he was impressed with a replacement lamp and door sign I made for the Tardis he owns, so I spent 3 months collecting and playing with suitable blue paints, researching, watching DVD’s and developing techniques of distressing and weathering.

I then collected the prop from The Doctor Who studios in Wales, brought it to Olympia and started to work on it there in situ every day for two weeks in January. It was in a dreadful state of disrepair, covered in a thick layer of dust, no base plinth, wrong signage, no door pull sign, broken windows and no Lamp!”

Below: The Tardis being wheeled in Olympia and the start of the restoration work…

4th Doctors TARDIS restoration for the doctor who experience in London

“I washed it, sanded it, and then painstakingly re-built the base plinth and started painted it layer by layer, staring with quite a light shade of blue and
gradually getting darker with a wipe on, wipe off technique using about 5 different blues and finished with a black wash – just to get that season 18 feel.”

On its Way: The various stages of restoration…

doctor who experience in London - 4th Doctors TARDIS being restored

“I replaced some of the windows with replicas I made myself and made a new lamp and signage, which are all hand painted. I used stories such as ‘The Leisure Hive’ and Warrior’s Gate’ as colour pallet reference.”

The Tardis Restored: The Tardis as seen in the exhibition and Mark with his finished work (image courtesy of Rii Schroer)…

The 4th Doctors TARDIS fully restored for the experience

Mark also assembled the console room wall panels, made ALL the 40 roundels and painted it and lit it. he was also responsible for the sound effects too!

In progress: The walls of the fifth Doctors Tardis…

The making of the 5th Doctors console room

The finished product: Mark steps inside the fifth Doctor Tardis with the finished walls in the background (image courtesy of Rii Schroer)…

Mark Barton Hill and the 5th Doctors TARDIS

The Doctor Who Experience: Tickets for the show in London are on sale now via You can also keep up to date via the Doctor Who Experience Twitter page.

And finally: many of you will have already the Video of Peter Davison’s spectacular arrival at Gallifrey 22 but if you haven’t then towards the end it features both the props shown above!

Other places of interest…

Longleat Exhibition – fascinating site on the history and exhibits of Longleat.

Police Boxes – A history of the police box and Tardis.

The Tardis – our own comprehensive section on the Doctors Type 40.



  • rob flowers

    June 1st, 2013 - 11:29pm

    Well Done Mark!!!! It’s great to see you bring your passion and dreams to life! I’m sure your work will make many people smile.

  • booboo

    March 15th, 2011 - 9:34pm

    There were only huge black T-shirts with a crack in time on.

    Yes some missed opportunities here, where are the mugs, t shirts, pens and souvenir’s with Doctor Who experience themes and logo’s on them ? Lots of people would be buying them

  • Mr. Dalek

    March 15th, 2011 - 8:37pm

    I went to the Doctor Who Experience. In amazing condition, I couldn’t believe I was right next to the 4th Doctor’s real Tardis!
    I also saw the exclusive merchandise…pfft.
    There were only huge black T-shirts with a crack in time on.

  • Bill “the Doctor”

    February 26th, 2011 - 8:55am

    Great to see the old girl brought back to her former glory. The TARDIS Builders are happy to have helped with the research.

  • crazy guy

    February 25th, 2011 - 6:06pm

    cool the experiance will be great

  • booboo

    February 25th, 2011 - 6:06pm

    i was there today a spoke to him

    yes he told us he was working there, shop better stocked? any sign of the exclusive merchandise

  • doctor 24/7

    February 25th, 2011 - 6:04pm

    i was there today a spoke to him

  • Ray

    February 23rd, 2011 - 7:59pm

    Great work, cant wait to get there in April and see it all

  • Hector Sadler

    February 23rd, 2011 - 7:34am

    That is interesting. I got 2 3 TARDIS. 1 moneybox & other 2 the shakey toy. 🙂 😉

  • Bob

    February 22nd, 2011 - 10:40pm

    Really interesting. I saw it there and thought it looked great with Melkur next to it, the whole exhibition was fantastic

  • Paul Ashe

    February 22nd, 2011 - 2:17pm

    Wow amazing. absolutly amazing atotal work of love. Those fusion Tardis roundals are a work of art.

  • Mark Grimshaw

    February 22nd, 2011 - 1:06pm

    Glad you like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • David

    February 22nd, 2011 - 11:12am

    Fantastic job there, I’m going in March so will see it then

  • Mr Pond

    February 22nd, 2011 - 10:56am

    Really shows the level of work that went into restoring these props, great images.

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