Since the time I posted my original 50th Anniversary piece there have been a few more TARDIS keys used in the New Series as well as more discoveries from the Classic Series and naturally I’ve added those keys into my collection. Because of this, naturally I felt it was time to update the collection picture, only this time I decided to split the collection into two pictures; one for “The Doctor” and another for “Companions & Friends”.
I did this for two main reasons: The first is because for the original piece I tried to keep it simple in the way I showed the characters that had used multiple TARDIS keys, however with the new layout, this proved more difficult as well as seeming a little less noticeable. The second was more of a real-estate issue; with that many keys added into the mix the collection looked much cleaner divided in two.
The research on the TARDIS keys has been a collaborative effort with many of us on theRPF and other various Doctor Who communities.
Although some of the character’s keys have been seen in multiple stories I’m only going to list either the first story each character’s key(s) was seen in or whichever story (or place) my photo reference came from. If you’d like more information on anything, please feel free to ask. I’m always happy to share what I know.
And now, to the keys:
“The Dalek Invasion of Earth”
We first get a quick look at the keychain/necklace that Susan has in “The Sensorites” but it isn’t until “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” that we get a full frame shot of her key and chain. This shot gives us the basic body shame and type of chain used, what is known as a snake chain. I used that picture and an telesnap from “Marco Polo” showing the finer details of the top of the key near the key ring hole to finalize my replica. The key itself is a Yale key, which we believe all the classic keys were based on their use of Yale locks.
(1) “Aliens of London”
(2) “The Long Game”
Rose Tyler’s key went through a change in Series 1 which was down to the fact that the BBC doesn’t advertise products in its shows. In “Aliens of London” she was given an ERA key – same as the Ninth Doctor – which can clearly be seen in her hand as it begins to glow and it had its own special keychain which matched the nautical theme of the Ninth Doctor and his console room. The chain was a wallet chain with a key ring on one end and a sailing d-shackle on the other. I found a promo shot of Rose holding her key by the d-shackle and counted all the links to make sure my chain was the same exact length. Her second key was seen in “The Long Game” when the script called for more screen time than usual so they didn’t want the key’s logo to be seen and we’re told they switched to a Silca brand key that they had sanded off all the head details and rhodium plated the key back to silver. The keychain remained the same. Either key is of course accurate but I prefer the ERA key as I like the body details and it’s how it was first given to Rose. The Silca keys in my collection are actually a close match by JMA as we haven’t yet found the actual Silca key used. They are so close I haven’t set the search as a priority.
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS:
(1 & 2) “The Sound of Drums”
The first time we see Jack us his own TARDIS key was actually in “Bad Wolf” in Series 1 but we don’t get a close up shot to see what it actually looked like. It isn’t until “The Sound of Drums” in Series 3 that we finally get a look at his key and at that time they used the sanded Silca key. By this point Jack kept his TARDIS key on a rather full key ring with his other Torchwood hub related keys (presumably). Much like Rose above and any Silca keys below, all of mine are JMA. Of course he also had the modified Silca TARDIS key that was turned into a Perception filter in “The Sound of Drums” which was worn on a long piece of twine with some electronic components added.
(2) “The Sound of Drums”
When we first see Martha given a TARDIS key in “42” it is a sanded Silca key on a long ball chain. The next time we see her key in “The Sound of Drums” it seems Martha ditched the ball chain and kept her key without a keychain as the Doctor carries his. Martha also had one of the three Silca Perception Filter keys same as Jack and the Doctor, although at least one of them had a different color resistor.
Believe it or not Sally actually had three different keys in this one story alone; An ERA (1) and a Silca blanked of details (2) - shown of course with our alt brand JMA - and an unaltered Silca seen in one particular shot (not pictured as I don’t have one in the collection yet. Although it’s the only key I’m too concerned with not having in the collection.)
“The Sontaran Stratagem”
By the time the Doctor gave Donna a TARDIS key he seemed to have given up on any sort of decorative keychain – possibly spurned by Martha ditching the ball chain - and the key he gave Donna was just the plain Silca key that had been sanded of detials and rhodium plated.
(1) “The Snowmen”
(2) “The Time of the Doctor”
(3) “Dark Water”
The first time Clara was given a key it was actually give to one of her splintered selves – 19th Century Clara - in “The Snowmen”. The production team went back to a Yale type key with two shoulders and while we are uncertain of the brand for this key, as the face was once again sanded off and presumably rhodium plated, the key is shown in enough detail that we were able to get a good body match with an actual Yale key. Once sanded of logo and details it’s a great match for the Snowmen key. Clara was seen with another key in the Eleventh Doctor’s final story “The Time of the Doctor”. It still had the two shoulders but this time they hadn’t sanded the details off. Due to the short screen time it had we were unable to find out the exact brand but an eBay search dug up a perfect match which is identical on both sides of the key – aside from a very small Y1 marking on one side – which made it an ideal match to the TotD key. Series 8 showed us another new TARDIS key for the story “Dark Water” and were even shown both sides of the key on screen which revealed that the head details were identical on both sides. This new key shared the same body shape with the ERA key from Series 1 – returning to the one shoulder - and even shared similar head marking aside from the lack of a raised circle around the keyhole loop. Naturally my fellow collectors and I started a search and while it took a little time, I finally found an ebay auction that had horribly burry pics and decided to take the chance. When the keys arrived I could finally make out the company name as Hiatt Hardware and see that the keys were an identical match to the Capaldi TARDIS key on both sides! Identical body details with no words, letters or numbers at all, exactly as we had seen on screen.
And there you have it. What we know of the Companions and Friends TARDIS keys so far. The Classic era always has potential to surprise us with new details as more behind the scenes pictures surface but the New Series has given us enough visual reference to match each key if not to a brand at least to exacting details.
***The Doctor's key are coming soon. Some new information has been found on one of them and I am updating the pic.
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Independent Film Maker, Artist, Actor and Musician. And a huge Doctor Who fan, among man other similar interests.