Putting Doctor Who on the map

Peter Capaldi will be back for his final series as the twelfth Doctor this Easter and media speculation (and betting) on the new Doctor Who reminded us of our OS OpenSpace Tardis map*. We decided to add a new dimension for 2017, marking the location of the birthplaces** of the 12 actors to play the Doctor so far, as well as the 73 Tardis dotted around Britain. Would it reveal a Doctor hotspot and help identify the thirteenth Doctor?


We found that 25% of Doctors hail from Scotland with the remaining 75% being born in England – so is it time for a Welsh Doctor to hit our screens? Or will Scotland continue to attract Doctors due to the huge number of Tardis in the country?

With 5 of the 12 Doctors being London-born, we could also ask whether the Doctor mantle will return to the capital city. As another 3 Doctors hail from the North-West of England, there are plenty of British locations currently unrepresented by a Doctor. In fact, Scotland, the North West and London account for 11 of the 12 Doctors, with only Matt Smith (born in Northampton) bucking the trend.

Mapping the Tardis

If you’re wondering why we mapped the Tardis originally, they do form a part of the 450 million features in our database. As you may know, the real-life function of those boxes that the Tardis adopted for styling, was as a telephone call box connecting you to your local police station.

Hundreds of police call boxes (PCBs) existed around the country, and while public call boxes, then home phones and then mobiles phones took over, many PCBs still exist – and for those in their original locations, they are still on our mapping data. Some 203 PCBs are marked on our maps, although only a fraction of those are recognisable as the Tardis that we know and love today. 

doctorwho3Back in 2012 we plotted the locations of the 73 boxes that were still in place, in their original police call box locations, and similar in style to the Tardis, using our OS OpenSpace mapping application. You can zoom in to see the exact locations – and we’re pleased to see England, Scotland and Wales represented. You’ll soon spot, as you zoom in on Scotland, that Glasgow and Edinburgh are home to the vast majority of boxes though.

Some of them have ingenious uses, we’ve discovered one has become a coffee stall and another is marked as a public art gallery! Not only that, while the majority of PCBs on our map are painted blue, there are also red, green, grey and white versions out there.

There are more ‘real-life’ Tardis dotted around the country that aren’t shown on our map. That’s because they’ve been moved to museums, or have been built purely as a Tardis and were not functioning in that location as PCBs for us to capture in our mapping data – such as those at Earl’s Court, the BBC and so on. Very recently, new Tardis have been installed in a couple of locations as drop-in spots for the public to see local police officers.

Have a look at our OS OpenSpace map and see if there’s one near you – or maybe set yourself a challenge to visit them all and let us know how you get on!

*Tardis locations were checked when the map was originally compiled in 2012

**Birthplaces sourced from Wikipedia

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1 Response

  1. Mark Senior

    Gemma, You missed one at the West Yorkshire Police training school at Carr AGte, Wakefield.
    52D42’46.15″N 1D32’09.90″

    It’s not open to the public, but arrangements for visits can be made.

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