The Doctor: You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.
Idris: No, but I always took you where you needed to go.

The exchange above, from The Doctor’s Wife, made me re-consider something I used to believe about the Doctor’s ship. When I was kid making my way through the Target novelisations in the long, dark years following Survival I thought that, having been stolen, she was actively taking the Doctor to dangerous places where his life would be in jeopardy. It was always such a powerful, but unfeeling and uncaring presence in each story.

This went on throughout the stewardship of the first two Doctors, when he has no control over where he lands on each journey. The exception being The Edge of Destruction, where she is forced to act for self-preservation.

When the Second Doctor is captured and forcibly regenerated they are both exiled to Earth. Having shared this confinement the TARDIS becomes much better behaved. I speculated that she was no longer resentful, and from the Fourth Doctor onwards the pilot enjoys a hitherto unknown level of accuracy. The only trouble the Fifth Doctor experiences seems to be getting Tegan back to Heathrow; but he could navigate with pinpoint accuracy when the situation called for it (hopping around Cranleigh and tracking down the Terileptils).

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