Dr. Who question: What is a "Police box"?

Just bought the new Arifix kit of Doctor Who and the Tardis. Now, I understand what the Tardis is, so I’m good on that, but what is a police box?

Is it just a place for a policeman to stand out of the weather, like a sentry box, or is it like a phone booth? Are there many of them around?

It was a public call box with a phone that connected directly to the police. As far as I am aware, there are none around these days.

Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_box

Looks like some modern equivalents are around, but none that look like the Tardis.

Edited to add: Actually, on reading that article, it appears that the London call boxes were purely for the use of police officers, not for the public. And yet the TARDIS clearly says “POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX” on it.

One of these?

Before radios were small enough for an officer to carry around without hindrance, it was used to give them a direct phone line to their station to log in.

More from Wikipedia on the TARDIS:

At the time of the series’ debut in 1963, the police box was still a common fixture in British cities. It provided a direct telephone link to the local police station, but contrary to popular conception, the telephone was on the exterior of the box, and the box itself was designed for use as a temporary holding cell.

Mackenzie Trench

By the way, it’s always “Doctor Who” and never “Dr. Who”.

The fact that they were a common sight in the 60’s was significant inasmuch as the Tardis was supposed to adopt the look of it’s surroundings to blend in and become anonymous.
This function broke when it took on the guise of a police box and it became fixed in this appearance.
Yes, I saw it from episode 1.

Most of the ones in the centre of Edinburgh were sold off and have been turned into little coffee kiosks, and the remainder in the suburbs are mainly slowly rotting away…

Except for one about 50 yards from where I work - it’s been standing empty for years, but as part of an area rejuvenation project (and to help bolster the police presence at night when the area’s full of drunks) it’s about to be restored and put back in use as a police box.
Another one on the High Street has touchpad information screens fitted for visiting tourists…

I’ll look out for it when I go to the Festival this August.

The police call box of the USA was much smaller, but it also was a direct line to the local precinct. The doctor would have never gotten out of one in the USA.

I see you are not in The Inner Circle. :wink:
As Tom Baker, the greatest Dr. Who said to me once…

Oh, and a mate of mine says his Dad used to be a policeman decades ago.
The Police Box had a phone on the outside for the public to call the police station, while the inside was for P.C. Plod to take a break.

Except of course in spoken dialogue, where it’s always ‘The Doctor’, never ‘Doctor Who’ (except by ‘accident’ when someone is asking a question, and in the non-canon movie).

Oops. “Doctor” it is.

Great article. So they were little police offices. Fascinating.

Or has it?!

Feel free to drop in to the exhibition in Venue 326 and say hello!

You’re right, it hasn’t.

But I’m not at liberty to say more.

Cool, I may just do that!! :slight_smile:

Vwoorp! Vwoorp!

I’m really in doubt about that last part - is there a more authoritative cite than Wikipedia for the box being designed for holding prisoners in? I remember we had this very discussion on the Dope a few months back. Note that this (pdf) article makes no mention of any such function.

Well, his name is “The Doctor” and the title of the show is “Doctor Who” but the absence of a question mark does confuse some people into thinking that it’s his name.

I certainly remember seeing people being questioned in them (or maybe held before a police van arrived to collect a prisoner) but you wouldn’t lock somebody inside and leave them on their own.

The show itself makes the calim in at least one of the modern episodes, FWIW.