Monday 2 January 2012

12-days – day eight

Day Eight
It’s day EIGHT on the Twelve Regenerations Of Christmas, so I have eight drawings to show you today.

I thought I’d take a look back at the surviving designs for The Doctor’s costumes.
The earliest Doctors were dressed as Edwardian gentlemen, and given the haphazard way parts of the series came together in the 1960s, it is unlikely a formalised drawn design was produced. If they were, they haven’t survived.
Jon Pertwee’s iconic Inverness Cape was allegedly his father’s, so it was Jon himself who provided the look of his Doctor.

Design © James Acheson
The earliest costume design I could track down was by James Acheson.
He had already created some of the most memorable costumes from the Jon Pertwee era, and it fell to him to crete a new look for a new Doctor in 1974.

You can hear his recollections of it on The Mutants DVD.

He explained how the scarf’s length came about by accident and how later designers put Tom in longer coats, so I don’t think this is the original design.

Either way it’s a nice drawing.
Design © June Hudson
With a change of producer (John Nathan-Turner) a notable change of look enveloped the series, and it was down to legendary designer  June Hudson to re-imagine Tom’s costume.

She was inspired by a Russian military greatcoat, long and flowing; added knee-length knickerbockers and a looser feel around the neck with an open top shirt.
And all in a co-ordinated plum colour.

June’s designs are always a joy to look at, and this is no exception.

Design © Colin Lavers
In 1980 it fell to designer Colin Lavers to create a look for the incoming Doctor played by Peter Davison.

I am not sure it was an intended coincidence that the design was beige, so quite bland in colour, but his Doctor was often accused of being the same.

Of note is the knitted waistcoat, later changed to a cricketing jumper at the request of producer John Nathan-Turner.

Design © Pat Godfrey
The design for the next Doctor was probably the most contentious and controversial ever done.

Pat Godfrey’s brief from John Nathan-Turner for a tasteless explosion of colour was faithfully interpreted by this design, which looks amazing true to the finished result.

Of note are a couple of alternative sketches at the side, and a bundle of fabric swatches in the corner.
Design © Ken Trew
Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor was dressed by Ken Trew, who created a look that reflected part of Sylvester’s personality (the panama hat); which clashed with John Nathan-Turner’s less subtle ideas (the question-mark pullover and umbrella).

For the final season the jacket was toned down to a dark brown at Sylvester’s request. The further addition of a donkey jacket for one story happened by chance, as it was McCoy’s way of keeping warm between takes on a cold shoot. he just kept it on during filming!

Design © Lucinda Wright
I couldn’t find the design for Paul McGann, so next up is for the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston.

The feel of the new Doctor was raw and angular, so to reflect this costume designer Lucinda Wright put him in a rough vintage leather jacket, black jeans and hard boots. the only concession to colour was some variation of the jumper worn under the jacket.

Design © Louise Page
Next up was David Tennant, for whom designer Louise Page created an iconic look.

His chic-geek look was arrived at with David’s input, who suggested the trainers and suit combination.

Louise’s original ideas for the coat, was to have large cuffs and lapels with a flared hem, almost giving it a highwayman look. This was progressively paired down as she became concerned he’d look like a pencil, but Russell T Davies thought that was perfect and the rest, as they say, is history.
Design © Ray Holman
Finally we come to Matt Smith.

From what I have heard Ray Holman’s original design was considerably different to the Doctor’s ultimate look, as it was Matt himself who suggested much of what he actually wore.

The design shown here has swatches of the Donegal tweed; Paul Smith shirting; and Topman jeans.

The costume was given an complete overhaul when veteran designer Barbara Kidd joined for the 2010 Christmas Special.


  1. "Pat Godfrey’s brief from John Nathan-Turner for a tasteless explosion of colour" surely it would have been easier if they had just used one of JNTs hawaiian shirts

  2. Allegedly the waistcoat worn in The Two Doctors was made from JNT shirts - so you may not be far off the truth!!!

    Difficult to prove without photographic evidence though.

  3. ouch, my eyes!

  4. What tie is Tennant wearing in Louise Page's costume sketch?


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