Doctor Who Magazine: Costume Design: Dressing the Doctor from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker

Who’s your favorite Doctor? What do your remember best about him? I’m betting his costume is high on that list. And you can extend that to the entire series, as just about everything there from the cybermen to, oh, pick your your favorite monster, is in the end a matter of costuming, makeup and prosthetics. And in the early days of Doctor Who when budgets were very tight, and prosthetics largely didn’t exist, if a great costume and the makeup couldn’t create an Ice Warrior from Mars, one didn’t exist. And forget modern CGI — nothing like it would exist for decades.

Doctor Who Magazine: Costume Design: Dressing the Doctor from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker is an amazing undertaking as it covers pretty much the entire history of the series from its inception some fifty years ago during the black and white era, when CGI didn’t exist, so costuming was how everything was created, to the modern era when a lot of what was costuming is now rendered as CGI.

Now this being Doctor Who, much of this is focused on the various Doctors and the process by which their appearance came to be. You will discover that some collaborated on their unique look, some got it thrust upon them. (Go ahead Whovians, guess which. I bet you can tell.)  And keep in mind that the show is very much a reflection of its time, which is how you get the ornate costuming of the Third Doctor versus the austere look of the Tenth Doctor sometime later. )Though there’s no accounting for the Seventh Doctor.)

The Companions get their due as well, though not quite in such detail. Romana, Time Lady companion to the Fourth Doctor, I think gets the most exhaustive write-up, though others, particularly in the middle years, are also covered in detail as well. I note there’s not much on Susan, the very first companion and not much on the companion of the current Doctor.

The more interesting humanoid villains are somewhat covered here, just not in detail. Oh. and there are a number of special features, such as The Sisters of Plenitude, an order of Catkind nuns, devoted to helping the sick. They showed up in the “Gridlocked” episode during the time of Tenth Doctor.

All in all, it’s an impressive affair. I recommend to anyone interested in how costuming and the folks who do that design have made Doctor Who the series that we love.

( Doctor Who Monthly, 2019)

About Cat Eldridge

I’m the publisher of Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog.

My current novels are listening to Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds, and reading Naomi Kritzer’s Catfishing on Cat-net and Anthony Boucher’s Murder in the Morgue My current graphic novel is Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted..

I’m listening to a whole bunch of new Celtic and Nordic new releases but I’ll dip in my music collection for such artists as Blowzabella, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and Frifot as the weather goes colder.