I share my thoughts on the new arrival in the Doctor’s wardrobe…
The official costume of Doctor Who’s Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, was revealed last Wednesday so, as a fan of the show, I thought I’d share my thoughts.
I’ll tell you the truth in a nutshell here: I had big hopes for Capaldi’s doctor when he was announced as Matt Smith’s replacement last year. As always, there’s been a lot of hype and controversy around whether he’s the right man to play the Doctor. Many people have complained about his age: Capaldi is 55 – when Matt Smith started back in 2010, he was only 28. I’m glad he’s older though. The Doctor has grown childish and a little too bonkers in the past few years and that was good, but it’s time for a change now. Hopefully, with age will come a little more wisdom and experience. So things are going good. But I have to say this new costume was a bit of a disappointment.
The costume of each of the Doctor’s incarnations is – and always has been – a personality statement. From the ridiculously long scarf of Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor (see right), through the Sixth Doctor’s multi-coloured coat, to Matt Smith’s fez-wearing, bow-tie-loving tweed-jacket-revival, it’s become as much of a symbol as the sonic screwdriver or the interior of the TARDIS. When I saw the picture, though, my first thought was that it was a bit plain. Nothing jumps out at you as being unique to him. It’s very nice clothing, don’t get me wrong, but there’s nothing new. We could just be going to a funeral (hopefully its River Song). Maybe it’s just the stark contrast from the full-on colourfulness of the Eleventh Doctor…?
After reading a short article on the BBC website, I found something that swayed my view a little. Here’s a quote from Capaldi himself: “He’s woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord.” I’m glad he mentioned the “back to basics” bit, because that is really something we need with Doctor Who as a show. It’s good that we’ve finally got a more subdued Doctor. “Smart, sharp and stylish,” as the BBC controller said.
I understand that the plain black coat with the red lining is meant to be a homage to Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor (see image), and this is because Pertwee was Capaldi’s ‘first’ doctor (‘his’ Doctor, as they say in the business), and this is nice. A bit of tradition is good. But we still lack that special something that makes him different. Pertwee had the frills and the dandiness, it would be nice to see something new from Capaldi. Let’s just hope his personality is what sets him apart because, for me, his costume doesn’t.