Saturday, April 20, 2019

Costume design in Doctor Who

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition focuses on costume design - an often neglected aspect of a series that has otherwise been studied exhaustively.

Running through the special is a decade-by-decade history of costume in the series written by Piers Britton, co-author of the seminal academic study Reading between Designs: Visual Imagery and the Generation of Meaning in The Avengers, The Prisoner and Doctor Who (2003), and its full of gems like the way Sandra Reid had to find plausible ways to put companions from Earth's past into more contemporary clothes.
"Her solution for Victoria, in the character's second serial, The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), was especially clever. Details of Victoria's original crinoline, with its ruffled bodice, were echoed in a demurely knee-skimming mini-dress, made from a very similar sprigged material but embellished with knife pleats, rather than ruffles, running from shoulder to belt." (p. 8)
The special also includes interviews with costume designers and actors from the series. I spoke to four of the Doctor's travelling companions from contemporary Earth: Anneke Wills (Polly, 1966-7); Katy Manning (Josephine Grant, 1971-3, 2010); Sophie Aldred (Ace, 1987-9); Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri, 2005-6, 2008, 2010). I also spoke to fan Tim Wearing, who happens to own his favourite costume from all of Doctor Who.

This all dovetails with my ongoing work for the Doctor Who Figurine Collection, where I'm writing 1,200 words for each of the characters I'm assigned from the whole history of the series - as well as longer pieces for the Companion Set issues focused on Doctors and their companions. Here's a list of the issues of Doctor Who Figurine Collection I've written.

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