The Twelfth Doctor – the no frills

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Some thoughts on the costume of the Twelfth Doctor…

“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.” – Peter Capaldi commenting on the character he will portray on BBC One this Autumn.

“The cloth of the past” is obviously an acknowledgement that this outfit has allusions to past Doctors, or rather one specifically, (just as the bow tie of the Second Doctor was an influence on the choices for the clothes of the Eleventh Doctor).

The “scarf” is there as a nod to the one element of the Doctor’s many styles that everyone thinks of, but it’s the “no frills” which again acknowledges there is a precedent.

The look is indeed “simple, stark”, and monochrome with the exception of the vivid red lining of the coat – with its one high button the capelike quality of it is emphasised a second time.

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Yup, it’s all “very Third Doctor”, but without the frills, nothing complicated about the collar and cuffs. So what could this mean for the character of this new Doctor?

The physical comedy and kindliness of the Second Doctor were also characteristics of the most recent bow-tie-sporting Doctor – can we expect a similar contrast that began the 1970s with a Doctor both serious and brusque?

With “no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord” we have an idea this might be a Doctor that may converse in a more abrupt and abrasive manner than his sometimes meandering predecessor. (Indeed this chimes with the minimal preview of the character given by the Moffat interview of the most recent Doctor Who Magazine, #469.)

Clothes maketh the man – though in this instance it may be once more that the man maketh the clothes, as Capaldi costume-input may be after ruminating on how he might play the character, (after Smith fell in love with The Tomb of the Cybermen and chose the bow tie).

Moffat has said he’s quite happy for actor and stylist to devise the new look, and Capaldi – “he’s got very strong opinions”.

So the announcement of the costume may actually be much more expressive of what this new Doctor will be than you might think.

The suave silver fox that begins his new era asking “Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?” The Twelfth Doctor will hopefully remember quickly though and it won’t be two more seasons before he remembers.

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