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Published on July 31st, 2014 | by Andrew Reynolds

Steven Moffat On Capaldi’s Costume

If you’re heading into darkness, you’ll need suitably doom-laden, no-nonsense attire to kick out the jams and who better to provide such a uniform than Peter Capaldi.

A stylish, debonair figure himself, Capaldi looked into his past, added a modern cut to his cloth and gave us the ‘100% rebel Time Lord.’ Which is just as well as, like the rest of us sartorially challenged lot, it all seemed a bit much for showrunner Steven Moffat, who, when it became time to open the wardrobe of the Doctor, deferred the decision to the Doctor himself.

“He wanted to be quite stark,” Moffat revealed in an exclusive chat with SFX. “Stark and skinny. A stick-insect sort of thing. Clara actually calls him a grey-haired stick-insect at one point. We had some hilarious pictures of Peter just dressing up. It was all coming from him because he’s really into his clothes. I didn’t feel qualified to go and chat too much about it. Certainly the costume didn’t go anywhere until I shut up. The thing I’ve learned about showrunning is you need to know the bits you’re bad at!”

Much in keeping with the dictum that the new Doctor shouldn’t announce himself and command any space (or time) he happens to find himself in, Moffat also wanted a look to reflect this newly coiled Doctor.

“I’ve got certain things that I’ll say – I don’t want anything in that costume that I have to write into the script. I don’t want people saying ‘But why are you dressed as a circus clown?’ I want him to walk into a pub, a restaurant, a space conference, an army base and nobody stares at him.”

The Doctor does love to skulk about corridors and in the depths of alien habitats; the problem with all this dark clothing then might not have been people staring but rather people straining to see him. Moffat says, “There was an issue simply because it’s quite dark as a costume and it’s a show that largely takes place in a tunnel. I kept saying ‘We are going to be able to see him, aren’t we?’ I suppose the red lining helps, when the flaps are open.”

Ah, yes the flaps. Not only a practical solution to losing your Doctor in the dark but also a nod to that other fashion conscious incarnation, the Third Doctor – so what is it about the Doctor and his formal foibles?

“I think there’s always something a little bit formal about the Doctor,” the curly-haired showrunner told the mag. “Oddly enough in this series, for whatever reason, he seems to be wearing different outfits far more often than the Doctor normally does. He’s got his basic outfit but he’s in a spacesuit in one of them, and he’s a caretaker in another one and then he’s all dressed up in a later episode. He does vary it a bit.  And he mixes up the basic costume, hugely. We’ve tended to see the white shirt version in public but actually the one I like best is when he wears the jumper under his coat. I think he looks like a submarine commander, like an old sailor or something. It makes him all rugged and handsome!”

Read more from Steven Moffat in the new issue of SFX, on sale now with a choice of five exclusive collectible Doctor Who covers from all good and dubious newsagents.

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About the Author

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Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.




4 Responses to Steven Moffat On Capaldi’s Costume

  1. avatar TimeChaser says:

    After the pinstripes and trainers and “bowties are cool”, I think its good to go in a more stripped down direction again, much like they did with Eccleston. A lack of gimmicks helps shift the focus from any eccentricities and squarely on the actor.

    Not that I dislike eccentric gimmicks. :P

  2. avatar DonnaM says:

    I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the more pared-down, gimmick-free look! The Doctor should always look just a bit different, whatever situation he finds himself in; he’s always got to be distinctive. I reckon Capaldi’s basic outfit pulls that off nicely.

    It does seem he’s getting into more different outfits in the first episode – judging from the pics released so far – than some of his predecessors have managed in full series. I quite like that!

    • avatar simon magellan says:

      I’ve counted at least four so far in the 75 minute debut ep – perhaps the episode is set in a men’s outfitters?

  3. avatar Ranger says:

    I like the pared down version as well – I don’t mind a small piece of eccentricity in the costume, a stick of celery here, a question mark umbrella there, but not full on madness like poor Colin was forced to wear. It also seems to make sense for him having more costume changes, I always wondered about the Doctor’s laundry arrangements when it was the same outfit all the time!

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