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.