The long wait is over for science-fiction fans, with the unveiling of the costume to be worn by Peter Capaldi in the forthcoming season of the BBC’s 50-year-old drama series, “Doctor Who.”
Fans have been waiting to see what sort of costume Capaldi would be wearing as the Doctor ever since he was announced, nearly six months ago, as the actor chosen to take over from Matt Smith.
Doctor Who fans — who are known for being very committed to the long-running science-fiction series — variously concentrate their energies on a number of aspects of the show. Those that garner a great deal of attention include: when the incumbent actor playing the Doctor announces their departure, who the new Doctor will be played by; once that person has been announced, what they will be wearing; and, how long the chosen actor intends to stay for.
Indeed, David Tennant — who played the Doctor from 2005 to 2010 and returned alongside his successor, Matt Smith, in last year’s The Day of the Doctor — once confided that the first question he was asked on taking over the role was how long he intended to stay!
Once regarded as a bit of an embarrassment to the BBC, Doctor Who is now hot property at the corporation, the powers that be now well aware of the massive interest in the show, not only in the UK but in much of the wider world, too. Consequently, the BBC has learnt how to generate maximum publicity for it.
In its earlier years, the ushering in of a new actor to play the Doctor was very low-key. Not so these days, with the last two actors to play the Doctor having been introduced in programmes specially recorded for the purpose. In 2009, Matt Smith was introduced as the Eleventh Doctor in an edition of the popular documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, while Peter Capaldi was unveiled as the Twelfth Doctor live on TV in last August’s first-ever Doctor Who Live. In the UK alone, both shows attracted in excess of 7 million viewers.
The Attire of the Doctor
As for what the new Doctor is to wear, already this month, the BBC had, on two separate occasions, issued official photographs of the 55-year-old actor in costume. However, both times, fans were being teased: the first was of Capaldi still wearing Smith’s Doctor’s costume; while the second showed the new Doctor in a Victorian nightgown!
BBC / Doctor Who
Doctor Who "first look": Peter Capldi as the Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara
However, the latest official photograph is the real deal! Capaldi’s Doctor is decked out in a red-lined navy-blue three-quarter-length Crombie coat, a blue waistcoat, blue trousers and white cotton shirt with a fastened-down collar. The whole ensemble is finished off with a pair of stockbroker-shine-black Dr Martens.
As reported by the Western Mail, the new outfit was created by Doctor Who ’s costume designer, Howard Burden, in conjunction with the actor.
“He’s woven the future from the cloth of the past,” Capaldi said. “Simple, stark, and back to basics.”
Meanwhile, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat commented, “New Doctor, new era and, of course, new clothes. Monsters of the universe, the vacation is over – Capaldi is suited and booted and coming to get you!”
Making reference to the costumes of two of his predecessors — Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor) and Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor) — Capaldi added, “No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord.”
The Attire of the Doctor: Peter Capaldi in costume as the Doctor
The Return of the Doctor
Since early January, Capaldi has been busy filming his first season of Doctor Who, which is expected to launch sometime in the second half of 2014. The read-through for Capaldi’s first set of episodes took place just before Christmas and, with the start of a new season still many months away, fans are hopeful that an Easter special could be on the cards.
Capaldi’s Doctor has, however, already appeared in the show, albeit briefly, on two separate occasions.
His first words as the newly regenerated Doctor were uttered in the closing moments of last year’s Doctor Who Christmas special — The Time of the Doctor — which saw Smith bow out as the Doctor after four years in the role that has made him a household name. The scene itself was watched by 10.2 million people in the UK alone, making it the most-watched TV moment of the day.
That wasn’t Capaldi’s first appearance as the Doctor, though, but followed his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene in the Doctor Who 50th-anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, which was shown world wide on Saturday, 23 November 2013 — making it the first time in the show’s history that the actor playing the new Doctor had appeared as the Doctor in an episode before his predecessor had regenerated.
Added to that, Capaldi has already popped up in the Doctor Who universe in two other roles: in 2008, as Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii, by James Moran; and, in 2009, as John Frobisher in Russell T Davies’s Torchwood: Children of Earth.
BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore, said of the costume, “Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is officially recorded in history today […] sharp, smart and stylish [he] means business.”