Doctor Who costumes can be hard to pick! And for the Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, the journey to the perfect outfit was a long and varied one…
There have been many Doctor Who costumes over the years, and sometimes even the Time Lord himself (or herself) isn’t sure on the perfect garb – we have 60 years’ worth of TARDIS wardrobe scenes to testify to that! Behind the scenes, of course, the design process is equally tricky. The production team has to find an outfit that befits the character of the Doctor, is comfortable for the actor, and also suits that Time Lord’s particular incarnation.
For Matt Smith, it’s unclear if an initial design was ever in place before the team hit the BBC costume department. But in a series of photos (which were released some years after Matt Smith took over the role) it is clear that the Doctor Who costumes for the Eleventh Doctor went through a number of different iterations.
This black and white look is certainly very suave. The long white coat has a similar shape to previous Doctor Who costumes with echoes of the Eighth Doctor Paul McGann. Indeed, it looks almost aristocratic, yet highly stylised – similar in design to an Edwardian tailcoat. The baggy black jeans, meanwhile, are channelling some Ninth Doctor energy, while the shirt and t-shirt combination is a subtle throwback to the Tenth Doctor’s more casual look. And of course, the Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi would later make similar fashion choices – albeit with a hoodie!
This next outfit may be one of the most un-Doctorish Doctor Who costumes of all time. Certainly, it is a lot less formal than other Doctor Who costumes, and indeed less formal than the tweed and bow tie look that the Eleventh Doctor finally settled on.
But how to sum up this outfit? Would the words ‘pirate chic’ be a step too far? Possibly, although the stripey t-shirt and shiny-buttoned jacket do have some serious Pirates of the Caribbean vibes.
Overall, it’s fair to say that this costume is a million miles from the one Matt Smith donned and, had it been used, it would have been a radical departure for the series. That said, the waistcoat’s patchwork effect is reminiscent of the Sixth Doctor’s jacket – even if it is a little less garish.
Next we have a much more formal combination of clothes, and one that is more in-keeping with the Doctor Who costumes of the past. The monochromatic tones are obviously reminiscent of the First and Second Doctor’s outfits but, perhaps most surprisingly, this costume points ahead to the one worn by Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. Is it possible the production team used this photo as inspiration?
Possibly. But then, the t-shirt / waistcoat / jacket combination is generic enough for it to be a coincidence. Overall, though, this is a very formal collection of clothes that might have been a little austere for the Eleventh Doctor’s more eccentric persona, although the hint of turned-up jeans does point to a casualness that would find its way into Matt Smith’s final outfit.
And speaking of casual, here’s one outfit that definitely isn’t. Taking inspiration from other Doctor Who costumes, this look is almost identical in style to the Tenth Doctor’s, incorporating a shirt, tie and long overcoat. The jacket, meanwhile, has large buttons and lapels which hark back to the one worn by the Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston (and latterly the War Doctor.)
Interestingly, this costume materialised at a time when Steven Moffat’s other series Sherlock was in production, and it may just be a coincidence, but this outfit has echoes of the one worn by Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous detective. Indeed, it would be fair to say that the Eleventh Doctor looks more like a private eye than a time traveller in this get-up, but as the Seventh Doctor so frequently reminded us, we can’t judge by appearances.
If we were to judge by appearances, though, what would we make of this (ultimately abandoned) ‘rugged biker’ look? Certainly, we know from other Doctor Who costumes that the Time Lord is not averse to wearing leather, and Matt Smith’s jacket here isn’t a million miles from the one worn by the Ninth and War Doctors.
But perhaps the most surprising aspect of this outfit is the open collar and checked shirt, creating a costume that is arguably the most ‘rough and ready’ of them all, and perhaps a bit dishevelled for the more fashion-conscious Eleventh Doctor (even if his own fashion choices were controversial!)
Interestingly, one of the few things that links most of these Doctor Who costumes is the belt, along with the waistcoat – two pieces which never made it into Matt Smith’s final outfit. That said, the Eleventh Doctor did ultimately incorporate a waistcoat into his Series 7 costume, but it was markedly different from the one we see in these pictures.
And now we have the Doctor Who costume that the production team ultimately settled on. Apparently, many of these choices were driven by Matt Smith himself, and he was the first person to champion the use of a bow tie. Initially the producers weren’t sold, but Smith persisted and his bosses eventually came round.
What we don’t see in this photo, though, is the iconic tweed blazer which became synonymous with Smith’s incarnation. The actor had apparently worn one to his original audition, and kept it in mind as he began putting the Eleventh Doctor’s outfit together.
And like many of the Doctor Who costumes over the years, Matt Smith’s was one that evolved as the series progressed. There are certainly hints of what was to come in the photos above; Smith’s Sherlock-esque get-up has echoes of the long green trench coat that the Doctor ultimately wore for the latter half of Series Six.
But over to you, reader. Are you disappointed that these unused Doctor Who costumes never saw the light of the day? And which is your favourite of the choices above? Let us know in the comments below.
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