Is Ncuti Gatwa’s range of Doctor Who costumes the broadest in the series’ history?
The idea that Doctor Who costumes never change during a particular Time Lord’s run is something of a fallacy. Yes, certain Doctors have outfits that are specifically tied to their incarnations, but there is often some variety.
The Fourth Doctor, for instance, may forever be associated with his 18 ft. scarf, but he had at least five distinctly different outfits during his tenure. The most striking of these was his Sherlock Holmes-inspired garb that he donned in ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang.’ And then there was the Third Doctor’s ever-changing jackets and capes. Plus we have the Eleventh Doctor, who wore three different outfits during his four year run.
The Doctor Who costumes for Ncuti Gatwa, however, bear no resemblance to each other – at least, from what has been publicly released so far. The first of his Doctor Who costumes is his main attire, incorporating a striking chequered suit and bright orange jumper with shiny Brogues (or at least, something resembling Brogues) along with a medallion and an impressive assortment of rings.
The belief was that this outfit would provide the template for the outfits he would wear in other episodes. Typically, most Doctor Who costumes have adhered to the same ‘format,’ as it were, with the Ninth Doctor sticking to his leather jacket and baggy jeans but changing his jumper, and the Tenth Doctor sticking to his pinstriped suit but changing his tie, and so on.
But Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor Who costumes could, potentially, be changing completely on a weekly basis. A few weeks ago, the BBC released an image of the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday dressed in period outfits for an upcoming episode set in the 1960s. And Gatwa’s costume bears no resemblance to his previously-announced garb, with the Time Lord even sporting a Jackson 5-inspired barnet.
But interestingly, this latest outfit does evoke some former Doctor Who costumes. In the picture, Gatwa is wearing a blue pin-striped suit which is not too dissimilar from the one worn by the Tenth Doctor in the third and fourth series. The buttons, meanwhile, are similar in style to the ones found on the Ninth Doctor’s jacket.
Now, given that the Time Lord has a 60 year back catalogue of Doctor Who costumes, it is inevitable that similarities will eventually begin to show. But at the same time, with the upcoming Series Fourteen set to arrive on the tail-end of the series’ 60th anniversary celebrations, it would make sense if the designers made some subtle references to the show’s past.
The same could be argued for the next of Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor Who costumes, this time in the style of an 18th century aristocrat. It seems that the episode in question is set during this time period, and the outfit is reminiscent of the velvet and frills worn by the Third and Twelfth Doctors.
So does this mean that Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor is one who will make a conscious effort to ‘blend in’ wherever he goes? If so, this wouldn’t be entirely out of character, as mentioned previously; Tom Baker’s Sherlock Holmes outfit for ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’ is one of the more memorable examples, but there is also the First Doctor in ‘The Reign of Terror’ and the Twelfth Doctor in ‘Thin Ice,’ and even the Sixth Doctor in ‘Revelation of the Daleks.’
But generally speaking – apart from the aforementioned changing of jackets and ties – the Doctor usually sticks to the same outfit wherever he or she goes. Certainly with the Sixth Doctor, there was a degree of arrogance to this; Peri told him that he’d look “dreadful” in his multi-coloured clothes, but the Time Lord dismissed her out of hand. And people frequently described the Third Doctor’s outfit as “fancy dress,” and he didn’t bat an eyelid. So more often than not, the Doctor wears what he or she feels most comfortable in, regardless of their place or time.
However, there may be a more sinister plot reason for Ncuti Gatwa’s diverse range of Doctor Who costumes. Could it be that there is some ‘higher power’ which is forcing these changes on him? We already know that Neil Patrick Harris and Jinkx Monsoon will be playing some of the most powerful adversaries in the Whoniverse, so could they be manipulating space and time to such a degree that they are also influencing his wardrobe?
It may sound implausible, but there is evidence to support this theory. For instance, when the Thirteenth Doctor regenerated into the Fourteenth, her clothes changed along with her body. The grey overcoat and rainbow jumper were seemingly burned away and replaced with a variation of the Tenth Doctor’s costume. And whilst this may have been some unusual quirk of regeneration (with previous Doctors having changed their outfits while regenerating) it’s possible that there is a greater force at work. Indeed, a clip from the 60th anniversary trailer showed Ncuti Gatwa in what appears to be the remains of the Fourteenth Doctor’s clothes.
Alternatively, it may well be that the Fifteenth Doctor simply has a love of fashion, and relishes the opportunity to dress up and fully embrace the time periods in which he finds himself. It would certainly be in-keeping with the Doctor’s love for adventure and exploration – and we already know that the TARDIS has an extensive wardrobe.
But what is your theory about this vast range of Doctor Who costumes for Ncuti Gatwa? And which is your favourite of the variants so far? Let me know in the comments below.