Wednesday 24 July 2013

The 4.50 from Weng-Chiang

Theatrical costumes can be a mix of custom-made and off-the-rack items.

Often stuff can be specially made at great expense for leading players in one production, then put into storage for many years before resurfacing to cheaply clothe supporting or background actors in something else.

Although there is no doubt The Doctor’s frock coats were custom-made (one for Tom Baker and a copy for the stunt double) it is quite possible the various tweed trousers and Victorian shirts were simply found from Angel’s vast archive of stock.

Another such combination of item could be parts of his Victorian sleuthing outfit from The Talons Of Weng-Chiang.

I was watching a vintage episode of Miss Marple - not the recent travesty starring Geradine McEwen or Julia McKenzie, but the classic episodes with Joan Hickson.

While watching 4.50 From Paddington, I noticed one of the lead players was wearing a dark rust-red velvet jacket (see left, top).
Single-brearted, it has revered lapels (see left, second picture) and a distinctive polka-dot design (see left, third picture).

There is no question in my mind it is the jacket worn in The Talons Of Weng-Chiang!!!

Miss Marple was entirely shot on 16mm film (just like the location filming for Doctor Who was in the 1970s) and the American DVDs I have aren’t the best transfer. But please take my word for what I see.

This was the Christmas day episode in 1987, so post-dates its Doctor Who appearance by a full decade.

Amusingly it is being worn by Irish actor John Hallam, who two years later appeared in the Sylvester McCoy serial Ghost Light as the etherial alien Light (see below).

Friday 19 July 2013

Cosplay Sky - season 16 Frock Coat

After brining you my magnum opus costume index for The Fourth Doctor, I thought it was time to get back on the reviews of replica coats available around the internet.
Today the season 16 Frock Coat offering from Cosplay Sky.
Based in China, Cosplay Sky has been making costumes for over five years and specialise in a lot of Anime and genre films and tv shows. Their style can be very angular with broad lapels and flared skirts.
Now, having made my own replica of this coat, I can immediately see a number of serious shortcomings in the cut of this coat. Some are quite picky, but others are more obvious.

Ecru Brown Long
Trench Coat
Price as of July 2013 - $179.99

It does become a problem of where to start with this, as the coat is such a anime caricature of what should be one of Tom’s iconic Frock Coats.

The whole body of the coat seems excessively elongated, even down to the cuff piping being twice s high up the sleeve as it should be.
The waist is quite tailored, which only accentuates the disproportions of the coat.

The piping around the edges of the lapels and pocket flaps are not the right colour. It needs to be a real dark brown (almost black) rather than the milk chocolate colour used here.

The fabric used doesn’t really look to be quite right, but of the three season 16 Frock Coats I have reviewed this is almost the best colour of the bunch - ironic as it is without doubt the worst cut of what’s on offer.

The buttons on the back are set too far apart, and the back vent is exactly central, where it should be off centre and have a slight overlap.

The pocket flaps are very rectangular and don’t have the slight flare of the real thing.

But to add to things, one of the outer pockets is completely missing!
The lower left-hand pocket has been omitted, and remaining pocket left is too close to the front and to big enough.

And to confuse things even more, two large flap-less pockets are added at the back. All a bit of a mess.

The waistline pockets are too big and crash the buttons. They should be close, but not that close.
The buttons could be moved, and should be in a slight diagonal line, diverging at the top - but this is the one and only practical fix on a coat that is frankly way to wide of the mark to be not worth the effort.


EVEN MORE 4th Doctor items on eBay

It’s been a bit quiet lately for original Fourth Doctor items on eBay, but I have come across one thing worth looking at.

It’s a costume design from The Brain Of Morbius by L Rowland Warne.

A similar costume design was sold on eBay back in March (see right).

That was just a good colour copy, but this one is the original.

Brain Of Morbius
Costume design
SOLD FOR £411.50
after sold for £944.61 to non-payer

This is an original costume design drawing from the 1975 Doctor Who serial the Brain of Morbius.

It is a finely detailed piece, in pencils and watercolour. There is a small tear to the top edge which fortunately doesn’t encroach onto the artwork itself and one or two minor bumps in the paper which I’m sure will come out once the artwork is framed.

These are small flaws in what is an incredibly well preserved piece of Doctor Who history. Written on the back is: “Ohica + outdoor robe hat as 2nd sisters” The piece measures 295mm x 410mm.

I obtained it from a well known collector in 2002, and it has remained in storage ever since. A piece of artwork as exquisite as this deserves to be on display as the centrepiece of someone’s collection.

Friday 12 July 2013

Costume index - season eighteen

© June Hudson
Beginning with Season 18, John Nathan-Turner took over as producer of Doctor Who.

One of the most immediately and noticeable changes he made was a redesign of the Fourth Doctor’s costume by the legendary June Hudson.

Although retaining the same overall concept, to start with nothing was carried over from previous seasons (though he did start wearing his leather cuff boots from halfway through the season), and a more co-ordinated plum colour scheme was introduced.

The early part of this season was produced out of broadcast order.
To start with The Doctor wears argyle socks and suede brogues. These appear in The Leisure Hive, State Of Decay and Meglos. From Full Circle onwards he reverted to his brown leather cuff boots.


The Leisure Hive

The Leisure Hive
State Of Decay


Full Circle
Full Circle

State Of Decay
Warriors’ Gate

Warriors’ Gate
The Keeper Of Traken

The Keeper Of Traken


By screening them out of production order, The Doctor’s footwear appears to change week-to-week.

Season Eighteen

Friday 5 July 2013

Costume index - season seventeen

There is very little new in the Doctor’s wardrobe this year, but if there was a fashion trend developing this season, it would be for a more casual look, with unbuttoned waistcoats; open-collar shirts and loose hanging scarves.

The mix-and-match on show plunders costumes originally designed for Terror Of The Zygons, The Deadly Assassin, The Image Of The Fendhal and The Power Of Kroll. None of these are worn as intended.

This season also serves to demonstrate an almost distain for his fedora hat. More often than not is relegated to his coat pocket. Last season he only put it on an average of one scene per episode - during this season it is barely one time per serial, and as the season progresses he doesn’t wear it at all.

The first half of the season was recorded out of order, with the Harris Tweed frock coat being his favourite coat of choice.


The Creature from the Pit

Destiny of the Daleks
City of Death

City of Death
Destiny of the Daleks

The Creature from the Pit
Nightmare of Eden

Nightmare of Eden
The Horns Of Nimon

The Horns Of Nimon


Season Seventeen