You can't fail to have noticed that the Doctor is rocking some new clobber in upcoming Christmas special "The Snowmen". The trusty tweed jacket is history, replaced by the Dickensian stylings of a Victorian gent. We asked Doctor Who supremo Steven Moffat what this surprise rummage in the TARDIS wardrobe means for the Time Lord.
So why is the Doctor dressing differently now?
It’s a sort of progression. It’s not giving too much away to say that he’s resident in Victorian London for a while. We decided early on that he would dress in Victorian clothes. He’s no longer trying to stand out from the crowd, he’s just a Victorian gentleman, so he doesn’t even initially wear the bow tie.
He seems to be edging closer to the archetypal idea of what the Doctor looks like, which is something that the new series has always seemed to run scared of. Are you comfortable having a bit more fun with the Doctor’s wardrobe now? Or is it just Matt saying "Give me a frock coat!"
Obviously he wears that Victorian outfit, and then when he reverts to dressing Doctory he’s now wearing a frock coat all of a sudden, and a waistcoat… We did fight shy of it. I think we were terribly aware, Russell in particular, of not looking like somebody dressing up as Doctor Who. We were all quite paranoid about that. But it’s progressing. We started very, very dour with Chris’ Doctor. Very quickly he’s got the stupid coat and the stupid hair when David takes over. And we were very close to a frock coat when Matt came in, because he just looks good in them. Then we liked the tweedy jacket. It’s sort of a different phase of his life now – it felt right for him not to be wearing the same clothes. He’s a bit more grown-up now, he’s a bit more the daddy Doctor. He’s more Pertwee-like, really, and it just suited him. Matt’s a bit of a clothes horse – you can put him in anything. It really came down to what he felt like wearing.
And there are some crazy hats coming up. Is that you giving in to Matt’s desire for a hat?
He wears one at Christmas simply because there would be no Victorian outside who wasn’t wearing a hat. Of course it’s a mad hat because one, it’s the Doctor and two, it’s Matt! The hat doesn’t stick around for long.
It doesn’t get shot?
No, it doesn’t get shot…
So this is an ongoing thing for the Doctor in future series? It redefines his look visually?
I think we’ve been quite tight-arsed about it, overall. I came into this job saying “I’m damned if I’m going to have the Doctor dress the same way in every episode”. And very quickly you find out why that’s true, why you actually have to have them dress the same way every time. You find a look that makes that actor feel like the Doctor and you sort of cling to it. You cling to it probably slightly childishly. And you don’t vary it. You have a magic moment where having had this young Matt Smith try on lots of costumes suddenly the Doctor’s looking back at you. And you sort of think "That’s what he’d wear." And you don’t quite believe anything else. For human reasons, rather than great strategic reasons. And I can sort of imagine all the people in the history of the show making the same choice – “Oh, that’s right, we’ve got it now!” It’s interesting – you look at Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee and actually they don’t wear the same clothes all the time, but they have very, very distinctive looks. They never vary their look at all. I think we could do with moving more towards that version of it.
Doctor Who "The Snowmen" is broadcast on Christmas Day on BBC One at 5.15pm