Find That Prop: The Three Looks of The Eighth Doctor

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For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.

eightmainThe Eighth Doctor At a Glance:

The Eighth Doctor, portrayed by Paul McGann, stands out as the “movie” Doctor, who took on the Master (Eric Roberts in the movie) at the turn of the millennium in this 1996 television movie. This short-lived incarnation saw a lot of “firsts” for The Doctor, including the first — and only — Doctor to travel with an Ice Warrior, the first have actual meaningful contact with his granddaughter since his First incarnation, and first incarnation to have full-on romantic relations with one of his companions (certainly not the last, though). This Doctor faced amnesia, parallel universes and paradoxes, and revealed — falsely —  that he was half-human.

The Eighth Doctor made a tremendous comeback in 2013, as the first glance at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, giving fans a chance to see the “official” regeneration from Doctor-to-Warrior, as well as in several radio plays, novels, the comic strips an other references, most notably the award-winning audio drama, “Dark Eyes.” He’s one of the, if not the most “prolific” Doctor in terms continued references.

Who were his companions? Well, that depends on the Eighth Doctor story. His primary movie companion, and love interest, was Grace Holloway, a San Francisco cardiologist who accidentally “killed” the Seventh Doctor while operating on him, witnessing his regeneration into the Eighth Doctor.

His Dark Eyes companion, was a war-battered nursing assistant, Molly O’Sullivan, and the Night of the Doctor “companion,” (who lasted all of three minutes), was Time War victim named Cass.

The Eight Doctor may only have been around for a short time, but he showed one doesn’t have to be to make a difference, after all, as he said “Anything’s possible.”

Three Quick Cosplay Looks:

For a “one movie” incarnation, this Doctor managed to amass three entirely separate looks, for which he is pretty well known: The Original Movie Look, The Dark Eyes Look, and the “Day of the Doctor” Prequel, “Night of the Doctor,” Look. So, we’ll be doing something a little different this week. Instead of focusing on one piece, here’s a quick look at this Doctor’s Three Looks:

The Movie

©BBC

©BBC

The original movie look is the one most associated with the Eighth Doctor, and is a more romantic return to the original, formal look of the Doctor. Reminiscent of the Victorian era, this Doctor was Steampunk before it was cool; his TARDIS certainly was. No extreme colors, quirky instruments or vegetable pins for this romantic, charming, literary-minded doctor. Give him lightly long, rocker hair, a silky grey cravat, brocade waistcoat, plain dark grey or brown pants and a long, dark green velvety frock coat. He also carried his fob watch, of course.

Fob watches are easy to find in pawn shops, but there are official watches (from the Tenth Doctor era), that will work, and often retail for around $40. This movie look was very much a tribute to the Victorian era, and could be pieced together from historic costumes sites, particularly the old west outfitters, or those specializing in steampunk costumes. Wild West Mercantile, Western Emporium and Museum Replicas are fun sites to poke around in for coats, vests, ties and even fob watches. Since the coat is the piece that ties it together, Movie Costumes has a version for around $189, and it comes with a pair of pants.

The Radio Drama

©BBC

©BBC

The Dark Eyes look is a close rival to the Ninth Doctor’s “bad boy,” image, and is probably the easiest of the three to mimic. Even though this costume was pretty much needed just for the covers of the radio drama, McGann made appearances in it. His hair is shorter, and he bears faded blue jeans and a white t-shirt, a courier pouch bag and a black leather double breasted Navel jacket, reminiscent of the Ninth Doctor’s look, but with gold buttons.

Finding jeans, t-shirt and any pair of walking boots that might work is easy, but the key is the coat and bag. Leather pea coats are easy to find on eBay and other men’s stores, but expensive ($200 plus, in many cases). Hit a few surplus stores to find some used ones (they may still be costly, if you can find them). Also, gold buttons aren’t the norm so these would have to be added. Brown courier bags can also cost, but there are also available at several retail stores. Amazon has several choices from $30 on up, and eBags is also a good site to search.

This look was actually designed for this series by Weta Workshop, who admitted The Doctor could only keep that “Wild Bill Hickok” look for so long.

Good call.

The Prequel

©BBC

©BBC

This 6-minute special packed a big punch, as it showed a post-apocalyptic Doctor having to give up his pacifist nature, and finally take up arms and fight. This Doctor was strong-willed, war torn and rough. This was a big jump from his romance novel personality in the movie, and his outfit showed it.

Even though many of the basic elements were the same, including the green frock coat and waist coat, they were shabby and old, like a man who had seen some fighting. Keep the hair shorter than the movie, unbutton the top collar on the white shirt, and ditch the nice, neat cravat for a rattier dark blue scarf. Ad a brown leather belt, and find or make an s-link buckle. Fire Mountain Gems has some pieces that could work to create this type of buckle. Over-the-calf lace up brown leather boots are fine, but the actual costume got the look from brown lace up shoes or boots with leather gaiters, like the type used in equestrian sports. There are different, variations available for $50 to in the hundreds, but his lace up in front.

These three looks may have been varied, but the Doctor will always be The Doctor, as the Eighth Doctor said: “I’m easy to find. I’m the guy with two hearts, remember?”

— Lisa Kay Tate

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