They say clothes make the man, and when you’re lifespan is measured in centuries rather than decades, it stands to reason that this proves all the more true for Time Lords. Each of the incarnations of the Doctor has been iconically associated with one particular “look,” even if it varies somewhat during their tenure. There’s Tom Baker’s impractically long, multicolored scarf. There’s David Tennant’s snappy suit and Converse trainers. There’s Peter Davison’s “decorative vegetable.” When it came to the Eleventh Doctor, as portrayed by Matt Smith, his costume deftly referenced the way the actor would perform the character: an eccentric old man trapped in the gangly body of a youth. But if things had gone differently, we might never have learned that “bowties are cool.” Instead we could have been stuck with a getup that would look more at place inside the pages of Tiger Beat (is there still Tiger Beat?) than inside the TARDIS.
These photos recently popped up on the burnthelightsout tumblr, showing Smith trying on various potential Doctor outfits, most of which are just…unfortunate. I realize the show is “hip” these days, or at least as close to hip as it’s ever likely to get, but most of these outfits seem to be trying waaaaaaayyy too hard. Don’t get me wrong, they may very well have received raves if Matt Smith sported them on a red carpet, but they don’t exactly scream “Doctor.” In fact, if these clothes have anything at all to say to the Doctor, it’s, “Basically…run.”
I do love that Smith looks pretty bewildered in most of these getups, and that’s consistent with executive producer Steven Moffat having said in the past that the whole bowtie look was Smith’s idea, intended as a tip of the
hat fez to Patrick Troughton’s rumpled Second Doctor.
Of the six outfits on display, the dark suit and jacket is the most dapper look, but it still lacks any signs of the Doctor’s eccentricity, and all things considered I’m glad Smith fought for the bowtie.
While we’re on the subject of roads not taken, an interview with Moffat a few weeks back reveals that the early plan from the beginning was for Smith to stick around through 2013 for the 50th anniversary, then regenerate and be on his way. Even so, Moffat says the actor very nearly stuck with Doctor Who for two more seasons, something that would have tracked with all of Smith’s statements leading up to the point where he revealed that nope, he was leaving after all. Here’s Moffat speaking to Entertainment Weekly:
We discussed ages ago that we would do three series and then he would do the 50th and then he’d do Christmas. That was Plan A for a very, very long while. That may sound cold that it was so far in advance but you’ve got to plan a career. [Laughs] The question was, ‘Will I be able to talk him out of it?’ We went out for lunch and he said that he’d come very close to doing another series but it was the same argument: ‘If I do another series, I think I might do two more series, or three more series. I think I might never leave.’ It’s that thing of wanting to leave while you’re a huge hit and not let it tail off. It’s part of the ecology of the program, it’s part of the DNA of the program, that there is going to be a new Doctor now and then.