Saturday 23 November 2013

Doctor Who Celebration -
costume exhibition

This weekend’s Doctor Who Celebration has been a feast for the eyes for fans.

As well as catering for those who have come to Who through the relaunch series, there has been a good nod to the history of the show with a wide variety of guests and an extensive exhibition of costumes culled from Cardiff’s Doctor Who Experience.

They had a near complete set of Doctor’s costumes on show (missing was the Eighth and War Doctors) arranged in a circle around Bessie.

The Sixth Doctor costume on show was straight out of the Experience, though the cravat, shirt and waistcoat looked like they were from an eBay fancy dress outfit!

The Sixth Doctor eras was sparsely represented at the exhibition. Amongst the display of Time Lord robes spanning three decades of appearances, was the Valeyard and Keeper of the matrix costumes from the Trial Of A Time Lord season.

If you want to see the costumes for the other Doctors at the exhibition, click the links below

Third Doctor          Fourth Doctor

Thursday 21 November 2013

Bonhams auction - 18th December 2013

With December looming, it is time for another Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia sale!

The past few auctions have been Doctor Who lite when it comes to items, so there is no surprise that the first post-Anniversary is brimming with costumes and nick backs, dating back to 1968.

Lot 153
DOCTOR WHO: TRIAL OF A TIME LORD - A STUDIO FLOOR PLAN FOR THE EPISODE, a flimsy, with annotations, and a copy, for 16th/17th, each 30 x 40 inches (76 x 101cm), together with a signed colour card of Colin Baker, and a small album of cast and crew photos/negatives, relating to the 20th Anniversary 'Spirit Of Light', Chicago, November 1983, 'Planet Of Fire' filming in Lanzarote and a photograph of Fiona Cumming, production manager, on set with an Ice Warrior, 'Seeds Of Death', 1969
Provenance: Fiona Cumming.

Estimate £100 - 150
Sold for £237

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Radio Times -
50th anniversary issue covers

The 50th Anniversary week is almost here, and as expected the cover of the latest Radio Times features The Doctor - not just once, but TWLEVE times!

The sources of the images used are quite interesting, the majority of which are from the Radio Times own extensive archive of Doctor Who images. All are out-takes, so are being published for the first time.

The First and Second Doctors come from the 10th Anniversary Special published by the Radio Times in 1973. The Third Doctor comes from a photoshoot in 1970 for the launch of Jon Pertwee in the role.

The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors are pictured from the shoot for the 30th Anniversary special, which featured in the 1993 Children In Need.

This shows that they were all taken separately before being composited into the group on the cover.

The rest of the Doctors come from bespoke cover shoots done for the Radio Times in more recent years. For example the Ninth Doctor is from the gatefold cover which launched the new series in 2005; and the Tenth from The Next Doctor in 2008. The Eleventh and War Doctors are obviously newly taken.

Here’s the full size version of the Sixth Doctor’s cover.

Finally, have you noticed that all 12 covers join together to form a long single image?

Saturday 16 November 2013

Tranquil Repose cape - ON eBAY!

This doesn’t happen very often, but a screen-worn piece of he Sixth Doctor’s wardrobe is currently on eBay!

The blue ankle length cape worn in Revelation Of The Daleks is up for sale.

Two capes were made, one of which was stained with blood during the fight scene, and still bears the marks.

This is the other, which has survived clean and bright as the first day it was worn!

Revelation of the Daleks
Sixth Doctor’s blue cape
SOLD FOR £2,500

For sale: The original screen-used blue and gold cape worn by Colin Baker in the 1985 Doctor Who serial Revelation of the Daleks.
The cape features heavily in the first episode of the serial as The Doctor and Peri travel to Tranquil Repose, a funeral home on the planet Necros.

This cape was purchased from a private collector in October 2011 and is in fine condition. The cloth is still a vivid blue. The gold, curly patterned fasteners represent 6 questions marks (for the 6th Doctor) - something that only occurred to me after I bought it!

NB: One of the six gold bead fasteners is missing and I understand this has been the case since the 1980's. (This could easily be replaced if you were so inclined.)

The item is signed by Colin Baker to the original owner on the inside lining: ''To Gray. A friend of THE Doctor. Colin Baker. No.6."

Screen-used items from classic Doctor Who are highly sought after, and a piece of 'Doctor's costume' as iconic as this is extremely rare. The item is remembered by fans as the one time the Sixth Doctor's garishly coloured outfit was concealed from view!

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Original 6th Doctor items on eBay -
November 2013

It’s not often something worn in a Sixth Doctor serial comes up on eBay, so I thought it worth double mentioning this costume.

Original made for The Deadly Assassin, it also put in an appearance in The Trial Of A time Lord.

Trial Of A Time Lord
Pink Time Lord Robes

Rare Original classic BBC TV Doctor Who Time Lord costume prop Bonhams 2010

This costume was purchased initially from the famous Bonhams Doctor Who Auction sale in February 2010.

The Bonhams Catalogue listing for this item reads:

24 Feb 2010 14:00 GMT London, Knightsbridge
Doctor Who: The Auction - Costumes and Props from the BBC Archive

The Deadly Assassin, October 1976
A Time Lord Robe,
of pink coloured, heavy cotton mix fabric, with pleated sleeves and front


N.B: A friend has advised me that this costume was also used in the 1986 season story; ‘The Trial of a Timelord’ in the courtroom scenes set on Gallifrey and provided me with a snapshot from this.

Purchase History:
Originally sold at Bonhams in February 2010.
Costume comes fully authenticated with certificate of authenticity from original buyer.
There is a tag supplied with the costume, indicating the lot number from the original sale.
(I am very reluctantly parting with it to make room and funds for new arrival!)

Very good condition considering its age; there is no visible damage to the fabric, no rips, tears or holes. There is some production wear to the robe, this is in the form of some slight dirt marks and scuffing to the hem where the long train has trailed along the studio floor.

The costume has been carefully stored since purchase.

This is a one-off piece of Doctor Who ‘history’ in its 50th Anniversary year!

(Please note: the mannequin display stand in the photos is not included).

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Hello Cosplay - Sixth Doctor Frock Coat

I’ve seen a bit of online discussion about a new version of the Sixth Doctor Frock Coat which has been made by one of the Far Eastern cosplay costume makers.

So I thought I’d take a look and give my opinion, for what it’s worth.

6th Sixth Dr Colorful
Lattice Stripe Coat Costume

Over the past few years there have been a number of options for Sixth Doctor Cosplayer, but they have been distinctly at the polar ends of peoples budgets.

Cloth Ears made a premium coat for a while, and Honest Dragon catered for the those with a tighter wallet.
My own offering is distinctly only for the discerning cosplayer.

Even some amateur tailors have had a go, with varying levels of success.

Now Hello Cosplay have entered the market with another addition to the cheaper options, but one which in my mind stand well above the other options in the same price bracket.

Now I look at replicas of this coat with a very distinct eye, since I have become uncommonly intimate with every panel that makes up the patchwork.

With a price tag of US$129.99 I’m not setting my expectation too high, but in many regards I have been pleasantly surprised.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Ultimate Sixth Doctor Frock vs
Cloth Ears Six Frock Coat


I have to confess, that when Steve first made known his interest in producing a replica sixth doctor frock coat - back in late 2009 / early 2010 - I was mildly sceptical that it would actually reach fruition.

Not, I hasten to add, because of any doubts regarding his skills or attention to detail, but simply because of the scale of the challenge: the logistics, the expense, the complexity. It’s a colossal project, from researching fabrics and potential suppliers/manufacturers right through to the assembly.

The fact that so many of the fabrics can’t be closely matched with anything ‘off the shelf’ necessarily suggests the need to have them made bespoke – which, of course, involves painstaking development and sampling, not to mention phenomenal expense. Steve appeared undaunted by any of these considerations and bravely forged ahead, tackling the project methodically, little by little. Three and half years later… and I find myself taking delivery of the result.

Steve’s journey seemingly began when he was blessed with an opportunity to closely inspect one of the three screen-used examples of the coat (coat number 2). Some years previously I’d enjoyed a similar chance to inspect the same coat. So I can judge Steve’s replica from the standpoint of having briefly handled a “real” one.

I can also judge it from the standpoint of owning one of the replicas offered by Clothears, who were responsible for certainly the most commendable replica up until that time. Clothears, like Steve, had enjoyed access to a screen-used original (coat number 3), and, like Steve, had gone the route of having several of the fabrics custom made. At the time, the results were pleasing. The fabrics they’d had made were a reasonable match to the originals, not perfect, but reasonably close, and the overall effect certainly left me with the impression that this was pretty good – and probably as good as I had any business hoping for.

Without wishing to take anything away from the level of research and workmanship that went into the Clothears coat, I’m delighted to be able to say that it has now been surpassed … and by a quantum country mile. In many ways – and in fairness – each caters to a slightly different audience (and budget).

Clothears are best described as ‘costume-makers’, providing their services to the cosplay market. As a cosplay accessory their Sixth Doctor coat remains an excellent piece of work and (barring Steve’s) knocks any other replica into a cocked hat. In contrast, what Steve has produced goes beyond mere cosplay tomfoolery and ventures deep into the territory reserved principally for the ‘serious collector’. It’s a serious piece of art, a serious piece of craftsmanship and comes with a serious price tag to match.

So, out of the box… the first thing that strikes me… is that nothing is glaringly wrong. The cuffs are fashioned from exactly the right pillow ticking (which proved elusive even to Clothears), dyed yellow. Nice, rich, red tartan/plaid, with deep maroon cross threads (no sign of the conspicuous green threads present in Clothears’ red plaid fabric, which looked okay in certain lights, but which would occasionally catch the light/camera-flash in a way that just didn’t ring true to the original coat).

The multi-check fabric on the collar exudes all the subtle and subdued hues seen in the originals without any hint of the vivid, over-saturated blues and greens seen in the Clothears version. Similarly the check pattern is scaled so accurately that the coloured squares are able to fall in exactly the same place as they do on the original. The primary yellow lapel is more authentic in being brighter and punchier than its Clothears counterpart, which, I believe – as with certain other fabrics used in their replica – they elected to hand-dye to the desired shade. Another casualty of their hand-dye approach was, I think, the peach felt which, in the aftermath of the rigours of the process, did appear rather fuzzy, leading Steve to liken the result to ‘mohair’ in his own review. Steve’s coloured melton fabrics, in contrast, are fuzz-free. To the side, we find the pockets edged with exactly the right braid/piping as per the originals. Clothears sourced a good match but it wasn’t exact and the colour was a little off too.

Turning to the back, we see the fiddle back seams perfectly represented, the bias-cut shoulder seam bowing; and the arched seam that runs to the top of the waist pleat tapering elegantly as it heads towards the small of the back. Neither of these subtle lines are so apparent in the Clothears coat.

The woven upper panel, though arguably lacking something of the peculiar ‘shiny’ (almost fluorescent) quality of certain fibres and threads seen in the original, nevertheless resembles it very closely indeed. To anyone who hadn’t seen the original up close, this would certainly appear identical. The patchwork appliqué strip that runs the centre of the vented skirt is also a convincing recreation of the original.

The distinctive lining is another small marvel. To their credit, Clothears also commissioned fabric for the lining but approached it in a very different way, with different cost implications and, inevitably, quite different results.

The lining in Steve’s coat is an impressive extra flourish, and really completes the sense that what you’re handling is almost interchangeable with an original coat, albeit brand new – and unlike the Clothears lining, doesn’t rustle as you move.

In conclusion - leaving aside the superior fabrics used – the real hallmark of Steve’s Sixth Doctor coat is in the superior craftsmanship and construction that underpins every panel and stitch. Arthur Davey - the tailor who made coat number 1 from Pat Godfrey’s design - would be proud.

The result is one that illustrates the difference between a costumier and a tailor; between a cosplay accessory (even an advanced one such as the Clothears coat) and a bona fide collector’s piece. Steve’s coat benefits not only from his training and experience but from the fact that – rather more than Clothears, I will hazard – he is himself a Doctor Who Fan. It shows.


This Cloth Ears coat has subsequently been sold on eBay for £731.24

6th Doctor Who Frock Coat

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Nor-con 2013 - cosplay fun

This weekend was the latest Nor-Con event in Norwich.

It’s only the fourth to be held, but its built quickly to a nice little one-day event. The have attracted some top names and this year it includes Colin Baker. I’m keen to meet him again so he can see my costume properly, since Motor Mouth was a very brief encounter.

For a UK-based event there is a pretty decent contingent of cosplayers who attend, and in a variety of costumes.

There were some great Star Wars costumes on show, partly as an olive branch after a bit of a altercation with a local rival club made national news.

There was a Klingon being kept in check by some Enterprise crew.
I did worry for the safety of that girl in the red tunic though...
There was a gang of super heroes on hand to save the day!

This Bender costume from Futurama was my personal favourite.

If you look closely this is Bender’s evil twin - and the beard was quick-release to become Bender!

As ever Doctor Who was well represented, with both a Dalek and TARDIS around for photo-ops.

I also hooked with a number of Doctor cosplayers, notably as the Second Doctor, with the Seventh and Sarah Jane Smith; the Eighth Doctor from the Big Finish Dark Eyes; the Fifth Doctor; and the Eleventh Doctor in a smart frock coat.

I also met some young cosplayers as Captain Jack, Rose Tyler and the Tenth Doctor.

There was also some fun cosplay, with Scaroth and Romana from City Of Death; a couple of femme TARDISs; and some femme Doctors.

There was a really cool robot from Lost In Space. It was computer controlled and spoke lots of classic catch phrases, as well as a few of his own.

It was also nice to see some less common cosplays, such as this Merlin.
A room was set aside for guest to do signing sessions, and it was nice to see Sophie Aldred.

I also got to meet Lee Sullivan, who does some great comic strip and illustration work, but more on that another day.