Doctor Who: Interview With Costume Designer Ray Holman |

© 2010, BBC 9 Apr ’10

Here is a real treat for Doctor Who fans, plus anyone craving a revival of the bow tie. Costume designer for the new series, Ray Holman, chats exclusively to Clothes on Film about dressing Matt Smith in the part. He has even given us a character sketch.

Clothes on Film, Chris: Can you talk us through the new Doctor’s look?

Ray Holman: The Doctor wears tan top lace-up ankle boots, skinny houndstooth trousers with the bottoms rolled up to sit at the top of the boots, and braces. A cranberry coloured squiggly pattern slim-cut shirt with striped cuffs and a soft collar, a small bow tie, a tweed jacket which has elbow patches, leather buttons with about five hidden pockets.

He is a mixture of professor and student; he is still learning yet is an authority on many, many things (Ray’s own character sketch below).

COF: Are you aiming to revive the bow tie..?

RH: The bow tie has already been revived because the Doctor wears it. But really it never went away. He thinks it’s cool, but many people think the opposite.

COF: Was there a conscious effort to get away from David Tennant’s ‘indie geek’ style?

RH: When we searched for the eleventh Doctor’s costume we wanted something new that suited Matt Smith. We have a duty not to repeat any ideas from any of the previous Doctor’s costumes, but we also didn’t discount any ideas that popped up during the fittings.

COF: How important is costume to the part of the Doctor, particularly in regards to how fans accept him?

RH: The costume is always seen by the fans before they have watched the finished scripts, so it is the first clue about the kind of Doctor they are about to get. In that respect the costume is very important. Ultimately, the costume is a collection of clothes and the real charm of the Doctor is in the character. Each Doctor is different and therefore his clothes are an extension of his personality.

COF: What was your thinking with the Doctor’s new female companion?

RH: Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan) is independent, she has been let down and she was working as a Kissogram. She can wear whatever she likes but the clue is in the fact that she is an individual, she can think for herself and she knows what suits her and what she feels good in.


COF: How much does the choice of actor in a part affect how you costume their character?

RH: The choice of actor is extremely important to the character portrayed and the costume is the thing you identify them by. If you are looking for either Amy or The Doctor on screen you will always know them through their silhouette without them even speaking. For example, shoes are really important because they determine the way a character walks.

Hopefully though, the actor will always prevail above the costume and the costume will simply enhance the character qualities the actor brings to the screen.

COF: Any noteworthy costumed villains to look out for during the new series?

RH: We have, Smilers and Winders, Rosanna and the House of Calvierri, The Silurians, The Dreamlord and a few surprises in the finale… They are my favourites for this series.

BAFTA winner Ray Holman also worked as costume designer on Torchwood (2006-09), paranormal thriller series Sea of Souls (2004-06) and many others. You can enjoy his invaluable; some might say defining contribution to this Doctor Who throughout the show’s thirteen episode run every Saturday evening on BBC1. Bow tie optional, though preferred.

With thanks to Ray Holman. Images courtesy of the BBC.

© 2010 – 2012, Chris Laverty.