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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 52: Costume Design > The 1970s

The 1970s

The eras of the Third and Fourth Doctors were partly inspired by the best of British fashion, while benefitting from some of the series’ most distinguished in-house designers.

In 1970, the narrative springboard for Doctor Who represented arguably the most complete reinvention the series ever had, with the Doctor’s imprisonment by the Time Lords in late 20th-century Britain not only bringing a temporary end to his wanderings in time and space but also entailing his affiliation with UNIT.

Amidst all this came the arrival of a dashing new Doctor, Jon Pertwee, and – hardly less momentous for contemporary audiences – the move from black and white into colour. (It’s worth remembering, however, that in the early 1970s colour television receivers were far from ubiquitous in the country’s licence-paying households, meaning that designers also had to bear in mind how their work would come across to viewers still watching in monochrome.) Finally, Doctor Who moved from being produced and screened all year round to the six-months-a-year schedule it was to maintain until the mid-1980s.

Yet these seismic shifts weren’t matched by any radical transformation in the show’s approach to costume. Jon Pertwee’s first series as the Doctor was, in design terms, pretty much all of a piece with Patrick Troughton’s last, and it was only over the course of the next two years that a distinctive new aesthetic, centred on the new star, began to emerge. Apart from the Carnaby Street-flavoured Victoriana of Pertwee’s outfit, and the ‘Space Age’ dress of his first female counterpart, Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Caroline John), costume continued to be austere and simplified when it wasn’t merely contemporary street dress.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Few television programmes make the same production demands as Doctor Who. With such diverse settings as distant points in Earth’s history and alien civilisations in the far future, the series has always stretched the ingenuity – and resources – of its talented costume designers. This unprecedented magazine features numerous rare and previously unpublished illustrations showing how the look of a Doctor Who episode evolves from sketch to screen, plus exclusive interviews with many of those designers including: • Alexandra Tynan (costume designer in the 1960s who created the look of the Cybermen) • Barbara Lane (the designer of Azal, Alpha Centauri, the Axons and more – this is her first interview in over 40 years) • Lee Bender (designer and owner of Bus Stop, a boutique which supplied outfits for Sarah Jane Smith) • June Hudson (designer of the Fourth Doctor’s final outfit and many elegant costumes for Romana) • Colin Lavers (designer of the Fifth Doctor’s costume) • Amy Roberts (designer of Anthony Ainley’s Master) • Lucinda Wright (designer of Christopher Eccleston’s series as the Ninth Doctor) • Howard Burden (designer of the Twelfth Doctor’s costume) • Ray Holman (designer of the Eleventh and Thirteenth Doctor’s costumes, and Doctor Who’s current costume designer) Plus, the stars who wore the designers’ creations in Doctor Who look back at their characters’ clothes: • Anneke Wills (Polly) • Katy Manning (Jo Grant) • Sophie Aldred (Ace) • Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler) • Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint)