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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 52: Costume Design > IN THE RED


In the 1970s Sarah Jane Smith enjoyed an eclectic wardrobe, with input not just from BBC designers but also from regular trips to a Kensington boutique owned by Lee Bender.

Sarah Jane Smith was created in 1973, partly as Doctor Who’s response to the burgeoning ‘Women’s Lib’ movement. James Acheson was the costume designer assigned to the character’s debut story, The Time Warrior (1973-74).

“Jim had found me a smart brown trouser suit, large-collared shirt and jumper,” recalled actress Elisabeth Sladen in her autobiography, adding that “it reflected the character – the strong feminist journalist. No dolly-bird outfits for Sarah Jane. Not yet, anyway.”

Designer Barbara Kidd reinforced Acheson’s tomboyish unisex look, choosing trousers, knee boots, a Fair Isle patterned jumper and black PVC bomber jacket for The Monster of Peladon (1974). It was then up to Leslie Rowland-Warne to bring a hint of glamour to Sarah Jane (1974) courtesy of a briefly glimpsed turquoise-patterned swimming costume – prior to defaulting to a no-nonsense brown two-piece suit.


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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 This unprecedented magazine features numerous rare and previously unpublished illustrations showing how the look of a Doctor Who episode evolves from sketch to screen, plus exclusive interviews with many of those designers including: •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)