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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 540 > Made to Measure

Made to Measure

Costume designer Howard Burden recalls the outfits he created for Clara, the Twelfth Doctor and Missy.

If, as a viewer, you’re sometimes frustrated by the secrecy surrounding Doctor Who, you might want to try Howard Burden’s job.

Last issue, Howard recalled several occasions when key casting decisions were only shared with him at the eleventh hour, often leading to a time-crunch when building a costume. In the case of the Twelfth Doctor, Howard got the heads-up on the day of the much-hyped public announcement. The other major casting decision made during his tenure was just as surprising.

“We knew Amy and Rory were leaving, that their tenure was up,” he recalls. “Then one day I was watching breakfast television, and it was announced that Jenna Coleman, this new actress, was coming in, and I remember going into the office saying, ‘Well, maybe I should meet her or speak to her – maybe that would be good!’”

Like so many companions before her, Clara Oswald was to provide a bridge between the eras of two Doctors, Matt Smith’s Eleventh and Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth. For a while, Clara’s origins were perplexing, so one of Burden’s tasks was to make her feel as grounded as possible, counterbalancing the abstract, cerebral aspects of her ‘timey-wimey’ narrative arc and off setting the alien aloofness of Capaldi’s Doctor. “You’ve got to take into account she’s essentially a schoolteacher: she has a certain income, she has a certain lifestyle. So it was a matter of finding a wardrobe that would not only suit her, but would be appealing to an audience so they could actually feel, ‘Oh yes, this is the girl next door’ – to feel that she had a sort of friendly association.”

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswin Oswald in a costume Howard Burden designed for The Snowmen (2012).
Costume designer Howard Burden.
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About Doctor Who Magazine

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE CELEBRATES JON PERTWEE’S CENTENARY WITH 30 PAGES DEVOTED TO THE THIRD DOCTOR! This issue includes: • The World Cup of the Third Doctor. How did your favourite story fare in our epic Twitter tournament? • Lost for more than 40 years – a candid interview with Jon Pertwee from the very first Doctor Who convention in 1977. • An exclusive interview with Jon’s son, actor Sean Pertwee. • A previously unpublished interview with Barry Letts, who produced most of the Third Doctor’s stories and co-wrote classics like The Dæmons and The Green Death. • An exclusive update on the production of Series 12 from showrunner Chris Chibnall. • Katy Manning, who played the Third Doctor’s companion Jo Grant, visits the Time Team. • The second part of an interview with costume designer Howard Burden, who created outfits for the Twelfth Doctor, Clara and Missy. • The Fact of Fiction explores the Twelfth Doctor story Time Heist. • DWM’s review of the Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 10 Blu-ray box set. • The Legacy of Time – DWM talks exclusively to the cast and crew behind one of the most ambitious Doctor Who adventures ever, which features no fewer than six Doctors. • Part One of Power of the Mobox, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • The Blogs of Doom, audio reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!