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The Seventh Doctor’s Jumper

Is there more to cosplaying the Seventh Doctor than a question-mark jumper and an umbrella? DWM investigates…


Jamie Lenman wears his Dapol Seventh Doctor pullover with pride.
Photo © Jamie Lenman.

There tends to be a pretty standard dress code for weddings. If you’re one of the lucky people getting married, chances are you’ll end up in either a dazzling dress or a smartly cut suit. It’s incredibly rare for someone to say “I do” in a knitted yellow tank top decorated with zigzags and punctuation. Yet when I tied the knot in the blazing desert heat of Las Vegas some years ago, that’s exactly what I wore.

Quite possibly the second-most derided piece of costuming in the history of Doctor Who, the Seventh Doctor’s pullover is singularly iconic, whether you like or not. After five years of ‘cricket whites and clown costumes’, at first glance Sylvester McCoy’s getup seems comparatively sober. It’s an unassuming ensemble with a whiff of the 1930s about it, the kind of outfit you might possibly see someone wearing in the street and not really notice… until you clock the jumper.

By 1987, the question marks that producer John Nathan-Turner conceived as a visual motif for the Doctor had escaped the confines of his shirt collars to engulf his entire torso. Near the end of that year they were joined by a big shiny one on the end of his umbrella, just to hammer the point home. For some people, these totems symbolise the descent of their favourite programme into pantomime and, eventually, oblivion. But for others, usually folks born in the late 1970s and early 80s, they symbolise a warm, cosy time when the Doctor was an odd little man with secrets and a Scottish accent. I love that pullover and I love that umbrella. I’m not alone.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

• In his Production Notes showrunner Chris Chibnall recalls recording the Thirteenth Doctor's special reveal scene last July • 40 years on from his Doctor Who debut, we pay tribute to Douglas Adams, “the greatest writer ever to have turned his genius to Doctor Who” • A look at Douglas Adams' notebooks reveal more about his creative process • Peter Purves answers questions from DWM's TARDIS tin • A blast from the past as DWM investigats the Sky Ray ice lollies which were enjoyed by Doctor Who fans in the summers of 1967 and 68 • The story of IDW's distinctive range of Doctor Who comics in America • DWM chats to graphic designer Lee Binding about the packaging for the Season 12 Blu-ray box set • Part Five of The Clockwise War, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill • The Time Team tackles three of Doctor Who's most controversial and complained-about episodes • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2017 Twelfth Doctor story Empress of Mars • Seventh Doctor cosplay with Jamie Lenman • Previews, audio reviews, news, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!