Monday, 24 November 2014

Ultimate Six Frock Coat -
restocking the special fabrics

Over the past few months I have been very busy restocking on a number of bespoke woven fabrics needed to make my Ultimate Sixth Doctor costume.

These are a mix of specially knitted, hand woven and industrial loom woven fabric and represent the most screen accurate reproductions made to date.

I’m always tweaking and doing my best to improve the fabrics I use when the opportunity arises to make revisions to get them even closer to screen used.

Now, you’ll be forgiven from thinking I’m off my rocker with my latest batch of tartan for the frock coat. The colour looks WAY off!

I had heard that the tartan used had been over-dyed before use, but without knowing what the original colour was before dyeing it would be near impossible to recreate truly accurately.

But after doing some research, I came across an original preliminary sketch by costume designer Pat Godfrey.

It reveals the idea was to use less intense colours, including trousers in a subtle green, and a frock coat with fewer colours used.
The lapels match, rather than being of different fabrics and if you look closely you can see it uses a tartan in a baby pink colour.

A large swatch of the tartan is attached, and you can see not only the colour it was, but you can see much more distinction between the yarns used to make the darker stripes of the weave.

My guess is the fabric was bought ready to be made up into the coat, but a change of heart lead it to being over-dyed to a revised colour scheme rather than waste the material.

So, what I have done is re-pick my colours to match this swatch, with the intention to over-dye it JUST like it was done back in 1984.

The result has been well worth the effort, with a much better match to the original coat, including the black stripes being polluted with the red dye - something that was apparent on the screen-worn coat. The broad stripes also have been improved.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Ultimate Six full-fat knitted waistcoat

I thought I’d share with you something I don’t make that often - actually this is the first time!

I’ve done a few of the season 22 knitted waistcoat, but each time I have produced them with either a plain silk back, or using the specially commissioned lining as seen in the Ultimate Six Frock Coat.

These are done for practical as well budget reasons - wearing a version with a knitted back is like wearing a skin-tight pull over underneath the frock coat and in full summer heat it will be unbearably hot!

However, a current client has asked for what I would call the full-fat version - knitted fronts; knitted back AND tails!

The tails are lined with the same lining as in the Frock Coat, so with the work I have done this is truly the most screen accurate replica ever made.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

SCREEN WORN Cyberscout
costume on eBay

This month on eBay I found a screen-worn Cyberscout costume as used in Attack Of The Cybermen.

It was purchased in as found condition and has ben restored to make it look a lot more like it appeared in the episode. Nice work.

Attack Of The Cybermen
Black Cyberscout costume
Items like this just do not come along very often! The Cyberscout! Due to a mega life-change (returning to full-time education in my forties and leaving my full-time teaching job---gulp!!!), I have made the painful decision to sell a few of my most prized Doctor Who original props to help with the transition. Up for auction is a serious opportunity…the surviving, original ‘Cyberscout’ screen-used costume from the 1985 story ‘Attack of the Cybermen’. What makes this particular costume so special and truly unique, is that it is one of only two ‘Cyberscout’ costumes made and the only one surviving (the other was the ‘stunt’ version that was cut up for pyrotechnic work in the sewer scenes). Read on for details… and please check out the images which illustrate the description below.

Monday, 2 June 2014

DWAS Myth Makers convention -
the Sixth Doctor connection

This weekend I had a great day out today at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

The studios are part of the history and folklore of Doctor Who, having been where The Daleks invaded Earth in 1964, and a couple of years later where William Hartnell regenerated into Patrick Troughton.

In fact the iconic scene of Dalek emerging from the Thames was filmed only yards from the studios, by Hammersmith Bridge!

Sadly the studios, currently used for Weekend Kitchen, are due to be demolished later this year, leaving only a fraction of the site still standing.

The event was organised by DWAS - The Doctor Who Appreciation Society - and was a lot more low key compared to a majority of the glossy events that are staged these days.

Don’t get me wrong - I PREFERRED this to the glossy events as it was a lot more intimate, you you got see every part of the days events and damn it, they kept to their published timetable.

The spin on the day was the production side and how the behind the scenes events shaped what we saw on screen, with a heavy bias towards the classic rather than new series.

We kicked off with a one-on-one interview with Philip Hinchcliffe, who produced the first three years of Tom Baker’s era.

Philip’s interview was very insightful and interesting, as he had taken over from Barry Letts to launch the Tom Baker era. Much of his first season had already been planned out for him, with the inclusion of crowd pleasing foes such as Sontarans, Cybermen and of course the Daleks.

Since Philip was only involved with the Fourth Doctor era, you can read more about his interview here:
The Fourth Doctor Connection

Next we had a double act in the form of Derrick Sherwin and Terrance Dicks, who had been consecutive script editors spanning the latter days of Patrick Troughton and the whole of the Jon Pertwee eras. Terrance also wrote for the Tom baker era too.

Since Derrick and Terrance was only involved with Doctor Who in the 1960s and 1970s, you can read more about his interview here:
The Fourth Doctor Connection

We then had a break to get the first of the autographs and photo opportunities.

I took along a River Song diary I now use for autographs, and found that there was 'no limit' on the number of items you could get signed, so long as it was within reason.
So I got Philip as well as visual effects expert Mike Tucker, composer Dominic Glynn, and script editor Andrew Cartmel.

I also grabbed a quick - and it was quick - photo op with firstly Graeme Harper, then with Terrance and Derrick together.

There was minimal queuing; the photo was printed in the time it took to pay for it; and they had emailed the digital copy I asked for within minutes (and it was the photo of me, not someone else!). The photo was frankly better quality than at many glossy events, including the official 50th celebration.

It was then back into the viewing theatre for the next one-on-one interview, with director Graeme Harper.

Graeme gave an absorbing interview about his time not only on the classic series, directing Peter Davision in Caves Of Androzani and Colin Baker in Revelation Of The Daleks, but also working on the new series where is helmed the return of the Cybermen in series two.

He contrasted the production methods between the two, and you quickly became aware of the way how the episodes were made shaped how they appeared on screen.

On classic Who they had minimal time in the studio where they recorded each episode “as live” with multiple cameras during a two-hour recording slot. To achieve this the actors rehearsed extensively and the production crew planned every single camera cut before going into the studio.

Today, there is a big tone meeting and read through after which two weeks are allowed for filming using a single camera with no prior rehearsal - everything happens on set under the watchful eye of the director.

As the director of the fan’s favourite episode (as announced in Doctor Who Magazine), Graeme was also the recipient of a DWAS award.

MIKE TUCKER interview
Next up was special effects guru Mike Tucker, who is one of a select few who has worked on both the classic and new series.

Since Mike was principally involved with the Seventh Doctor era, you can read more about his interview here:
The Seventh Doctor Connection

Then it was time for another break, during which I got Terrance’s autograph on my photo with him; as well as Graeme's on his photo with me and in my River Song diary.

I also had the chance to get a new photo with Colin Baker, who admired my Matt Smith costume.

Colin seems to know me pretty well now, as he pipped up, “Here comes the tailor!” when I stepped up for the shot.

Back in the viewing theatre we were treated to a double act of Dominic Glynn and Andrew Cartmel who sparked well off each other.

Both had been relatively young when they worked on Doctor Who, and they had similar stories of unsolicited approaches to JNT to get their jobs.

Dominic sent a demo tape to JNT, which seemed to land on his desk at just the right time. After a chat and a meeting he was hired and was writing music for Doctor Who.

Similarly Andrew managed to get a meeting with JNT and was also hired with seemingly little effort.

Both were pretty much left to do their jobs with minimal interference from JNT. He did put his foot down once in a while, but was happier to nurture talent and let it bloom.

The final interview of the day was with Colin Baker, who was on good form.

COLIN BAKER interview
He talked at length about his pre and post Doctor Who fame and looked back on his time with sometimes mixed emotions.

The audience wanted to hear about the making of The Five(ish) Doctors and how it came about. Colin did inadvertently let slip that a new all-signing all-dancing DVD of Day Of The Doctor was due out, and the film would feature as an extra on the set.

With the main programme over, it just remained to get Nicholas Briggs to scribble in my River Song diary and for Colin to sign the photo I had with him, as well as two shots from meeting him in LA earlier this year at Gallifrey One.

This was the first DWAS event I have actually been to, and I must say it was very well planned and executed.

Friday, 28 February 2014

GENUINE 6th Doctor items on eBay!

This item was original in a Bonhams auction back in 1991, lot 106.

The original lot consisted on a dozen costumes, with masks included.

I’m not sure how much that lot sold for, but this single gown did pretty well.

surgical gown

An original Dr Who costume from the 1986 episode ‘Mindwarp’.

I bought it in 1992 from John Fitton Books and Magazines but I think it was originally part of lot 106 from the 1992 Bonhams auction, which I was lucky enough to attend.

I do not have the surgical mask and I don’t know if this one was actually worn by Colin Baker.
You will receive:- Mindwarp medical gown-Bonhams catalogue and bidding card-John Fitton Books and Magazines catalogue-John Fitton invoice.

Guard overall
An original screen used guard costume from the 6th Doctor (Colin Baker) Doctor Who story: Timelash (originally broadcast March 1985).

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

For the love of Six

The Sixth Doctor’s costume is undoubtedly the most divisive of all the looks he has worn in the last 50 years.

That said, there is still a lot of love for the multi-coloured, eye-bleeding ensemble, and various people skilled in Photoshop are keen to share it around.

 I came across this on Facebook one day, and it made me smile how the colours of the original costume had been applied to Matt’s outfit.

Not to be out-done, the fans of Nine have also taken on board the colour scheme of the classic series Doctor, creating this fetching leather version.

It’s nice that the leather has just had the colour applied and no pattern (such as the check or the tartan) have been included.

And even the latest appearance of the Eight Doctor in Night Of The Doctor hasn’t escaped the application of a bit of colour.

I particularly like how the gaiters become the spats and the shirt cuff sort of become the yellow coat cuffs.

Credit goes to all those un-named creative Who fans for making these fun images

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Gallifrey One 2014 - meeting The Doctor

Since making my Ultimate Six Frock Coat I have met Colin Baker twice in my costume: briefly at Motor Mouth and again at more length at Nor-Con.

Colin was forgiven for thinking I was wearing a Cloth Ears coat, as he wasn’t aware of the work I was doing.

But this time at Gallifrey One Colin not only remembered my coat - he remembered my name!

I had two photoshoots with Colin: one on my own; and one with a client of mine who wanted me in the photo too.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Gallifrey One 2014 -
Advanced Tailoring Techniques

Last year when I attend Gallifrey One in Los Angeles, I presented a solo panel in which I discussed and showed some of my more challenging tailoring projects.

Due to popular demand, I have been asked to do a similar panel again this year.
The premininary schedule is now out and I am down to present my panel at 4pm on Sunday 16th February 2014.

The main drive of what I shall be presenting will be British Tailoring and the art of the Frock Coat.

I have been making a lot of Frock Coats one way or another over the past 18 month so I’ve gain a lot of experience.

All of the coats have their roots in the classic Edwardian design despite their differing appearances.

I hope if you are coming to Gallifrey One you’ll come alone and join the audience - there will be Jammie Dodgers.....

If you can’t make it, or just want a good idea of what I’ll be talking about, here is a video of my panel from last year.

If you a specific topic you’d like me to discuss at my panel, please mail me at 
with your suggestion.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Doctor Who Celebration -
costume exhibition

This weekend’s Doctor Who Celebration has been a feast for the eyes for fans.

As well as catering for those who have come to Who through the relaunch series, there has been a good nod to the history of the show with a wide variety of guests and an extensive exhibition of costumes culled from Cardiff’s Doctor Who Experience.

They had a near complete set of Doctor’s costumes on show (missing was the Eighth and War Doctors) arranged in a circle around Bessie.

The Sixth Doctor costume on show was straight out of the Experience, though the cravat, shirt and waistcoat looked like they were from an eBay fancy dress outfit!

The Sixth Doctor eras was sparsely represented at the exhibition. Amongst the display of Time Lord robes spanning three decades of appearances, was the Valeyard and Keeper of the matrix costumes from the Trial Of A Time Lord season.

If you want to see the costumes for the other Doctors at the exhibition, click the links below

Third Doctor          Fourth Doctor