These echoes of the eighties are coming with increasing speed these days. And while those with an eye to history know this isn’t necessarily a good thing, for this conversation it’s more of an interesting trifle.
For the last Season of the classic series in 1989 Sylvester McCoy ditched the light tan jacket he wore for his first two seasons for a dark brown jacket for his last. At the time much was made that this presaged a darker, more manipulative, turn for the 7th Doctor in his final outings, and it’s generally agreed that Season 26 was his most consistent of his run.
It was a minor cosmetic change, and it looks like we’re in for another one in ‘Once, Upon Time’ with Jodie Whittaker. Strange thing is, for a show which at its core is all about change from time to time, once a Doctor’s basic silhouette has been established early in that Doctors era, it almost never changes from that point forward. Jon Pertwee changed jackets (and outer coats) with almost every story but had a very recognizable look. Tom Baker started with a shorter coat but quickly went longer starting with Pyramids of Mars, had his own variations on that theme, but stayed that way until the red-shirt for his last season. Peter Davison’s look didn’t vary at all until his cricketeering sweater gained an extra stripe during his final season. Colin Baker changed vests and cat-pins but otherwise looked the same.
In Nu-Who Christopher Eccleston swapped out jumpers but otherwise had a rock solid look. David Tennant occasionally went without a tie but otherwise differences in shoes were about as far he went. Matt Smith on the other hand changed jacket shapes and colors (remember the dalliance with the pea-coat look) but the over-grown ivy-league look stayed until, like Tom Baker, his outer vestments went longer. And as for Capaldi, aside from a knowing wink to a faux-velveteen throwback to Pertwee in his later stories, the most important part of his look was the evolution of his hair, with became increasingly floof-ty as time went along.
Whittaker has subtlety changed her stripe-y shirt from story to story but now comes the dark jacket. Could it be the pivot point for a darker turn as foretold back in 1989, or could it be as simple as her jacket is reversible and has been turned inside-out.
The world needs to know.