After 14 years, he gets a make over. And it’s about time. Or is it?
Over the last few days, I’ve read comments about the “new costume” that Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor has been given for some reason. With a bit of searching to find out what the hell all this was about, here is the story from Gallifrey Base with (slightly blurry) images from John Preddle.
Paul McGann is currently in New Zealand, a guest at the Armageddon Pop Culture Expo (Auckland, New Zealand) this weekend. On Saturday he appeared on a panel and revealed what is to be the ‘new’ costume for the Eighth Doctor.
The costume consists of a double-breasted black Naval jacket, with gold buttons. Part of the ensemble is a courier pouch bag. However, the shirt and trousers were actually McGann’s own and not part of the costume.
Also revealed is a new sonic screwdriver, courtesy of Weta Workshop, the wizards behind the effects on The Lord of the Rings. The screwdriver is similar to the one used by the current Doctor, Matt Smith, but has a wooden handle.
The revision comes some fourteen years since the original Eighth Doctor image was established for the 1996 TV Movie; this is now felt to be a little out of date and the new costume – still a work in progress – is said to be used for future promotional purposes.
No other information in known at present, but it is believed to have the blessing of the BBC.
Right then. First off the article fails to mention who exactly this change was done by. Well with a bit of reading around, it turns out that it’s the people behind the licensed Doctor Who audio adventures, Big Finish. That’s okay then because when it comes to WHO, I’m a bit of a purist; if it’s not been broadcast on BBC1 then it doesn’t count, so with this in mind, I just couldn’t give two hoots about this, but I do think it’s worthy of comment.
I can understand why this has taken place though, Big Finish have been producing audio plays for years featuring the Eighth Doctor and I bet they’re really bored with using the same small handful of images taken during the making of the TV Movie back in 1996. I mean there’s only so many times you can use those images on the covers of the CD’s before things start to look a bit samey… I think this is why the official Doctor Who magazine stopped using them around a decade ago!
Another good reason for doing this is actually mentioned in the article, that after all these years they felt it was about time to refresh his image – yeah, sure it is, but please, don’t use that as your excuse when we know what the real reason actually is; my previously mentioned lack of different (or new) reference material. If it were me doing this change, I’d have kept the look more in keeping with the character of that particular Doctor, not turn him into some pseudo-looking Indiana Jones figure… or a funky postman. I mean, look at that bag! To say I’m not impressed would be about on the money. To me it just looks like a fan interpretation by someone who really digs the leather clad Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston.
And here’s my main bug-bear with the new costume. Could it be the leather jacket, the rubbish bag? No. It’s this (again quite blurry):
His new Sonic Screwdriver.
Thing is, the fact that it’s been built by the bods at the Weta Workshop (the people behind the props of the Lord of the Rings movies) has been much-lauded about the place as if that would make it something a bit special and something to be revered. Well, frankly it looks dreadful, not just in terms of the design, but the build quality too.
Honestly, if you hadn’t told me that Weta had built this, I’d have said Big Finish got a kid to make it from bits of crap that he found in his Dad’s “That’ll come in useful one day” drawer. Seriously, it looks like a ten minute assembly job from found items – and that large christmas tree style bulb in the end really does seal the tacky look to this piece of object d’art.
I’m not going to sit here and moan about any of this as I said, to be honest I just don’t care – it’s not even real (to me anyway) Doctor Who, it’s just a spin off and not even in the proper medium to boot. I’m sure the Big Finish fans will love it though. By the way, I’m not trying to talk down Big Finish’s efforts, I’m sure they’re greatly improved these days, but simply, their output is just not my cup of tea.
Over and out.