08.05.2024 - Showbiz

The Most Popular Modern Doctor Who Costume Revealed

After celebrating 60 years of Doctor Who with three special episodes, the beloved show will soon embark on a brand-new era. The longest-running sci-fi TV series is officially back under the reigns of acclaimed writer Russell T Davies and has a much bigger budget thanks to Disney’s recent involvement. Of course, Doctor Who also has a new lead, with Ncuti Gatwa starring as the Fifteenth Doctor.

Before the show fully regenerates, we decided to look back at all modern Doctors to determine once and for all who has the best costume. With a stylish roster of coats, suits, wristwatches and obviously sonic screwdrivers, it’s no surprise fans are eager to cosplay the many incarnations of Doctor Who.

In this blog post, we’ll determine which era has the most popular look by comparing the search volume for each actor’s Time Lord costume since 2005. However, to avoid confusion, we aren’t diving too far into the ‘wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff’ of Doctors outside the numbered line-up, such as the War Doctor or The Fugitive Doctor.

Continue reading to find who is the most fashionable Modern Doctor and the core elements you need to dress just like them!

7) Christopher Eccleston – Ninth Doctor

It’s probably not much of a surprise for Doctor Who fans that the Ninth Doctor’s attire placed last, with 1,160 monthly average online searches for his costume. The all-black ensemble featuring a v-neck t-shirt, trousers and boots isn’t the most inspiring look. However, this was kind of the point for this period of the show.

After a long break, Doctor Who returned in 2005 at the helm of showrunner Russell T Davies. The Time Lord’s more down-to-earth aesthetic was a departure from the Classic Who looks, representing a darker, stripped-back but more accessible Doctor. Christopher Eccleston also explained he didn’t want the costume to overshadow his performance.

Although the entire outfit isn’t showstopping, the leather jacket definitely stands out and has since become a signature of Eccleston’s era. The double-breasted leather peacoat with a lapel collar is a must-have for cosplaying Nine. The Time Lord’s wristwatch is also a notable element of his costume, which appears to be a classic black Cartier Tank watch. Of course, the sonic screwdriver, which was far more modern than was seen previously, is a staple.

The Ninth Doctor’s tenure was FANTASTIC but short-lived, with just one series of on-screen adventures through space and time. Yet, he certainly left an impression with his highest-rated episode, The Doctor Dances, earning a 9/10 on IMDB. Eccleston has also gained 167K Instagram followers over the years, showing his cult fandom.

6) Ncuti Gatwa – Fifteenth Doctor

Despite barely beginning his time on the hit series, Ncuti Gatwa’s costumes are already gaining online traction, with around 1,500 monthly searches. His debut starring series is yet to launch, but the BBC has released several photos displaying his many stylish outfits that seem to have subtle nods to past Doctors.

Unlike some Time Lords who consistently wore the same costume, Fifteen will apparently change his getup each episode. So, there is plenty of choice for fans hoping to cosplay  Gatwa’s Doctor, including a 1970s-style blue pin-striped suit, a velvet aristocratic look, and a checked suit paired with an orange jumper.

A brown leather coat is seemingly the most popular among fans, gaining more online searches than other featuring elements. Fifteen doesn’t appear to wear a watch, but he does accessorise with silver and gold necklaces and rings amounting to £2,145!

Considering Gatwa has only featured in one episode of Doctor Who so far, and not all outfits have been revealed, his looks will likely become more sought-after. The actor is already the most popular online of the modern Doctors, with 2.8 million Instagram followers. The online reveal of Gatwa in his full costume also received a whopping 41,000 likes!

5) Jodie Whittaker – Thirteenth Doctor

The first female Doctor Who has the fifth most popular costume, with nearly 2,000 online monthly searches around her look. The grey raincoat, rainbow-striped t-shirt, blue trousers, brown boots, striped socks and yellow suspenders make for a fun but more casual look than her predecessors. However, perhaps the accessibility of these items is what draws fans of Jodie Whittaker’s era to recreate the costume, along with its cheerfulness.

Thirteen also wore a unique silver and gold Ear Cuff and stud earring set representing the Galaxy and the Time Lord’s beloved companions, which was specifically made for the show and became available to fans from the jeweller Alex Monroe.

The Thirteenth Doctor era — from 2017 to 2022 — was the shortest since the Ninth Doctor, with just 32 episodes. Of all the modern Doctor’s top-rated episodes, Thirteen’s is the lowest, with “Flux: Chapter Four” gaining just 7.7/10. However, Whittaker certainly made history being the first female Doctor, and will no doubt inspire many fans to recreate her signature look.

4) Matt Smith – Eleventh Doctor

The Eleventh Doctor marked a new era for the series, with Steven Moffat taking on the role of showrunner following Russell T Davies. While Eleven had big Converse shoes to fill after the end of David Tennant’s legacy, he soon became a favourite among many fans.

Eleven’s costumes changed through his run, mirroring his emotional story arc, but often featured waistcoats, sports jackets, fez hats and, famously, bowties. Matt Smith may have been the youngest actor to play the Doctor, but his costumes represented his iteration’s old soul.

Paul Hudson – Doctor Who 50th Celebration – Matt Smith’s Bow tie – Flickr

The Eleventh Doctor also seemed to raid the Tardis’ watch collection. Within his 46-episode run, Matt Smith’s Time Lord donned a vintage gold Sekonda watch, a silver watch with an Excalibur wristband, a chained pocket watch and a gold Buler watch. Like medical Doctors, the Time Lord tended to wear his watches backwards.

With around 3,300 monthly searches for the Eleventh Doctor’s costume, fans have plenty of choice for cosplaying this eccentric version. After the sonic screwdriver, the fez hats get the most interest!

3) Peter Capaldi – Twelfth Doctor

The Twelfth Doctor had several looks from 2014 to 2017, but his first official costume was a dark blue Crombie coat with striking red lining, dark blue trousers, a white shirt and black Doc Martens. The Doctor himself Peter Capaldi described the costume as, “No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord.”

Priya Deonarain – SAM_1498 – Flickr

The Time Lord later swapped the blue coat for an impressive red velvet coat. He also opted for a more laid-back attire with hoodies, t-shirts, checked trousers and black (sonic) sunglasses. Overall, online searches for the Twelfth Doctor’s costume total around 3,500 per month!

An aspect that definitely makes Twelve’s ensemble stand out for cosplayers is the electric guitar! When challenged to an ‘axe fight’ in “The Magician’s Apprentice” episode, Twelve unveiled an unexpected musical talent that unofficially crowned him as the punk rocker Doctor!

Capaldi’s Time Lord also wears an ‘invisibility watch’, which resembles a silver digital watch with a red screen, and allows the wearer to vanish from view. The Hamilton Watch American Classic PSR Digital Quartz is a close replica but, sadly, without the invisibility power. Yet, it’s his blue flashy sonic screwdriver that gets the most attention online.

2) David Tennant – Tenth Doctor

David Tennant’s turn as the Tenth Doctor has remained a firm favourite for numerous Doctor Who stans. The charismatic Time Lord who won our hearts in 2005 sported a geek-chic aesthetic which many cosplayers are still eager to recreate.

This Tenth Doctor’s wardrobe prominently consisted of a brown suit with a blue pinstripe pattern and a blue suit with brown pinstripes. He also wore a light brown trench coat, cream and red Converse shoes, dress shirts, patterned ties, and occasionally, tortoiseshell rectangular glasses.

ckl – DTennantCostume – Flickr [photo edited]

Ten was the most prolific modern Doctor, starring in 49 episodes, with the infamous TV story “Blink” earning 9.8/10 on IMDB — the highest rated of all new-era Doctors. The Christmas special featuring Kylie Minogue, “Voyage of the Damned” also has the highest viewing figures from the revival era, with 13.31 million.

Part of this popularity is undeniably down to Tennant’s star power, as he’s the most awarded actor of the modern Doctors, and runner-up in having the most Instagram followers. It’s unknown whether Tennant’s Tenth Doctor will ever return to the screen again, but his legacy and costumes will live on! Allons-y!

1) David Tennant – Fourteenth Doctor

Yes, David Tennant gets two mentions on the list! Considering the acclaimed actor’s lasting legacy in the Whoniverse, it seems the only person who could compete with Tennant was himself.

Tennant’s comeback in 2023 was a jaw-dropping moment, but he wasn’t returning exactly the same. He was now the Fourteenth Doctor — he looked like the Tenth Doctor but was ‘slightly more human’, and therefore his attire had an upgrade. Tennant made his grand return in a dark blue tweed coat, a custom checked wool three-piece suit, and his signature Chuck Taylor All-Star Hi 70 Converse. While his ensemble is clearly inspired by the Tenth Doctor’s, it’s much more elevated.

The look was finished with tortoiseshell glasses, mismatched socks, a grey knitted tie and a white dress shirt. While Fourteen didn’t wear a watch, superfans could recreate the look as featured in a Red Nose Day sketch that included an Apple Watch.

The costume has quickly gained momentum online, with a staggering 12,640 monthly searches on average, despite only being officially announced in October 2022! Like many Doctor Who outfits, the coat and suit have become more popular, but the sleek new and improved sonic screwdriver garnered the most attention.

So, what did you think of our ranking? Do you agree? Do any costumes deserve more love? This list is certainly not definitive, as who knows if any previous Doctors will make surprise cameos in the new series revealing different costumes? However, in the meantime, we’re excited to see Ncuti Gatwa’s full array of looks as he adventures through time and space.