You might be forgiven for thinking you know all there is to know about Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who costume. After all, the actor has talked at length about the inspiration behind the Doctor's new look, which comprises a rainbow-striped T-shirt, blue culottes, practical boots, yellow braces, and a standout pastel blue mac (pale blue exterior for the colour of the sky, dark blue interior for the colour of space). Speaking about her costume in the Radio Times earlier this month, however, Whittaker hinted at a hidden meaning to the ensemble that she wasn't yet able to reveal. Now, in a new video on the Doctor Who YouTube channel, the actor unpacks the deeper significance of her costume — and it turns out there's a major feminist statement quite literally sewn into her coat.
In the video, Whittaker discusses the journey to the Thirteenth Doctor's costume with designer Ray Holman, who Whittaker previously worked with on Broadchurch. "I'm a huge fan of his but I also have a fantastic relationship with him," the actor says. The new Doctor rolls up her sleeves to reveal violet lining — "an amazing Ray addition," Whittaker says.
"Violet and green were the colours of the suffragettes," Holman explains. "I said to Jodie, "Can I put violet in the sleeves?" and she let me." ("And it’s brilliant!" Whittaker adds.)
Another big reveal in the video: we finally get to see the elusive photo Whittaker found online which served as a significant reference point for her costume. "I found an old black-and-white image on Google that spoke to me," she told the Radio Times. "It's of a woman walking with purpose in crop trousers, boots, braces, and a T-shirt, and she just looks so comfortable and non-gender specific — that was my style point."
Whittaker elaborates a little further in the new video on why the photo stood out to her. "It felt timeless, it felt intriguing, and kind of open to interpretation, and I really loved that," she says. "And it was neither male or female, which was really important to me."
Here's one more rather lovely detail about the Thirteenth Doctor's ensemble: the earrings. In her left ear, Whittaker wears two earrings connected by a silver chain: a cluster of stars at the top, and two clasped hands in the lobe. "My opening moment for the character at the end of the Christmas special is that I fall through the sky," Whittaker says. "There’s a whole journey of stars and hands in the earring. So there’s silver stars there which is essentially where I’ve come from, obviously, I’ve come from space. And the chain is the journey, and the rose gold hand is humanity."
"We came to the conclusion that the Doctor loves humanity, loves life, and has a respect for everyone," Holman adds. "And so the sleeves, the earring, the feeling of it tied together."
Whittaker's verdict on the costume? "You nailed it, babes," she tells Holman, mid-hug. And personally, I'm strongly inclined to agree.