Third Doctor

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Third Doctor

The beloved Third Doctor, portrayed by Jon Pertwee, first appeared in 1969, following the regeneration of the Second Doctor. Although we never see the actual regeneration, Patrick Troughton’s final episode makes it clear that the Second Doctor

figure 1was told he could choose any form, that he hesitated and that, eventually (perhaps with some delay), he was given the form of the Third Doctor.

The Third Doctor ran for five seasons, which makes him, at present, the second longest running Doctor in terms of continuity. When we first meet him in Season Seven, it’s not a particularly glorious first impression: he stumbles out of the TARDIS, exhausted and somewhat out of his mind, and spends most of his first episode in the process of recuperating. Oddly enough, he is one of the few of the Doctor’s incarnations not to suffer regeneration amnesia, at least not immediately.

Eventually, he steals his first suit of proper clothes, which is how he adopts the style of clothing which, barring color changes and the occasional addition of a waistcoat, was to become standard.

This template is intended to allow you to build a Third Doctor costume as he appeared in Season 7. The same outfit was worn a handful of times in later seasons, but this was the season that this particular suit of clothes saw the heaviest use, so we’ll concentrate here.


  • Single breasted Velvet Smoking Jacket in Midnight Blue or Black
    The “Smoking Jacket” was designed during the Nineteenth Century to be worn by men during times of leisure. Ostensibly, it was created to be warm and easy to keep odor free.  Many European gentlemen enjoyed pipes or cigars (cigarettes were known, but generally considered to be in poor taste) and washing methods of the day could not often clean out the smell of tobacco, let alone spilled alcohol. The idea was that a gentleman retired to a special parlor, figure 2warmed by a fireplace, but kept cool by a draft, which, the idea went, kept the smells from building up in the garment.That’s the story, anyway. The truth is that by the Victorian era smoking had become unfashionable for some men, and that simply wearing a smoking jacket didn’t mark you out as a “smoker” – it merely meant you were a gentleman who had the time and money to afford a moment of leisure with the chaps.In the Third Doctor’s case, this was merely an eccentric choice (The Doctor never having been a smoker, so far as we know; and John Pertwee certainly was not, at least by this stage in his life.) The season seven smoking jacket appears to have been a single breasted velvet number, with a rolled collar (rather than a notched collar), hussar braids on the cuffs, and two hussar braid style frog closures with two buttons each. There were four buttons on each cuff, and they could be opened or closed – though this is somewhat unusual, as buttons on the cuffs of such jackets were very frequently ornamental.
    There is some debate as to the actual color of the coat. Some sources maintain that the coat worn in all season 7 episodes was Midnight Blue. Others maintain that the coat was black. I tend to believe that Mr. Pertwee actually had two different jackets, and that they were worn interchangeably (this was something very common in his later episodes, so the precedent is not unheard of.) You may choose either color for endorsement, so long as it features the rolled collar and the necessary trim.
    If you go with the Midnight Blue option, please remember: this is a very, very dark blue, almost Prussian Blue, in fact. Navy Blue simply won’t work.
  • White or Off-White Dress shirt with ruffled cuffs and chest lace, conservative cut lapels.
    The Third Doctor’s shirt was a white or off-white dress shirt with conservative cut (read: small) lapels, a ruffled lace front, and lace cuffs. The shirt was a button up example – a zip front style was worn later in the series, but the distinction is fairly obvious upon close inspection. A good way to find these is to look at former rental shirts for tuxedos (ruffled shirts are out of style again, so there are several on the used and vintage market), or to have a look at certain “pirate,” “swashbuckler”, or “eighteenth century” style shirts. You are very likely to find something.  As seems to be very often the case with The Doctor, the buttons are not a highly contrasting color, and the collar itself has no buttons, which is just as well since most shirts of this style aren’t made that way.
  • Black Silk Cravat
    This appears to be a black silk cravat, but in at least one episode, it appears to be midnight blue. Black is the preferred option, but midnight blue is acceptable in a pinch. In many episodes, John wore this only partly tied or simply hanging to the sides.
  • Black pants
    In Season Seven, and indeed with many of his costumes, the Third Doctor wore a simple, comfortable pair of black trousers. Got a pair of utilitarian trousers for a Nine or a Master version 8.5? Yep, those’ll work fine here for that sort of thing. Comfort is emphasized here – dress trousers and slacks might be nice, but they won’t be particularly comfortable. You’re looking for something more along the lines of comfortably fitted pants like Dockers or some of the nicer pants made by companies like Quicksilver.It would appear from shots, such as those in Figure 3 from “Inferno”, that the Third Doctor wore suspenders. They appear to be button style braces with leather frogs. The color of the suspenders is unknown – we’d guess black or midnight blue. If you go with braces/suspenders, please choose the button on option; clip-on suspenders just don’t work for this era and this costume.
  • Black shoes (most likely Chelsea boots)
    Very simple. These are black, slip on boots, probably Chelsea’s or so-called “beetle boots.”


  • Pocket Handkerchief (White)
    The Third Doctor often wore a white pocket handkerchief during Season 7, though it isn’t always visible. It’s a nice touch. This would be worn in the breast pocket of the smoking jacket. Note Figure 1 – the promotional still for Season 7. Notice something? That’s right, the pocket hankie is RED silk. So, you are perfectly welcome to go with the red option if you prefer a bit more color.
  • Black Fedora
    On occasion, the Third Doctor wore a black fedora with this costume, as seen in Figure 1. This is a traditional, pre-WW2 style Fedora, made of black felted wool or cotton.  Vintage Fedoras are coming onto the market in large numbers these days, and their price is dropping, so this might be an option worth pursuing if you have a mind.
  • Black Inverness Cape with red lining
    The Third Doctor was fond of Inverness or “Opera” capes though they were not always worn. In Season Seven, his cape of choice was black, lined with a red fabric (probably silk.)
  • Grey/White Hair
    John Pertwee’s head of hair is somewhat famous. In Season 7, it was primarily grey, with flecks of blonde. By later seasons, it became white.
  • The occasional gadget
    The Third Doctor doesn’t appear to use his Sonic Screwdriver in Season Seven, but he does use a wide variety of gadgets, including a bizarre sort of automated garage door opener for the “Inferno” serial.
  • “Athena” pinky ring
    John Pertwee habitually wore a pinkie ring constructed from an Athenian coin depicting the Owl of Athena welded to a simple silver ring. It was collected during one of his hobbies: wreck diving, and became a favorite accessory. This is visible in most episodes when the Third Doctor isn’t wearing gloves, on the pinkie of the left hand. The additional rings also worn by Mr. Pertwee do not show up until later seasons. You can find Athena coin rings at reasonable prices, with enough looking.
  • Black leather gloves
    From the beginning, the Third Doctor often wore thin, black leather gloves. These look pretty darn cool, but be sure to get a thinner pair, such as those intended for use when driving. The thicker varieties can get uncomfortable with heat, particularly with indoor venues.