Tuesday, 28 October 2014

City Of Death brooch -
PRE-ORDERS NOW OPEN!


I only posted news of my replica City Of Death brooch set earlier today, but I’ve had lots of emails already asking to buy them.

The sets are hand made by Susan Trevor, who made the ceramic cat brooch worn by Colin Baker, so have a genuine Doctor Who pedigree.
The brooches are £70 a set
(Inclusive of global shipping).
I am taking orders now,
for shipping late November
tennantcoat@me.com

City Of Death - artist’s palette brooch set

Something exciting came in the post today.

After making my City Of Death style frock coat, I’ve been after a really good replica of the Artist’s Palette brooch worn in the episode.
I had seen a few replicas around, but none had grabbed my attention.


The paint tubes of the brooch have a very distinctive angle to them, with the red and the green close together and the blue off doing its own thing.

No-one had quite captured this for me.


Then something occurred to me. If you follow my Sixth Doctor costume blog you’ll see I have a special arrangement with Susan Trevor, who made THE ceramic cat brooch proudly worn by Colin Baker. She makes replicas for me, using her original mould and hand paints them just like the real thing she did over thirty years ago.

I put the idea of the palette brooch to her and she declined, saying that casting the brooch with the paint tubes attached would be enormously difficult, with a danger they would snap off even before it was even painted.

But then I came across a very revealing photo which changes everything.


It’s an unusual shot of Tom on location. Not one I had seen before. But then the brooch caught my eye.

If you look closely you can see the red and green tubes are at a very odd angle. They are almost going around the lapel - in fact you can clearly see the red tube isn’t even attached to the palette.

Then is dawned on me - this is not A brooch - it is a set of FOUR brooches!

This explains the irregular spacing of the tubes - they are individually pinned on best as can be, but not equally spaced.

Knowing this not only makes a whole lot more sense but means it is practical to make them.

So today Susan’s first prototype arrived in the post - and I think it’s brilliant!

She has really captured the look, shape and colours of the original - and looks fantastic on my coat!

Let me know what you think.



I’ll be taking orders for these brooch sets very soon, so drop me a line if you want to reserve yours now!
Please mail me at
tennantcoat@me.com

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sarah Jane’s Oliver Owl soft toy

One of the things that can finish of a good cosplay costume is a well chosen prop.

If you’re doing The Doctor, then a sonic screwdriver is a must.
But if you’re doing a companion there are thing out there worth tracking down.

When Sarah Jane finally left the TARDIS in The Hand Of Fear, she carries a handful of possessions, including a soft toy of an owl.

It ends up this owl is a toy called Oliver Owl, and was available in the mid 1970s from a company called Alresford Crafts.

As well as appearing in Hand Of Fear, the makers of The Sarah Jane Adventures had a little fun by putting the toy in the background of Sarah’s attic - though you might notice it is a crude copy rather than an original.


But this isn’t the only screen appearance of an Oliver Owl.

It famously can be seen in the toy cupboard in the Steven Spielberg film, ET.

First it is seen on a shelf behind ET when Elliot dresses him for his Halloween Trick or Treat outing (01:01:03 into the film).

Later, when Michael peeps over in the cupboard it can be seen on the floor to the left (01:25:12 into the film).
Have you spotted an Oliver Owl in another film or tv episode?!
If so, drop me a line

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

First-hand review - season 16 Frock Coat

A little while back I had the chance to get my grubby mitts on one of the replica season 16 Frock Coats out there.

It was interesting to see how another tailor had interpreted the coat, and knowing the original a bit more than most, how it fared. Forgive me for being brutal!

There are a multitude of things that strike me about this coat, but the first I’d have to address is fabrics used.



Rather than the plain and flecked coloured heavy, coarsely woven tweed, a relatively thin suiting cloth has been used which for me makes the feel of the coat just wrong.

The fabric is a good quality, allegedly sourced from Holland & Sherry, a Savile Row tailors suppliers. That said, a quality fabric doesn’t make for a quality cut if the essence of the pattern is wrong.



The rear of the coat is my main worry about the pattern used. A frock coat should have a continuous drape of fabric all the way from the shoulders, down between the two back buttons and through to the hem. The skirt panels should then be between the front edges all the way around to meet these narrow tails.
Here we essentially have a jacket with a skirt attached at a waistline seam running the full circumference of the coat.

It has the tails as a frock coat, but they are too wide which pushes the buttons quite far apart. The skirt is in two sections, with an aggressive dart down to the rear pockets to create some girth, but this broadens the hips rather than spreads the skirt through to the hem, thus lacking the hourglass flare that is so typical of a real frock coat.

The pattern for the upper body of the coat has one panel each side too many. Essentially the vertical seam passing just behind the rear pocket simply shouldn’t be there.

Turning to the collar and lapels, these aren’t too bad and are a good interpretation of the screen worn coat.

The placement of the buttonholes and buttons is pretty accurate, though the buttons are disappointing as they are plain plastic rather than leather.







The split lapel has been well cut, giving the front of the coat a good appearance.



With an appropriate scarf to hide the rest of the coat (here the one my mum knitted me in the 70s) it looks not so bad.

The chocolate brown piping has been cheaply sourced and is nothing more than a cotton bias binding worth less than a quid a metre.

It has been skilfully applied, but I don’t like they way the visible side has a line of stitching on show, whereas the underside is overlapped to hide the stitching.

The pocket flaps are all simple rectangular shapes, lacking the characterful outward slope. It’s subtle but makes the difference for me.
Internally the coat goes off on its own tangent, making things up as it goes along.

The design of the internal pockets is very typical of the Far East tailors, with a multitude of sizes and positions on offer - one on the right side and three on the left.

I’ve seen this in a number of suits originating from the orient.

This over eggs the simplistic four patch pockets of the original coat.

The coat is very competently made (aside from a burn to the velvet on the collar point - oops) but this doesn’t make up for the failure to appreciate what it should be made from or how it is cut and drapes.

That said it could make for a good day-to-day wear that has been inspired by the costume, rather than quality screen accurate time of cosplay.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Meeting Tom - Big Finish Day 5

Had a great day out today in Windsor for the fifth Big Finish day convention.

With Tom Baker as the headline guest, his pulling power alone meant the event was a sellout long before it happened.

Being a Big Finish sponsored event, it was hosted by Nicholas Briggs who had the pleasure of interviewing Tom alongside producer Philip Hinchcliffe, who had shaped his Doctor during his informative early seasons.


As expected Philip didn’t get much of a look in, while Tom stole the show. To say Tom was on form is an underestimation, as he was his most lucid and amusing I have seen for quite a while.

He seemed to be relishing the Big Finish dramas he's been doing, giving him a new spice of life, which was fantastic to witness.

Talking about his early life and confessional at his local Catholic Church, he had the audience rolling with laughter as he described the priest's rosary rattling when asking how many times a week Tom had an immoral thought. That the subject of his desire was from another parish made it acceptable.

He related how Who Do You Think You Are? had researched his life with a view to him being the subject of an episode. Having found nothing beyond births marriages and deaths they had deemed his ancestors too dull to take it to broadcast.

Following Tom's interview, it was time to queue for his photo opportunity.

I was in full Fourth Doctor costume and Tom was very amicable to the fans, so he was fine about me putting the end of my scarf around his shoulder and asking him to hold my sonic!


At noon it was time for another panel discussion, this time focusing on the Early Adventures with William Russell, Maureen O’Brien and Peter Purves, all of whom had worked with the First Doctor.

It was interesting to hear three contrasting views of the wilderness years of Doctor Who.
Maureen had resisted the Who world since leaving the series and working on many productions since. She had declined all invitations to conventions during the 1980s and 90s, but had been persuaded by 10th Planet who helped promote her book, gaining her over 200 sales in a single day.

Peter was quite blinkered to the regenerated Doctors down the years - William Hartnell was THE Doctor as far as he was concerned and his dislike for sci-fi meant he had kept a distance from fans. But when Big Finish approached him to bring Steven Taylor back to life, he jumped at the chance and enjoys every minute of it.
William also felt Hartnell was THE Doctor but felt only Sylvester McCoy got close to replacing him in his view.

Asked about the fans, Peter related an amusing email he had received enquiring if he was aware that gay Whoovians found his character hot! In response he explained how down the years he had been propositioned by gay actors, one of which was quite persistent, eventually telling Peter to make his mind up, “I’m not a taxi service. I don't charge waiting time!”

I then spent some time gathering autographs in my River Song book. It was wonderful to see Maureen O’Brien as I always thought she was an under-rated companion.

I also met Pamela Salem, who only the night before I had caught in an episode of Ever Decreasing Circles, playing the estranged wife of Paul Ryman.


Finally I got Karen Gledhill who starred alongside Pamela in Remembrance Of The Daleks and now in the Counter Measures spin-off Big Finish series.

I missed most of the lunchtime panel, but caught Matthew Waterhouse recalling watching over 1,000 episodes of Dark Shadows, which he had mentioned in his autobiography, resulting in him being asked to star in the Big Finish range.

He waxed lyrical about how the original had been shot as live; broadcast five days a week; and had all the wobbly sets, visible cameras and actors forgetting their lines which Doctor Who had erroneously been accused of down the years.
Nick Briggs chipped in that the closing credits would often be over a locked off shot of the empty set, and in one episode a lead actor walks into view wearing a dressing gown until he realises he's on camera and quickly darts our of view!

There was then a cosplay competition, judged by Strax himself, Dan Starkey. There was £50 of Big Finish CDs on offer for the winner. Ironically I lost out to a friend of mine - wearing one of my Sixth Doctor costumes!




The final panel I attended was a three-in-one, covering spin-off series Vienna, Dark Shadows: Blood Lust, and of particular interest to me, Terrahawks.

On hand was Jamie Anderson, son of puppetry legend Gerry Anderson.

With a new Thunderbirds tv series already in the pipeline, attention turned to Terrahawks as potential adaptation fodder. Most of the original voice cast are still available, including Denise Bryer who at 85 will return to voice Zelda.

Jamie told an amusing tale of how Mora Griffiths, was cast as Kate Kestrel for the SOS single not for her singing talent, but because she uncannily looked like the already made puppet!

While all of this was going on, Tom was signing autographs like a trooper. We all had numbered tickets and we were to get our chance in order, so being 237 I knew I had a while to wait before I needed to even think about queuing, giving me the chance for lunch!

Finally they were calling tickets over 220, so I headed over to meet Tom.
There was only one thing I wanted signed - and I wanted him to write something very special for me, and with him on top form I knew he would be up for it.

If you've followed this blog, you may have seen Target novel he signed for me in 1977. As a dedicated 11 year old Doctor Who fan I was beyond excited to meet my hero, but was terrified of him spelling my name wrong. So when I finally got to the front of the queue and I was asked my name, I said “Steven - with a V!” So Tom wrote the dedication as “To Steven with a V from Who with a Tom Baker”. Down the years it has been a phrase that makes quite a lyrical sound in my mind.

Now I have a River Song book for my autographs, I want Tom to rewrite the same dedication for me, 37 years later, which he was more than happy to do.




I asked him to sign page one of the book, and he did a great job.

Thanks Tom - it made my day.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Alternative 4th Doctor costume t-shirt

Back in 2011 Forbidden Planet started releasing a range of t-shirt based on The Doctor’s costumes.

They soon released all twelve Doctors, and have kept the idea alive by doing a few of the peripheral characters as well.

Now they are going back over a few of The Doctors, creating some of the alternative costume variations seen down the years.

You can now get the Fourth Doctor - but as seen in the ever popular adventure, The City Of Death.

From the image on the website I’m not sure about the colour of that waistcoat; and I’m no expert, but is that the right variant of scarf to go with that costume?

At least they got the brooch correct!
4th Doctor costume t-shirt

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Denys Fisher Tom Baker action figure -
The Vectis auctions

I’m often brining you the latest lots for sale on eBay or at Bonhams auction house, a mix of costumes, props and behind the scenes memorabilia.

But I recently came across a specialist seller of collectible toys, and Doctor Who regularly crops up.

What caught my eye was the iconic Denys Fisher Tom Baker action figure - which I remember owning myself at the time. The reason I’m interested is that a number of the dolls have been sold down the years, dating back to 1999, well before the return of Doctor Who in 2005.
Some are boxed; some are grouped with other items; some have times missing, such as scarf, hat or sonic.

18th Feb 2014 - Lot 1421
TV & Film Related Sale
Harbert Doctor Who figure, depicting Tom Baker complete with scarf, although is missing hat, otherwise Excellent within Good original box.
Price realised: £40
26th Oct 2011 - Lot 5128
The Coventry Star Wars Collection Sale
Doctor Who collection of Toys and Ephemera including: Denys Fisher/Mego Doctor Who Poseable figure; Dapol K9; Dapol white and gold Dalek; Cyberman figure; plus a quantity of books, games and annuals on the Doctor Who theme, conditions are mainly Fair to Good Plus throughout. (qty)
Price realised: £35

7th Dec 2010 - Lot 1401
Specialist Diecast Sale
Denys Fisher Doctor Who figure, 1976 issue, Tom Baker figure, dressed in original clothing complete with scarf and hat which is still factory sealed within original plastic, figure is retained upon inner packaging and is Mint complete with mailing leaflet within Excellent box.
Price realised: £60

Bonhams auction - 25th June 2014

It’s that time of the year again and another Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia auction is looming.

There are a number of Doctor Who, Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures items on offer.

Most of the Doctor Who items are left over the from the previous sale in December last year, now with considerably reduced estimates and reserves.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the solitary Fourth Doctor era item was from the massive Doctor Who costume sale in February 2010, but this is actually a different costume. The previous robes, (Lot 161 in the previous sale) had a label inscribed Withryk, FUT 462.


Lots 94 - 100
First, Second and Third Doctors (1963-1974)
Lots 102 - 106
Seventh Doctor (1987-1989)
Lots 107 - 121
Torchwood & Sarah Jane Adventures)

Lot 101
DOCTOR WHO: THE DEADLY ASSASSIN, 1976, A TIME LORD ROBE, of russett-coloured velvet-effect fabric, brown lining, pleated sleeves and front, labels inscribed in ballpoint Moran and FUT 463.

FOOTNOTES
This is very similar in style and labelling to several robes sold in these rooms, 24th February 2010, 'Doctor Who: The Auction, Costumes and Props from the BBC Archive'.

Estimate £2,000 - 2,500
Sold for £2,250