These photos are from a variety of episodes and set photos from S7 and S8. Some photos may contain S8 spoilers if you have not seen the released set pictures for the upcoming series!!!! All images have been released as promo shots by the BBC (and are solely the intellectual property of the BBC and its authorized affiliates), and do not include any non-promo shots (i.e. taken by fans, released illegally, etc.)
Please proceed with caution!
What is Moffat’s obsession with the color purple? Is his favorite food eggplant and he’s secretly working it in the scripts by dressing his characters in eggplant purple? Is there some correlation between the choice of when the characters wear this color and what is happening in the series at the time? As with everything in the Who-verse, no one but Mr. Moffat knows for certain, and there is fan speculation surrounding almost every line, scene, and detail. Some of it will become relevant as we go along with the series, and some will be happy coincidences. Some points will be poignant, while others will be absolutely silly; some will turn out to be correct, while others, in hindsight, will be incredibly wrong. But while we all speculate, I really want to know what Moffat is doing with this specific shade of purple! It is certainly worth pointing out that traditionally purple has been considered the “Royal Color” – the color of the King, Queen, or other royalty. While no character listed is royalty strictly speaking, The Doctor is a Lord; it may not be a Lord of the land, but he is a Lord of Time and thus his title and species implies a social hierarchy. The implication seems to be that the Time Lords are a higher level species than the ones they regulate, having stopped creatures from the dawn of time and the ability to travel forward and backward throughout the universe’s entire history. Aside from any royal ties, this color is woven in throughout S7 and S8 in the main character’s wardrobe with some consistency. We do not know the circumstances surrounding each characters mood during the scenes we see the color in, and we do not know if it is symbolic or significant. We are aware that it is prominent enough, and woven into the main character’s costumes with a frequency that makes it worth looking at.
Let’s start back in S7, “The Snowmen” with Matt Smith’s Doctor introducing a slightly longer purple coat with a stove pipe hat in contrast to his typical tweed jacket. The shade of purple woven throughout the episode is slightly different to the specific purples used throughout S8, but it is our first introduction to the color that will become prominent in the main character’s wardrobes. This episode was also The Doctor’s first introduction to Clara as a true and human companion, having previously seen her in “Asylum of the Daleks” as an auxiliary companion in a Dalek shell. This outfit on its own was a fantastic costume choice, demonstrating The Doctor’s slightly more jaded side after losing the Ponds with the full swish of a jacket behind him, in addition to the more Victorian feel. We see him wear this outfit at different points in S7, with Smith finally regenerating in the purple-ish jacket in “The Time of The Doctor.”
Vastra from the Paternoster gang in “The Snowmen” appears to be wearing a very similar shade of purple while out and about the streets. Interestingly, the gang keeps a relatively low profile, and The Doctor is avoiding human contact, while they are both wearing this shade in the episode. Whether this is because the purple is visually aesthetic with the rest of the scenery, or because it ties the two characters together, or is part of a further reaching story arch, we still cannot say, but this is the first introduction to this shade we have.
We have a set photo from the next episode, airing today, “Robot of Sherwood” showing Capaldi’s Doctor wearing a similar shade of purple, but in a button up shirt. As this and the following images have not been aired yet, we do not know the exact context of the character’s mindsets while wearing these hues, but this eggplant purple is very prominent, contrasting with the “no nonsense Time Lord” blazer Capaldi is sporting in a classy and authoritative way. We have seen from previews that Clara has always wanted to meet Robin Hood, and in an effort to show her Medieval England was not a band of merry men lead by Robin Hood, Capaldi takes her there, where it seems as though Robin of Locksley is, causing Clara happiness and Capaldi confusion. Again this is just the information we have from the previews, we will know more about his mindset after the episode airs, but it is clear that Capaldi’s Doctor is still demonstrating his personality to both Clara and the viewers this early in his tenure. If this color is symbolic of a mindset or a personality trait, we will find out more about the way those are incorporated as this series unfolds.
We move to Clara looking smart in an eggplant purple pant suit. This was released early on in 2014 from filming which has been rumoured to be from episode 4 or 5 of this series, meaning we may find out her mindset and behaviors in the next few weeks. This is a marked difference from her typical skirt and cardigan attire, as well as the first time to my recollection she is wearing this color so prominently. Capaldi is wearing a dark/black button up with his “rebel Time Lord” outfit in this set photo, so we know that it is neither the same scene nor episode from “Robot of Sherwood” or any other that display this color prominently. Keep in mind, so far The Doctor has made it fairly clear that while he respects individual soldiers, he does not like them, nor their purpose. We are also aware of the fact that Clara has begun dating Danny Pink, a former soldier, and it seems The Doctor will not find out right away from comments Mr. Moffat has made. This could mean that Clara is being secretive about her relationship and it is yet another example of one of our beloved characters attempting to keep a low profile. It may also just be a costume which looks stunning on the beautiful Jenna Louise Coleman.
Finally, Missy, in what is believed to be the series 8 finale, is wearing the same color, while standing beside Capaldi. Interestingly, Clara does not appear in these set photos, though Capaldi is wearing a different shirt in this scene than in the pictures released of Clara wearing the pant suit, so we can confidently say this is an entirely separate episode from the prior ones showing the other main characters in this hue. It is worth noting that Missy’s dress has a similar collar and style to the pant suit Clara sports in the other episode. This is the only promo shot released so far that includes Missy with The Doctor in what seems to be our world versus in the “nether sphere” or “heaven.” It also shows the return of one of the most constant foes in the Who-verse, the Cybermen, seemingly not attacking The Doctor nor Missy. Why the Cybermen would be marching behind one of their most deadly foes rather than deleting him is a true mystery. We do not have enough detail surrounding this photograph to sincerely understand the scene but it is clear that Missy is dressed in the same eggplant purple that Capaldi and Clara sport earlier in S8. Especially with the mystery surrounding the character of Missy, dressing her in this hue is an interesting choice given she started in a much darker hue in “Deep Breath.” Again, whether this is a coincidence, because the color is striking on the actors, or if it will be revealed that the characters are in a similar mindset while wearing the color will not be clear until we see the series finale. We cannot be sure as to whether or not Missy desires to keep a low profile as we have had minimal exposure to her character, but it is not out of the question.
Do these colors and characters share something in common? Is there some sort of common theme, such as trying to keep a low profile, or wearing this shade when there is turmoil in that character’s life? Why have all of our main characters suddenly found this color and started sporting it? I cannot say for certain that there is a connection, nor can I rule it out as a viewer. I can say that it seems to me the color is being prominently displayed in the series as well as released promo shots. It is entirely possible that the color is a representation of something happening to the characters within the time line, and that the characters each wear this hue while a certain emotion or situation arises. No matter how it turns out, eggplant purple turns out to be a fantastic color and contrasts beautifully with the scenery. At the end of the series, we will have far more information, but for now, I must ask again: What is Moffat’s obsession with eggplant purple???!?