The BBC has betrayed British industry by ordering replicas of the now-iconic Doctor Who costume from China instead of Scotland. The current Doctor, Matt Smith, made his debut in the children’s television programme wearing an authentic vintage 1960s Harris Tweed jacket. The pattern turned out to have been discontinued, and fans inundated the Harris Tweed Authority with requests to put Mackenzie “two by two” dogtooth back into production. They did, and dozens of reams of the pattern were sold.
However, in more recent episodes, Mr. Smith wears neither his vintage original nor a jacket whose cloth has been woven anywhere near the Isle of Harris. The jacket he now sports, though superficially similar, is in fact a reproduction made from a wool-acrylic mix and manufactured in China. The BBC has caused more ripples of consternation on the Outer Hebrides by signing an exclusivity deal for the Doctor’s jackets with a Canadian company that imports all its fabric from China. Auntie has further annoyed the Harris Tweed industry by selling a replica of the new jacket for £359.99. A spokesman for Harris Tweed said: “I find it very odd that they would use a replica costing £360 when our genuine Harris Tweed jackets retail at £250. Why pay more for a replica than the original?”
It is appalling that the BBC is quite happy to fork out millions of pounds on fees for presenters long-past their sell-by date who never wear tweed, yet tries to cut corners by dressing up one of its most popular fictional characters in fake Harris Tweed. It not only shows a complete lack of sartorial integrity (technically the Doctor could wear clothes from any period in human history, or even shoes made from dinosaur hide, should he so wish) but also contempt for one of the few British industries actually surviving the recession and globalisation.