- You may be looking for the production team title of "Costumes", used extensively in the 1963 version of Doctor Who.
A costume designer is, in the broadest sense, someone who develops the look of costumes in a theatrical performance or piece of filmed entertainment. However, as employed by Doctor Who and sister shows, a costume designer is the head of the costume department, itself a division of the art department. He or she oversees every aspect of wardrobing the actors in a given episode of a Doctor Who universe, from the original concept to the actual production or purchase of the clothes, to the mundane personnel management issues his or her staff may face. He or she is one of the key department heads, and reports to the production designer.
The position, as is practised in the 21st century, first arose in Doctor Who on the Paul McGann telemovie. Prior to this, the costume department of the British Broadcasting Corporation would assign individual designers to single serials of Doctor Who. These people were usually credited with the title "Costumes" and had fewer managerial responsibilities. Though the core of their job had much commonality with the modern costume designer, many of the administrative responsibilities of current Doctor Who costume designers were actually handled by a person uncredited on any individual BBC programme, who managed costuming across all the programmes in production at the BBC at a given moment. In the BBC Wales version, however, the costume department is more tightly integrated with the art department. The design process is more collaborative, with some costume designs actually beginning outside the confines of the costume department and some set or prop designs influenced by the costume department.
A key measure of the difference between the "classic Doctor Who" designers and those of the modern series can be found in Ray Holman. Hiring him was not a decision to hire just the individual, but instead his company, Ray Holman Design, Ltd. This company then added its own personnel to the production team of Doctor Who beginning with The Eleventh Hour. Such a situation never applied to designers of the 1963 version of Doctor Who — all of whom were regular employees of the BBC.
Credited Costume Designers edit
As of 2013, there have been seven individuals to have headed the costume department on Doctor Who. For the 1996 movie, the costume designer was Jori Woodman. From Rose to The Parting of the Ways, it was Lucinda Wright. Louise Page took over at The Christmas Invasion and continued through to The End of Time. Ray Holman, who also had earlier provided temporary assistance to Doctor Who on the double banked episodes of Blink and Turn Left, took over the costume design from The Eleventh Hour until The Big Bang, and classic series veteran Barbara Kidd handled the role from The Impossible Astronaut to The Wedding of River Song, with Edward K. Gibbon handling just one story, namely The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. Since Asylum of the Daleks, Howard Burden has occupied the role.
Ray Holman was also the costume designer for the first three series of Torchwood.
As of 2009, The Sarah Jane Adventures had two credited costume designers. Pam Tait was the costume designer for the New Year's Day special Invasion of the Bane. Stewart Meachem, however, was named costume designer fo the series proper, and held that position through its first three series.