I’ve nearly finished screencapping Doctor Who S10 and it’s got me thinking about how Bill’s character is revealed through costume. I, a person with no costume design or fashion experience whatsoever, will attempt to explain:
Almost every time we see Bill, she’s wearing something that’s bright and bold and colourful, often with stripes (Bill REALLY loves stripes.)
Her denim jacket is especially interesting, because it looks just like her mother’s one. (For a while I thought it was the same one, but actually I don’t think it is.) Oh, and Bill’s mother liked to wear colourful stripey outfits as well, with lots of red and yellow and blue.
So that’s where she inherited her fashion sense from! And I also noticed, once I finally found a close up of the denim jacket, that its patches (which I’m guessing Bill sewed on herself?) are all clues about Bill and what will happen to her:
The rainbow speaks for itself. The WOW! is all about her excitement at getting out in the world and seeing new things. And the skull and the robot… well, they speak for themselves too I guess. I suppose if I wanted to get really analytical (and I do) maybe the placement of the patches are significant too. The skull is next to the WOW! indicating that this wonderful new adventure Bill is on might lead to her death. But the rainbow is above the robot, and it’s Bill’s crush on another girl which saves her from dying as a Cyber-converted robot.
There’s a patch on the back too:
Which I read as “? & i”, which I guess kinda sums up in three characters the journey of any Companion and Doctor. Question mark, and I.
Anyway! The other thing I noticed is that Bill wears bright and bold colours… except when she’s in a position of powerlessness. Then, everything goes dreary and grey and all the fashionable clothes turn into drab uniforms and dirty rags.
(cut for length)
In Lie of the Land, she’s stuck wearing the same greyish-black outfit that all the people in the Monk’s society seem to wear.
And in World Enough and Time, she goes through a variety of grey/white/brown clothes (which gradually turn into rags) as she waits for the Doctor to rescue her. Again, these are the sort of clothes everyone wears in that world, so there’s nothing to make her stand out.
Which eventually ends in her being turned into a Cyberman. The ultimate uniform, featureless, colourless thing.
But obviously that’s not quite the end of her story. Heather comes along and saves her and gives her her bright colourful clothes back. It’s actually occurred to me that Heather probably reconstructed Bill’s clothes from memory (no nudity in a family show!) and she almost got it right:
A black top and circular earrings (what Bill was wearing the first time Heather ever saw her) and a blue jacket (what Bill was wearing the last time Heather saw her).
And one last thing – Extremis actually bucks the trend of Bill wearing bright colours. In that, she’s all in greys.
Maybe that was our first clue that that wasn’t really her…