The Many, Many Faces Of Doctor Who

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Jonathan Kelly's Doctor (centre) comes under fire from an unlikely alliance of a Stormtrooper and another Doctor
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Jonathan Kelly's Doctor (centre) comes under fire from an unlikely alliance of a Stormtrooper and another Doctor

Jonathan Kelly IS The Doctor. TV's Time Lord has had many faces across more than 50 years of on-screen adventures but he's inspired thousands more of the show's legion of fans to be transformed into their own incarnations of this most endearing of British icons. And, in 84 appearances over a seven-year period Jonathan, from Spalding in Lincolnshire, has become a well-known character among locals and fellow fans for donning a costume inspired by the design worn by Peter Davison.

With the show set to return to BBC One on Saturday, September 19, we caught up with Jonathan to find out what exactly it is that inspires such a loyal band of fans to the show, how to work on costumes to get into the ever-growing world of cosplay and explore the highs and lows of appearing in public in his outfit...
In costume for Red Nose Day
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In costume for Red Nose Day

Why Who?

Doctor Who is the show that refused to die. Like its lead star the programme constantly regenerates, overcoming initial skepticism from the BBC when it launched, changing its lead star (many times) and being cancelled for good in 1989. Before it went off the air, at a time when Sylvester McCoy held the keys to the TARDIS, a young Jonathan, now 33, had already been seduced by the magic of the show and was ready to embrace it fully when it returned once again 2005.

He says the cross-generational appeal is key to its success, adding: "It has been around longer than most people! I think it just captures peoples' imagination and always manages to keep fresh, changing Doctors every two to three years. The effects are much better and the stories are good. Everyone loves the TARDIS and Daleks, they're icons, and everyone has their favourite Doctor from certain eras."
Meeting a young fan at a collector event
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Meeting a young fan at a collector event
Meeting the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison
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Meeting the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison

Famous Five

So with more than 50 years to go at, why did Jonathan opt to dress as the Fifth Doctor, whose episodes aired while he was a baby?

He explained: "My favourite Doctors are  Peter Davison, Matt Smith and Jon Pertwee. I just loved Peter Davison's costume and the Fifth Doctor's personality suited mine too so...snap!"

Jonathan explained that Davison-era stories Caves of Androzani, Visitation, Castrovalva and Frontios rank right at the top of his favourites from the show's rich past - alongside multi-Doctor epics the Five Doctors and the 50th anniversary special, the Day of the Doctor.

He's met his idol twice already - and hopes to make it a hat trick later in the year.
Attack of the Cybermen
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Attack of the Cybermen
Debuting his costume in 2008
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Debuting his costume in 2008

Getting the Costume Right

The well-off could snap up a £700 jacket and £200 pair of trousers to replicate the on-screen look of the Fifth Doctor but for those on a tighter budget - and who fancy getting creative - it's possible to make your own outfit from a range of different sources.

Jonathan explains: "Although they look the same, I have two different versions of my costume and I take it in turns wearing each one per event. 

"I had the two shirts made for me, I have three coats and I got my trousers from eBay and charity shops - I ended up painting the white stripes on one of them! My folding Panama hat was from John Lewis. I've had four hats in my time.

"I have had the same pair of white sneakers  since 2009 and I ended up customising some braces with question marks.

"I’ve never managed to get the celery (on the Doctor's jacket) right or find anything remotely good so I made one and it took me forever to get the question marks on collar right. 
"It takes me about 10 minutes to get it all on!"
Jonathan with his Panama
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Jonathan with his Panama

Don't Forget theFun Factor

Aside from eBay, Jonathan is always on the lookout at charity shops and car boots. He advised any aspiring Cosplayer to always be on the lookout...and not to get too upset if they can't get an exact match for their chosen outfit.

He said: "For cosplay, I'd avoid the fancy dress party shops as their quality is designed for nights out, stag dos etc and won’t last, trust me! 

" eBay is good for just about everything. A lot of people buy their coats and jackets from China though eBay.

"But at the end of the day it’s all fun and not about 100% accuracy. I was at an event last week and there were six or seven David Tennant cosplayers of all different shapes and sizes and different colour suits and tie’s etc.

"Their costumes were all different and not entirely accurate but they just went out to enjoy themselves like I do."
Different incarnations of the Doctor pause for a Subway
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Different incarnations of the Doctor pause for a Subway

The Highs Outweigh the Lows

Life in the costume hasn't been entirely plain sailing for the Doctor Who dress-a-like. In October 2010 he had to go to hospital with a broken jaw after being attacked by one of a gang of youths at an event in his native Spalding.

Undeterred, Jonathan continues to don the outfit and is a regular - and popular - feature at many events in the town and further afield.

He said: "Because it is different some people don't understand. We know the risks and the comments we sometimes get yelled at us when we put these costumes on, but why should that stop us? I love preforming in towns, conventions and events."
Spalding Flower Parade 2010
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Spalding Flower Parade 2010

A World of Friends

The cosplay world has gone from strength to strength since Jonathan first donned the costume in Halloween 2008, with Marvel, Star Wars and anime inspiring creative fans to express their love for their favourite characters.

Jonathan added: "It's a great place for friends to meet and it just keeps getting bigger. Back in 2008 I never knew conventions to sell out or buildings to be full. It’s crazy."
Taking the plaudits at Grantham carnival
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Taking the plaudits at Grantham carnival

New Adventures Begin

One outfit he won't be trying for size is that of current Doctor Peter Capaldi - whose second series of stories with companion Clara (Jenna Coleman) begins on BBC.

He said: "Well I find his costume a bit plain to be honest! If I had to be another Doctor I'd be Matt Smith, the 11th.

"I think Peter Capaldi has settled in now and if you've seen the Musketeers you'll know that Peter is a great actor. He has a Doc Brown from Back To The Future thing going on with his hair now.

"Fingers crossed that the series will be as good as the trailers look. I’ve heard all sorts of rumours about it but we'll have to wait and see."

Whatever happens, it'll undoubtedly inspire the next generation of young fans and cosplayers. Do you have a Doctor Who outfit you'd like to share with us? Post below or find us on Facebook.
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