- 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. They oversee 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 their staff may face. They are one of the key department heads, and reports to the production designer.
Differences between 1963 and 2005 versions
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
As of 2021, there have been eight 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 again from The Magician's Apprentice to The Husbands of River Song, and since The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Classic series veteran Barbara Kidd handled the role from A Christmas Carol to The Wedding of River Song, with Edward K. Gibbon handling just one story, namely The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. Howard Burden occupied the role from Asylum of the Daleks to Death in Heaven. Hayley Nebauer took the position from The Return of Doctor Mysterio to Twice Upon a Time.
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.