In the many years that this blog has been live, I find myself surprised to note that I never made a proper index of the Tennant ties, in the way I did with the Smith bowties. Well, better late than never I guess!
David Tennant wore 14 different ties in his time on Doctor Who, though only 13 as the Doctor (not including the two bow ties he wore, a black one with his tuxedo, and a brown spotted one, as John Smith in Human Nature/The Family of Blood (right) – the bow tie appears to have not had any kind of label inside and can therefore be presumed to have been custom-made by a costumier). Each tie was purchased off-the-rack by costumer Louise Page, with the notable exceptions being the Lanvin tie worn for Tennant’s debut in The Christmas Invasion, which was a vintage tie already sitting in the BBC costume shop used due to time constraints, and the production-supplied paisley tie used in Human Nature/Family of Blood (Tie 15). Each tie being off-the-rack (unlike Matt Smith’s many production-made bow ties) means that originals exist scattered around the world, which has lead many cosplayers, such as myself, to the hubristic task of tracking down and collecting them all (a task, I must note, that nobody has ever achieved). Some do occasionally show up on eBay and other such websites, though often when they do they go for exorbitant sums of money (as collector’s items often do).
Another tie, chronicled here for the sake of thoroughness, was purchased by Louise Page but was never used.
At the end of this post is a handy visual guide, which is updated as better photos become available.
Tailor and cosplayer Steve Ricks once sat down with Louise Page and interviewed her discussing each tie in depth – that series of videos can be found here on his blog for those curious.
If you are looking for replicas, the best route is through Magnoli Clothiers or Time and Space Replicas – between them nearly all of these ties have been reproduced to a high degree of accuracy, and the remaining designs are in the works.
Tie 1: Lanvin Paris
Vintage floral tie from the BBC costume department, likely from the 70’s or 80’s. Entirely brown/black with bold jacquard floral motifs. The label and design was finally confirmed in 2019 after one was tracked down in Ukraine. Tie information and detailed images courtesy of Rob Purslow.
Worn only in The Christmas Invasion.
Tie 2: Daniel Hechter
A brown geometric tie with blue accents, a popular brown suit tie.
Worn in: New Earth, Rise of the Cybermen, The Age of Steel, Doomsday, The Runaway Bride, Partners in Crime, The Unicorn and the Wasp, Midnight, and The End of Time
Tie 3: Yves Saint Laurent
A subtle brown/bronze geometric/spotted tie. High resolution photos are scarce as no collector has managed to find this tie (as far as is known within the community) – high res image courtesy of Steve Ricks.
Worn only in School Reunion.
Tie 4: Christian LaCroix
A brown tie with an abstract blue “swirly” pattern, with the LaCroix logo subtly added to the end of the tie. A favorite of Louise Page and Tennant’s, production only had 1 of these ties, so it was used prominently but infrequently to ensure its safety. Full photo also courtesy of Steve Ricks.
Worn in The Girl in the Fireplace, Love and Monsters, Blink, and The End of Time.
Tie 5: Thomas Nash
A brown tie with a gold and blue geometric circle motif.
Worn only in The Idiot’s Lantern.
The only Doctor tie whose manufacturer is currently unknown, a blue satin tie with brown spots. Any information on this tie would be greatly appreciated as it is the only remaining true mystery.
Worn in The Impossible Planet, The Satan Pit, seen briefly in Human Nature.
The most commonly-used brown suit tie, a brown/blue weave with spots of brown ovals inset with blue squares.
Worn in Love and Monsters, Army of Ghosts, Doomsday, Smith and Jones, The Shakespeare Code, Gridlock, Family of Blood, Fires of Pompeii, Turn Left, The Stolen Earth, Journey’s End, and Planet of the Dead.
Tie 8: Nina Ricci
The first blue suit tie to appear, it features a burgundy and gold herringbone with a blue woodcut floral pattern overlaid.
Worn in Smith and Jones, The Sontaran Stratagem, and The Poison Sky.
The most commonly-used blue suit tie, a very dark navy blue/burgundy background with a burgundy floral motif overlaid.
Worn in Daleks in Manhattan, Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment, The Last of the Time Lords, Time Crash, Voyage of The Damned, The Unicorn and the Wasp, Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead, and The Waters of Mars.
A brown striped background with a diagonal floral outline running through.
Worn only in the three-part Series 3 finale Utopia, The Sound of Drums, and The Last of the Time Lords.
A brown tie with light and dark blue stripes, this tie is another tie that no collector has been able to turn up.
Worn only in Partners in Crime and The Next Doctor.
A burgundy tie with blue stripes. It also made an appearance at a special in-costume hospital visit Tennant made in the mid-2000’s (right).
Worn in The Doctor’s Daughter and briefly seen in The Poison Sky.
An addendum to the collection, this brown tie with blue flowers and bronze stems was purchased for the 50th Anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor.
The real fun find for the collector, this tie was purchased by Louise Page for use on the show but was never used. It was auctioned at Bonham’s in 2010 in a lot of 3 screen used ties and because of this has become the apocryphal Tennant tie.
Tie 15: 1980’s Morris Angel & Sons, Ltd.
This tie was worn by David, but not as the Doctor. For the two-parter Family of Blood/Human Nature, the Doctor makes himself temporarily human and sports this greyish brown “paisley-style” tie, supposedly made in-house by Angels Costumes. It was auctioned at Bonhams in 2011. Due to its being made by a costume house and not a manufacturer, and its use on a non-Doctor costume, it is here listed as Tie 15, behind the apocryphal Rocha tie.
(An update to this graphic to include Tie 15 will be made soon.)