The Most Excellent and Awesome Worldbuilding Hats of Doctor Who

Today we consider hats. Not merely any hats, but the splendid hats of Doctor Who that have helped to create worlds. So that means (magnificent as, say, the Doctor’s hat in The Reign of Terror is) hats from the real world are not included, no matter how dashing it looks perched on the head of its owner.

Now, when considering the *spiffiest* of hats on Doctor Who, there are two stories that instantly spring to mind: The Robots of Death and The Androids of Tara. Two stories where the carefully crafted headgear is a pivotal part of the world we visit.


Here’s Zilda in The Robots of Death. Look at that hat! It’s not just silver, it glitters, and there’re little fin bits and they glitter too. Elegant Art Deco stitching on the front; pearl beading round the edges. What a *fantastic* creation!

Indeed, all of the the occupants of the Storm Mine 4 sandminer are given these sparkly, extravagant costumes that root them in decadence and luxury.


It’s tough to decide who’s bring the best hat game to the sandminer, but it might be Toos. Or maybe I just like Pamela Salem the best. Either way, the costume designer (Elizabeth Waller) has gifted us with this magnificent…I want to call it a sideways sunrise. But that might be the name of a cocktail.


The final hat contender is Uvanov. Who also brings the metallic tones and sparkliness in what I can only call a glamrock mitre (I was going to say bishop hat, but I looked it up, turns out that kind of hat has a name.)

Any one of these hats could have been a star in its own right, but all of them together? Well, if you want the story that has the best hats, that story is The Robots of Death.

Close on its heels is the pseudo-middle ages sci-fi jaunt that is The Androids of Tara. A truly magnificent story that moves the hats from sparkly Art Deco to…squishy medieval. That’s a real style, you know, it’s not something I just made up.

But even if I did just make it up, it’s true. Very true. Witness the squishiness:


It’s beautiful green and purple velvet squishness of course, but still. Squishy.

And then we have the medieval plus the squishy:


That’s the appallingly brilliant Peter Jeffrey there. And look at that costume. The layers! The cloak! But, yes, hats, we’re focussing on the hats. Well, that’s a hat, with stripes. But those stripes are not as good as these stripes:


Look at that! What a hat!! That’s the hat of the Archimandrite! Let’s just take a moment to admire it. It may not be so flashy as the Robots of Death hats, but it has a muted glory all of its own.

Also featured are a number of helmets (not hats? hats? not sure), and this very very splendid hat. So splendid one might even call it a crown:


Perhaps less well acknowledged in its millinery ways, but just as impressive, is The Ribos Operation. Here the hats are working overtime to remind us this is SPACE IMPERIAL RUSSIA. But we can’t judge them for it. Partly because Ribos is is amazing, partly because the hats are just so goshdarned fluffy.


The Graff Vynda-K may not be the nicest of chaps, but look at his fluffy wee aristo-hat there. Yes, he wants to rock the shiny gold crown-like headgear, but he’s still got a heck of a lot of floof to sit it on. More typically, dudes on this planet just go all out for the floof:


But it’s not all floof and giggles, oh no! Ribos is also home to some srs bsns hats. Hats that demand diginity and respect in their highest forms. Behold:


Never mock a lady who wears a pair of giant gold antlers on her head.

And, while according to the technicalities, this is not a hat, it *is* floofy. Very floofy. And pretty:


There are other stories with hats of course, excellent hats, but I feel that these three are the ones that, were this a competition, would win it hattily.

Special mention however, for the stupendous work down in The Brain of Morbius:


And doubly so for The Deadly Assassin aka the story that introduces hatty Time Lords. There are many things most beloved about The Deadly Assassin, but so often overlooked is that it brought us the Time Lord skullcap/giant collar combo without which we might never have survived Arc of Infinity.


In conclusion, hats are excellent.

(In a second conclusion, I just noticed these are all fourth Doctor stories, so, apparently, the fourth Doctor era is the greatest at hats.)






3 thoughts on “The Most Excellent and Awesome Worldbuilding Hats of Doctor Who

  1. The 1970’s was truly a great era for hats in Doctor Who, as well as some fantastic stories. Zilda’s hat and costume wouldn’t look out of place on Lady Gaga! I definitely think the 70’s was an amazing time in general for costumes in Doctor Who. Maybe it’s because Tom Baker is my Doctor and the stories are ingrained more on my brain, I don’t know. But the stories mentioned are up there with my favourite Who stories, especially The Robots of Death, which I just absolutely loved as a kid.

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