13 thoughts on “(Classic) Doctor Who Historical Costumes: The Talons of Weng-Chiang

  1. Hey no dissing one of my favorite episodes! I’m sure it’s all kinds of problematic by modern standards but I don’t care!
    The great thing about Leela is she’s not having any of this Eliza Doolittle crap. She will wear period clothes when necessary but she is a Warrior of the Sevateem and doesn’t care who knows it.

    1. This is one of my all-time favorite episodes, and while it’s problematic, I think you have to see it as a satire of the penny dreadful gothic novels of the period. In reality, it should make the viewer uncomfortable, but it doesn’t reflect the views of the period in which it was made.

  2. I was a great doctor who fan…but I left home in ’77 so don’t remember this one [too busy with being grown up I suppose lol]
    Sounds DIRE, but hey ho Leela’s lack of clothing was very popular at the time I recall

  3. Wow, that knickers suit is unparalleled in its hideousness!~ I can only imagine that actress recoiling in horror when presented with it.

    That last shot with the patterned velvet coat and waistcoat is pretty snazzy, though.

    1. True. The coverage is at least as good as a standard one piece bathing suit or a leotard. Lots of arm and leg but little else.
      Also can you imagine Leela agreeing to wear a corset? I’m surprised she agreed to wear combinations!

  4. I met Tom Baker on the street in Rye, which is a town close to the village he lives in. Our BnB landlady told us we might see him. I had just got a tattoo and was full of beans but we were both too shy to go and say hello, he is a formidable presence!

    1. A fellow actor described Ton Baker as having eyes that fo right through you. And oh, that beautiful voice!

  5. Eek, this storyline sounds like the worst! I’ve gone back and forth on whether i should bother watching the old dr. Who episodes, and so far the needle points to “no”

    1. If you’re familiar with the sensational material publish in the penny-dreadful novels of the late Victorian era, you’ll see this as the satire it was meant to be. This is one of the best Tom Baker stories, but you need to know its roots. Think source material in the realm of Sweeney Todd and Fu Manchu, and you’ll be in the right frame of mind.

  6. There is also the two-parter “Black Orchid” where the Doctor and crew have an Agatha Christie style costume ball, which is kinda cool. And the later serial “Ghostlight” which is all about the Victorian costumes (and some crossdressing by the companion, Ace, sparking a mini sexual revolution).

  7. It’s rather fitting that John Bloomfield was the costume designer on this, as he was also CD on 1980’s ‘The Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu’ a few years later, and then 1986’s ‘Tai-Pan’. I’m assuming he was chosen for his skill in doing ‘Eastern’ garb, but a shame that in both ‘Talons in Weng Chiang’ and ‘Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu’ his rather lovely designs are worn by actors in racist makeup.

    This wouldnt be the last time the original Doctor Who would have varying iffy racist Asian stereotypes – the appalling ‘Time Flight’ a few years later would have Anthony Ainley as ‘Kalid’, sporting a rather lovely gown designed by Amy Roberts…but sadly worn with some really racist makeup (look it up, it makes the makeup here look take)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: