The real McCoy.
Doctor Who fans may soon be able to buy licensed replicas of the Eleventh Doctor’s Harris Tweed jacket, but one community in Scotland is less than enthused. Tweed mills in the Outer Hebrides, where the cloth has been handwoven for centuries, are infuriated at the BBC cult TV show for ditching an authentic 1960s “Clo Mor” jacket for a Chinese, part-acrylic fake. To say that the space-hopping Timelord’s trademark accoutrement could make or break an endangered industry isn’t complete hyperbole. After fans came calling, one of the three remaining mills tracked down the original pattern to produce again.
As soon as the first pictures of Matt Smith as the Doctor landed on the Internet last year, Lorna Macaulay of the Harris Tweed Authority faced a sudden deluge of phone calls from Who fans. “They could see it was Harris Tweed, so they wanted to find out what particular sort it is, and how to get a jacket like it for themselves,” Macaulay told The Times in March 2010.
In April, the BBC had replaced the vintage jacket with a Chinese replica made with 20 percent acrylic.
But when the second season of the series began in April, the BBC had replaced the vintage number for a Chinese replica made with 20 percent acrylic. (A spokeswoman said that Smith asked for a warmer jacket for outside filming.) To add insult to injury, the broadcaster signed an exclusive deal to sell the ersatz blazers through a Canadian company that outsources to China. Sticker price? £360—roughly $577 in Yankee currency.
“Harris Tweed is so special as it is woven by hand on the Western Isles and every 50 meters is stamped by the Harris Tweed authority,” Lydia Walton from Harris Tweed Scotland, a manufacturer of men’s jackets, told The Daily Mail. “I find it very odd that they would use a replica costing £360 when our genuine Harris Tweed jackets retail at £250. Why pay more for a replica than have the original?”
Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil is asking the BBC to reconsider its deal with AbbyShot, which he said represents “a kick in the teeth to one of our most iconic industries.”