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Title:You shouldn’t let me see all those buttons – Tenth Doctor’s button analysis
Author:alumfelga
Summary: This is an analysis of the Tenth Doctor's buttons.
Words: About 2500. But there are pictures.
Notes: Spoilers for Tenth Doctor's era, obviously.

Have fun. I did ;)


You shouldn’t let me see all those buttons – Tenth Doctor’s button analysis



It all started with an acticle about men’s fashion rules. There was a rule about wearing both a belt and suspenders (strictly forbidden) and another one about buttoning a jacket in a suit (if it has three or four buttons, you should leave the last one unbuttoned). I wanted to share the link to the article in a certain facebook group, with photos of captain Jack Harkness and the Tenth Doctor as characters that can break those rules and still be awesome. And… I couldn’t find a picture of the Doctor with all his buttons… well, buttoned. I didn’t even know if I should keep looking, if such a picture even existed. That’s when I realised that despite constantly rewatching the episodes and staring at the photos of my favourite Doctor I don’t really have such basic information as in what way he buttons his jackets. I had to change it. And then I remembered David Tennant saying on some commentary that he would change the combination of buttons he fastened between the episodes and that drove people from continuity mad because they had to keep track of it. Considering that he was very conscientious about the Doctor’s glasses I wondered if there was something to be discovered in the button case... I decided to do some research. Here are my results.

Count the buttons. Count the buttons now.



What have I done
I got data about 56 Doctor’s outfits in series 2, 3 and 4, series 4 specials, “Day of the Doctor” and “The Sarah Jane Adventures episode “The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith”. I was only interested in his suits – the brown one and the blue one. If the Doctor wore an outfit, then changed into something else (like a spacesuit) and then changed back, I counted such outfit twice even if he buttoned it exactly the same way he did previously (but I’ve done some calculations when I counted such outfit once to see if it makes any difference. I’ll mention it later). If he didn’t change clothes but rearrange the buttons, I counted the outfit twice. I obviously didn’t count the outfit twice if it reappeared in a flashback scene. I’ve also got three cases when despite a hard work I’m not 100% sure which buttons are buttoned, mostly because of a very short shot. I believe the guesses are strong, though, so I include them in my calculations.


Disclaimer: I’m sure it’s obvious (if not, try to say aloud what is the topic of my analysis) but don’t mistake it for science. It’s some observations, some basic calculations and my thoughts about their possible meaning. I am not drawing any strong conclusions here and I do it for fun.
The first part is data analysis (meaning there’s a lot of numbers) and in the second one I talk about some individual cases. There will be pictures. As always, click the picture to see the original size. I got all screencaps from http://www.quiteunlikely.net/.

Part One: numbers


  1. How exactly does the Doctor buttons his jacket


I numbered the buttons from 1 to 4, one being the top one. I call the buttons arrangement “combinations”, not sure why (it sounded very mathematical). For example, “12” means “top two buttons are buttoned”.

I observed and noted eight combinations: “1”, “2”, “3”, “12”, “23”, “13”, “123” and  “1234”.
It turns out there actually was an episode when the Doctor had his jacket properly buttoned up – two episodes, to be more precise, it was a two-parter - but it was only one time. Now you know. If google had showed me the photo, this post wouldn’t exist.

The most popular is “123”:


Here's a classic “23” and one of my favourite ties:


 Not my favourite episode but a very good shot; an example of “12”:


An example of “13” with a part of a giant wasp:


“1”. Can you guess the episode?


“2”. Four things and a lizard:


“3” or How many shirts is he wearing?:


The only “1234” case:



Such diversity can be easily explained. A suit with a shirt and a tie is a grown-up, formal, authoritative outfit and the Doctor’s ways to break that impression are trainers (not proper shoes for the suit), the way he wears his ties (they are slightly too loose and he often doesn’t button the top button of his shirts – but it’s an issue for another research) and, naturally, the way he buttons the jackets, like he doesn’t want or doesn’t have time to button them properly.

He often has the top button of the shirt unfastened:


Where was I...? Right, analysis. Numbers.

What are the most popular combinations? It turns out the most common one is “123” (17 outfits, 30%), the second one is „12” (15 outfits, nearly 27%) and the third place goes to „23” with 13 outfits and, oddly enough, 23%.  See the first and second column in the table below.

tabela1
Table 1


  1. Combinations and number of buttons vs colour of the suit


When I was collecting data (what is a very serious way to say I was watching Doctor Who with a piece of paper and a pen), I wondered if colour of the suit had any significance in this matter. As you can see in the previous table, there is a difference between the brown suit and the blue one. While for the blue suit “123” remains the most popular combination (6 of 13 blue outfits in total what makes impressive 46%), “12” and “23” share the second place (3 of 13, 23% each). The most common combination for the brown suit is “12” (slightly less than 28%), then goes “123” (nearly 26%) and “23” (23%).

Even more changes when we analyse less popular choices. The only time the Doctor has all his buttons fastened he wears the blue suit. Also, when he has only one button fastened it’s never the blue suit. Look at the Table 2. Data show that on average, he fastens more buttons in the blue suit than in the brown one: 2.6 buttons per outfit for blue one, 2.1 buttons per outfit for the brown one. Counting only 100% sure cases or only different outfits doesn’t change that tendency.

tabela2

Table 2

I’d say there’s probably a difference in the way the suits fit David Tennant. I think I heard somewhere that even apart from the colour, they weren’t identical. The blue one probably looked better with more buttons fastened.


  1. Number of buttons vs seasons


I also thought that it looks like with the years the Doctor buttons more buttons in his suits. The numbers confirm it: the ratio of buttoned buttons per outfit increases from 1.89 for series 2, through 2.29 in series 3 to 2.40 in series four and slightly decreases in series 4’s specials to 2.38 (counting only different outfits decreases the last number to 2.29 but the rising tendency remains; counting only 100% sure cases doesn’t change the tendency). See Table 3.

tabela3
Table 3

But we have already established that the blue suit means more buttons and there was no blue suit in series 2. We should do the calculations for the brown suit only and for the blue suit only. Look at Table 4.

tabela4
Table 4

The results for the blue suit confirm an upward trend: from 2.17 in series 3 to 3 in series 4 and also 3 in series 4’s specials. For the brown suit, on the other hand, we get: 1.89 for series 2, then the ratio rises to 2.36 in series 3, in series 4 decreases to 2 and rises again in the specials to 2.17. So, you know, mixed feelings. However, when we analyse the combinations, it turns out that when the Doctor wears the suit with only one button fastened, in 5 cases of 7 (71%) it’s series 2. It happens only once in series 3 and once in series 4. It doesn’t happen in series 4’s specials.


  1. Combinations and seasons


The Doctor’s favourite combinations for series 2 are “23” (32%) and “12” (26%). In series 3, he wears “123” and “23” 6 times each, which is 35%. In series 4, he goes for “12” in 40% cases. The informal “13” combination debuts in series 4, and also series 4 is the only time we see the “1234” combination. The Doctor stops wearing the “23” combination in series 4 and for most series 4 specials – it only comes back once in “The End of Time”. Does that mean anything apart from David Tennant looking for new ideas each year? Is the lack of new ways to arrange the buttons the real reason why he decided to quit the show after four years? ;)


  1. Do ties have something to do with it?


Well, if you ask… 10 times out of 56 the Doctor doesn’t wear a tie and I thought wearing/not wearing a tie might be significant when it comes to buttons. It turns out no tie means less buttons (1.9 buttons per outfit, 2.21 being an average for all episodes and all outfits). In five cases of 10 the Doctor chooses the “23” combination, he goes for “12” twice and once for “2”, “3” and “123”. In seven cases out of 10 he doesn’t button the top button.

However, less buttons don’t exactly mean: no tie. Out of 7 cases when the Doctor has only one button buttoned, he doesn’t wear a tie only twice.

But the combination “23” means no tie in 5 cases out of 13 (34%) and, considering the fact that no-tie outfits are only 18% of all of them, it’s significant.


Click here for Part two! There will be more pictures!

Comments

( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
aletheiafelinea
Sep. 14th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
...Wow.
Some serious fangirling here. :)

If google had showed me the photo, this post wouldn’t exist.
Thanks Internet gods Google isn't omniscient yet.
...Then again, what if it already is, and decided not to show it, knowing the consequences? :)

(Is it a bow? With a long coat, oh my heart...)

Edited at 2015-09-14 06:27 pm (UTC)
alumfelga
Sep. 14th, 2015 08:31 pm (UTC)
Some serious fangirling here. :)
You know, for science ;D But real fangirling starts now, I've previewied so many episodes and now I need to watch them properly ;)

Then again, what if it already is, and decided not to show it, knowing the consequences?
It fits, everything is sentient in the Whoniversum. It's only a matter of time when there will be an episode about it ;)

Is it a bow? With a long coat, oh my heart...
Tell me about it! It was an off-screen adventure, one short scene is all we got. Moffaaat!

Edited at 2015-09-14 08:31 pm (UTC)
aletheiafelinea
Sep. 14th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
It was an off-screen adventure, one short scene is all we got.
Now, that's cruel... o___o
(You can always imagine Moffat as the exercise target. ^^)
(no subject) - alumfelga - Sep. 14th, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aletheiafelinea - Sep. 14th, 2015 11:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
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dieastra
Sep. 15th, 2015 03:08 pm (UTC)
It was an off-screen adventure, one short scene is all we got.

Doing something with action figure Ten and a bow has always been my plan. Thank you for reminding me of it. Any ideas / suggestions / input? :)
(no subject) - alumfelga - Sep. 15th, 2015 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
dieastra
Sep. 15th, 2015 03:15 pm (UTC)
I love you and your posts. They are always quality ones! I also do wonder now what you do for a living, as this sounds quite professional. You didn't do this for the first time, am I right? ;)

And all this time, I never even noticed about the different buttons. I probably wouldn't even have noticed the blue suit if people hadn't pointed it out... I really don't pay attention to what people wear. It is not important for me. I noticed the tux though! That was awesome.

I wonder now though: Who did the buttons? Was it David Tennant himself? Or wardrobe people? This sounds like a fun question to ask at a convention ;) "Who dressed you and why are the buttons always differently" LOL

In all seriousness though, if I was you, I'd post this to doctorwho A lot more people would see it there than here, and you'll probably get some lovely comments. People like to discuss things like this, and without any new episodes at the moment, the community has been a bit quiet.

alumfelga
Sep. 15th, 2015 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I would be very happy if I could do something Doctor Who related for a living ;) I study Mathematics at the university, although data analysis isn't my top interest and I don't really have much knowlegde in this matter. That's why I did very basic calculations, no correlation coefficients or anything like that. But I learned a thing or two about presenting the results of the work on my Physics classes when I had to do a series of measurements in the lab and then analyse the data, draw the conclusions and write everything up, with tables and graphs. Apparently, I've got some habits. If only I could end all my analyses with a picture of a naked handsome man... ;)

In real life, I don't pay much attention to what people wear (except the conventions. Then I'm like "great t-shirt/bag/necklace/anything, where did you get it?") but I like thinking about characters' costumes in terms of how they reflect their personalities. I won't tell you how many jumpers the Ninth Doctor had but I find it significant that he didn't like bright colours and his costume was very military. And while some Eleven's outfits caused almost a physical pain, he always claimed he looked "cool". And Twelfth wore various things: shirts, hoodies, vests, jumpers, like he wasn't 100% sure who he was and how he was like. With Tenth, I just went a bit further, I like looking at him ;)

I'd love to ask David Tennant about the buttons at a convention! I'd be wondering if I went nuts and he'd just tell me it was a coincidence or if he's more geeky than me and he'd tell a whole story about the buttons. Never know.

I wonder now though: Who did the buttons? Was it David Tennant himself? Or wardrobe people?
I think it was him, though. He was the one who kept looking for scenes when he could put on the glasses and he was very conscientious about it. He was the one who wanted another suit in series 3. I think he was the one who had the last word.

I've done what other people do with fanfiction and posted a link in the community. I prefer posting in my journal at the moment. Thanks for an idea.

Edited at 2015-09-15 06:34 pm (UTC)
gentlehobbit
Sep. 16th, 2015 02:33 am (UTC)
Hee! This was fun to read. Thank you for your scholarly treatise on this oh-so-very-serious subject. I had heard about how DT liked to vary his buttoning, but it seemed that every time I looked to count, he had 1,2,3. Now I know which episodes to check for the rare Button Patterns.

:D
alumfelga
Sep. 16th, 2015 05:36 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! Basicly, I did all this work so no one else has to. Unless he wants to.

Thanks for stopping by! :)
dieastra
Sep. 19th, 2015 10:15 am (UTC)
I've done what other people do with fanfiction and posted a link in the community. I prefer posting in my journal at the moment. Thanks for an idea.

Yes, that's what I meant. Post a link to your LJ and collect all comments there. I see it worked! I do it regularly with my figure pictures but sometimes people still comment in the group and then I am not sure if they saw the rest of the story, as I only post one teaser pic.

When I was very new to LJ, I posted my first story to my own journal and then sat there waiting for comments - of course nothing happened. That was when I realized that I have to go where the people are, as nobody will come looking for my tiny little journal in the big space of the internet.

So, if you ever have something you think the world might be interested in - post it to a community. This is another one I really like, it is for all kind of handmade stuff: http://crafty-tardis.livejournal.com/

As for how to find communities - I often like to check the profiles of friends or other people, there are lists of which communities they are members. I have found some very funny or weird or interesting ones that way, that I never would have looked for otherwise.
alumfelga
Sep. 19th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
I see it worked!
I'm still in shock how well :)

When I was very new to LJ, I posted my first story to my own journal and then sat there waiting for comments - of course nothing happened.
It's not easy when you have to discover everything on your own, is it? Fortunately, my friend aletheiafelinea told me a lot about LJ, and you and other people were also very helpful. Left on my own, I'd be lost here.

This is another one I really like, it is for all kind of handmade stuff: http://crafty-tardis.livejournal.com/
People are so talented there! Good place for your amazing action figures customisation :)

I have found some very funny or weird or interesting ones that way, that I never would have looked for otherwise.
Any particular funny/weird ones to share? ;)
(no subject) - dieastra - Sep. 19th, 2015 08:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
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shyfoxling
Sep. 18th, 2015 05:10 am (UTC)
You're not the first person to do this analysis, though the other person's username is escaping my mind at the moment. Not meaning that as a disparaging remark; just saying it's amusing that the same topics seem to seize fangirls' minds!

Data show that on average, he fastens more buttons in the blue suit than in the brown one ...
I’d say there’s probably a difference in the way the suits fit David Tennant.


He's said the blue ones were baggier, or something like that, so you're probably near the mark there.
alumfelga
Sep. 18th, 2015 04:45 pm (UTC)
It came trough my mind that in such a big fandom someone might have been thinking about it but it hasn't put me off. I'll go and look, now when I'm finished with it :)

He's said the blue ones were baggier
Mystery solved. :P
acciochocolate
Sep. 18th, 2015 04:45 pm (UTC)
The buttons are a puzzler, but this clears things up! I'm always looking at Ten costumers and inwardly thinking abt how the tie isn't knotted correctly, or wondering why they are wearing a white shirt, so this gives me more data to study.

BTW, this would be a perfect post for the dw_cosplay comm, found here

http://dw-cosplay.livejournal.com/profile

If you aren't a member, you have to join to post/read, alas, due to evil spammers. There's no post on Ten's buttons there, so this would be a welcome addition!
alumfelga
Sep. 18th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
I'm always looking at Ten costumers and inwardly thinking abt how the tie isn't knotted correctly
Is it? You mean, it's too loose (I noticed it, too) or there's something wrong with the knots themselves?

or wondering why they are wearing a white shirt
Can I ask, as a person equally interested in Tenth's costume, why white shirts are of your particular concern? ;)

Thank you for the link to the community! All those pics! I mean, all the data ;) I'll link my post if you think someone would be interested in it.
acciochocolate
Sep. 18th, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Ties: mostly I noticed that they sometimes have the knot pushed up all way; Ten usually wore his pushed down a little bit.

Shirts: as far I know, he never wore a white shirt. :)

The comm has links to costume breakdowns for many Who'verse characters; there's several for Ten, as an example.

I found both posts abt the buttons to be fascinating, so please post, if you like. :)
(no subject) - alumfelga - Sep. 18th, 2015 11:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dieastra - Sep. 19th, 2015 10:09 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 44 comments — Leave a comment )