Comic Con Essentials–Make your own Doctor Who scarf from original BBC specs


If you have someone who is awesome enough to make Adam Baldwin’s famous, cunning, Jayne Cobb knitted hat from Firefly (as we did back in 2013 here at then you may have a chance to go back to that special person another time to get your Doctor Who fix and add some convention-appropriate garb to your stash for future events.  With the Jayne hat, it’s double the fun to have your mother (or other relative or friend) hand-knit the hat, since it was Jayne’s mother who created the hat for him as part of the TV episode.

This time, it’s the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and his famous knitted scarf, worn by every fourth fan at every respectable Comic Con you’ve ever attended.  And Petronella Osgood in “The Day of the Doctor.”

Baker, who appeared on BBC’s 50+ year, sci-fi classic Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981 as the Fourth Doctor, is currently crossing franchise streams, voicing the large, wise creature called the Bendu on the DisneyXD animated series Star Wars Rebels.

Wil Wheaton at a Con in his own copy of the Fourth Doctor’s scarf.

But Baker has become synonymous with that scarf.  Unlike the pattern that has become the accepted duplicate of Jayne’s hat throughout the land of knitters (the original wasn’t production-made so no original instructions exist although an accepted version is easily available on the Web), the BBC actually handed out the pattern instructions to knit your own Tom Baker scarf back in the 1980s.  Thanks to an article from Tor and two bloggers posting their memories over the past several years, below you can download the instructions that the BBC gave out to what must have been a routine inquiry from fans over the years.

If you want help with picking out easily available manufacturers and colors for wool yarn (and acrylic recommendations for those allergic to wool), check out a recent update (and compare pattern notes) at  There you can also see the difference between what Baker wore on-screen as the original scarf, or its updates in each of seasons 15-18 of the series.  (Click below images to enlarge).

bbc_instructions_for_tom_baker_4th_doctor_s_scarf_by_93fangshadow-d4qrp44   bbc-doctor-who-instructions

Why did the BBC use such an obnoxiously long scarf for Baker’s Doctor?  The 20-foot long scarf was the result of costume designer James Acheson dropping off a load of wool to knitter Begonia Pope, who knit the original scarf for Baker thinking Acheson intended for all the wool to be used.  Brilliant!

Note that we hear that “plain knitting” in UK knit-speak means garter stitch or “knit every row.”   Size 4 UK needles is actually closer to a 10 U.S. needle (see the handwritten notes on the instructions specifying a 9, and that 25 grams of yarn is a U.S. ounce of yarn).  You may not need to know this, but your knitting friend that you forward this to will.


Now if we only had as easy a pattern for Sylvester McCoy’s question mark vest from his stint as the seventh Doctor…  For that we hear this pattern is the way to go, and all a good knitter needs is this template:


Happy knitting!

C.J. Bunce

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