Rubbertoe Psychic Paper Write Up by James Sutton
The Psychic Paper first appeared alongside Christopher Eccleston in the 2005 story “The End of the World” and it was the brainchild of Russell T Davies.
“It’s a very simple device, the Psychic Paper, it’s like a Policeman showing his ID.
I just wanted something, that sometimes would help him to say, “let me in” and they just let him in, and you wouldn’t question it. It’s just a slightly faster way of storytelling.” – Russell T Davies (Doctor Who Confidential 2005)
It continued through to David Tennant and Matt Smith, and in Series 2 they introduced the ability for messages to be seen on the paper, most notably in New Earth and in Silence in the Library.
It was briefly replaced by a different prop during Series 8 and 9, however the original prop made its return with Peter Capaldi in Series 10 and continued with Jodie Whittaker until Present day at the time of Writing.
The original prop was a modified Driving Licence Holder. The exterior is made from black leather, with an imprinted stamp on the front cover which originally had a silver colouring in the text, however the colouring was removed prior to filming. This stamp has been visible a few times throughout its appearances on the show, one of the most obvious times was during a scene with Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole in Revolution of The Daleks.
Besides the stamp there were 2 other major modifications made to the prop that were featured on its interior. Inside the prop lies a herringbone lining fabric. The first modification made was the cutting down of the inside leather edges to allow the holding window to be more visible. In this process this ripped some of the herringbone lining, giving it a distinctive tear displaying the white interfacing fabric underneath it. The second modification made was to the inside leather flap. This was cut down into a triangular shape due to it originally having the word “Insurance” on the cut half to further disguise this being a shop bought prop.
We managed to source an accurate Driving Licence Holder in the same style and then refined this further with high quality references of the original filming prop. This allowed us to make these replicas to the exact dimensions as the one seen on the show using the correct materials.
From there we custom made some of the psychic paper inserts to match the graphics seen on screen where applicable and added a few extra ones based on some of the other psychic illusions that were supposedly displayed on the paper throughout the show for fun.
A big thanks to the team behind the wallet;
Leather work by Kasim Rehman Bhatti
Materials and research by James Sutton
Graphics by Josh Martin
Patterns by Daniel Howard.