According to a report in the London Times, the BBC has tried to raise money by selling its fabled Costumes and Wigs Department. It failed and now the BBC has announced that the shop will cease “trading” (meaning it won’t be renting out anything). The department supplied such well-known productions as the acclaimed TV comedy Black Adder and the Helen Mirren-Oscar-winning movie, The Queen. The department stock — some one million costumes and 12,000 hairprieces — will be shipped to an Oxford warehouse until their future is cleared up.
It could not come at a worse time for the drama department, which has announced a series of period pieces to capitalise on the success of Cranford, the Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation [coming to PBS in May]. A new Tess of the D’Urbervilles is in production along with Andrew Davies’ take on the Dickens classic, Little Dorrit. . . .
A permanent closure would also hit film production – last year Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette won the Best Costume Design Oscar. It used 400 items hired from the department.