BBC costumes to find home at Angels The Costumiers
March 2008: BBC Resources Ltd, a wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC, is delighted to announce that, following strong interest from UK and international companies (and extensive media speculation), it has reached an agreement with Angels The Costumiers for the firm to acquire the BBC costume collection – a deal that ensures , it remains available for use by British film industry professionals and international productions in the UK, and goes to an organisation with strong historical ties to the BBC.
During April 2008, the costumes of the former BBC Costume + Wigs department (based in West London) – including items from BBC TV series such as Extras, Little Britain and Ashes To Ashes – will be absorbed within the 3 million costumes stock currently held by British firm Angels The Costumiers and will be immediately available for hire to TV and film productions from the company’s HQ in Hendon, North London.
Angels The Costumiers - Background
Angels The Costumiers is the world’s longest-established supplier of costumes to the film, theatre, and television industries. Chairman Tim Angel OBE (Former Chairman, BAFTA; Governor, BFI) is the fifth generation of his family to head the firm that bears his name, founded by his great-great grandfather Morris Angel in 1840 as the first source of costume hire for actors attending West End auditions. Diversification has been crucial to the resilience and success of the Angels business: the firm being one of the first costume houses to supply the fledgling British and European film industry, swiftly followed by a move into TV, including work on early BBC productions such as Quatermass and The Forsyte Saga.
Since 1946, when costumes supplied by Angels received a Best Costume Academy Award for Laurence Olivier’s Henry V, Angels The Costumiers has followed suit by supplying costumes to 29 other Best Costume Oscar winning films including Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, Titanic, Gladiator, Marie Antoinette, and this year’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Angels The Costumiers undertakes over 1000 TV, film and theatre projects a year, and has a staff of 120. Outside of the film industry, Angels is best known to the general public for being the UK’s largest supplier of fancy dress from the Angels Fancy Dress flagship store on Shaftesbury Avenue (the site of Morris Angel’s original shop in the 19th Century).
BBC Costume + Wigs – Background
The BBC costume collection contains over a million costumes, and has, since the department’s creation in the thirties, been used by numerous TV, film, theatre, advertising, and pop promo productions. The department specialised in contemporary stock, with a high quality collection of late 20th century items, and a notable Light Entertainment section. Recent credits include Waking the Dead, Ashes to Ashes, Extras, Little Britain, and Hotel Babylon.
BBC Costume + Wigs closed in February 2008. Its future had been under review for some time and after exploring a range of options, it was concluded that the best option was to close the department and dispose of the stock. The agreement with Angels The Costumiers allows for the BBC costume stock to remain within the UK, and be available to British and international TV and film productions in the future.
Tim Angel, Chairman of Angels The Costumiers, says: “We are looking forward to providing a working home for the BBC costume stock. I anticipate that the stock from the latter part of the 20th century will become more popular over the next few years, as TV and film makers increasingly turn to the sixties, seventies, and eighties as decades in which to set quality dramas.”
Mike Southgate, CEO of BBC Resources says: “We’re delighted that the collection will continue to be available to the production community going forward.”
Profits generated by BBC Resources Ltd are returned to the BBC, to be reinvested in programme making.
BBC Costume + Wigs