Wednesday 25 November 2015

Dressed By Angels - CLOSED!

I can’t believe it!!!!

After only going to see the Dressed By Angels exhibition on Friday,  I read today on Facebook that it has closed with immediate effect!

Sure enough the website is now down, replaced by a sorry notice.

The exhibition was supposed to run until January, but is now gone.
I’m stunned.

Having spoken to a friend who knows a little of the inside to this, I hear the choice of venue was really a nail in the coffin and the relatively thin displays did not help.

It’s sad that it closed so quickly, but I’m grateful i got to see it when I did.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Dressed By Angels - Fourth Doctor display

As you’ll have read, I went this week to see the Dressed By Angels exhibition in London’s East End.
There was lots on display, which I’ve already written about, but I wanted to take a bit of time to show you the Doctor Who section.

They decided to focus on the Fourth Doctor’s costume, and how it was assembled from rack items at Angels.

How much of that is really true I would question, as the frock coats and scarf were all custom-made, but I would say a dressing up day was held to find a style and look for The Doctor before refining the pieces that make up the costume.

The rack, with a variety of scarves, jackets, waistcoats and trousers is trying to give a feel of what that search might have been like.

And the pile of clothes on the floor evokes the discarded choices along the way.

On the wall at the back was an amazing display of June Hudson’s original charcoal sketch of Tom’s final costume for season 18.

It was stunning to see it for real so close up.

Accompanying it was a display of swatches for the coat as well as the Norfolk jacket worn briefly underneath.

It was a shame the lighting was quite low-key, which made reading the hand written notes almost impossible.

On the wall nearby is a display card explaining part of the history of the Doctor Who costume and Angels’ involvement in it down the years.

On the day I went to the exhibition, we had a tour guide to show us around and discuss the costumes. He lingered at the Doctor Who display, but sadly a lot of his comments and input was not entirely correct, given the things we know about how the costumes have been created.

Friday 20 November 2015

Dressed By Angels - the full tour

This week I took a little bit of well earned time off to go and visit an exhibition in London’s East End.

It was a display of costumes made by Angels Costumiers, the world’s largest single costume maker and supplier to film and tv in the UK, as well as around the globe.

Through the years, and a series of take-overs, they have amassed an archive of costume from some truly great films, so I knew this exhibition would be worth the trip.

It goes without saying there is a bit of Doctor Who on show, so I not entirely off duty!
I will do a separate posting about the Doctor Who display to do it justice, so what I have written about below excludes this, plus some stuff I am not personally interested in.
When I bought my ticket online I noticed there was also an opportunity to go with a tour guide to show you around and give some background information on the displays. I therefore booked for today’s 11am tour.

The venue was somewhat hard to find - in fact it is hidden away in an alley off Brick Lane, then down stairs into a basement of what was once a brewery.

I guessed it would be a bit tricky to locate, so I did allow some extra time for my journey, which actually meant I had time before the official tour to have a nose round on my own to see what was on show.

As we moved past the early days of costme for Victorian music halls, we came to a display of 1930s usherette costumes.

These were made by Angels for the cinemas sprouting up across the UK at the time, making visiting them a more eventful and special experience.

Moving on we came to the early days of film, with the cape, hat and scarf from The Lodger, one of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest silent movies.

Film adaptations of Dicken’s Novels on show included A Tale Of Two Cities, Oliver! and Great Expectations.

I was amused to see the trousers of the Artful Dodger were made from pillow ticket, in just the same way The Sixth Doctor’s were.

We then came to the first of my childhood influences - The Red Shoes.

It was stunning to see the actual shoes and ballet dress on show. I had never seen them before.

Next to The Red Shoes was another Powell and Pressburger classic, A Matter Of Life And Death. This time the RAF uniform worn by David Niven for the film.

Moving to the 1950s, we then saw costumes from the classic St Trinian’s films, always a favourite of mine.

Alongside this was a display of various armed forces uniforms from the likes of Band Of Brothers etc.

Not far away was a composited Sherlock Holmes costume, made up in part of an Inverness cape worn by Peter Cushing in the Hammer Hound Of The Baskervilles, as well as a suit underneath from the 1968 BBC version.

This was next to a glass cabinet containing Peter Sellers’ tweed hat and moustache from his Pink Panther films of the 1960s and 70s.

I was then stopped in my tracks to see costumes from The Boyfriend - a Ken Russell film of the early 1970s which inspired much of my love the how film is made.

These costumes were worn by lead stars Twiggy and Christopher Gable (of Caves Of Androzani Fame).

Next was Heath Ledger’s last costume as he worn in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

Followed by Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford from the biopic Mommie Dearest.

Sitting in a chair opposite was Ernst Stavro Blofeld as depicted in You Only Live Twice, complete with white cat.

That particular bond film was screenplay by Roald Dahl, as was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, another Broccoli adaptation of a Ian Fleming novel.

On display here was the Childcatcher, as played by Robert Helpmann, and Truly Scrumptious, as played by Sally Ann Howes.
the Childcatcher scared the life out of me, as I’m sure it did many who saw it.

Moving on, I came to something else that scared the life out of me as a child - Dracula, as played by Christopher Lee in the many Hammer films he did in the 1960s and early 70s.

This, like many of the other displays, is quite wittily done. The blank faceless mannequins are dotted with occasional make-up references, and this one has the fang marks and blood from the maiden’s neck!

Separated off into a small room was a display of various BBC comedy programmes from the 1970s and 80s.  Here was Manwearing from Dad’s Army (also the upcoming film version); Margot Ledbetter from The Good Life; as well as the Batman and Robin fancy dress outfits from Only Fools And Horses.

Also here was Glenda Jackson’s Cleopatra outfit from her appearance on the iconic Morecambe & Wise Christmas special.

Bringing things more up to date were costumes from The Lady In The Van, and A Theory Of Everything.

These are good examples of modern period pieces, and how costumes are often newly made, but broken down to age them prior to filming.

As part of the modern period display there was also robes worn by Helen Mirren as The Queen; as well as Margret Thatcher as played by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady.

Moving into the world of pop music, there was a flamboyant head-dress worn by Annie Lennox for her Diva solo album. This I found out had originally been made for the Roger Moore Octopussy Bond film.

Another 80s favourite of mine, Adam Ant, was represented by his ornate military tunic. This had been made for The Charge Of The Light Brigade.

Also here was a set of Sargent Pepper tunics, but these came from the opening ceremony.

On show were costumes from a variety of Oscar winning films. These included Peter O’Toole as Lawrence Of Arabia; Russell Crowe’s leather uniform from Gladiator.

Also here was Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones outfit and Alec Guinness as Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, and a montage from Titanic.

All in all it is quite a good exhibition, covering many popular films and tv shows. There was space for more stuff, so it was disappointing it hadn’t been filled as well as it could have been. That said every piece was worth seeing and with the photo displays alongside you could clearly see everything was original and screen worn.

Monday 16 November 2015

Bonhams FLASHBACK: 16th & 17th November 2005 Rock n' Roll & Film Memorabilia

I’ve been researching the Entertainment Memorabilia auctions at Bonhams, and it was EXACTLY 10 years ago today that Tom’s scarf, last worn in Shada, was sold along with a number of other classic series items.

Here’s what was on offer.
As usual I have separated the items by Doctor era, and you can see the rest of the items here:

Here are just the lots relating to the Fourth Doctor era

Lot 610
A K-9 model,
grey fabric with felt detailing, a US toy merchandise prototype, approx. 56cm (22in) long
Estimate £100 - 150
Sold for £90

Lot 611
'Dr. Who': The Master's 'tissue compression eliminator' (miniaturising gun), the prop in black-painted brass with electric wiring, as used by Anthony Ainley throughout the 1980s in his portrayal of The Doctor's nemesis, 23cm (9in) long.
Estimate £700 - 900
Sold for £1,440

Lot 614
A model of the Tardis,

1980s, made of balsa, base with switch and marked in red 002 B.N., top with light, 16in (6¼in) high
Estimate £200 - 300
Sold for £228

Lot 618
Dr. Who': Tom Baker's trademark oversized woollen scarf, multi-coloured stripes with several patches, fringed ends, approximately 20ft long.
Tom Baker was the fourth incarnation of The Doctor, portraying him between December 1974-March 1981.
Estimate £4,000 - 5,000
Sold for £7,800

Lot 622
'Dr. Who': a Tardis roundel,
fibreglass, with traces of black and grey paint, indicating use in the Tardis of both The Doctor and The Master, believed to be the last surviving example from the original Tardis, 55cm (21½in) diameter

Estimate: £500 - 700

Lot 622A
A collection of Dr Who costumes
Estimate £40 - 60
Sold for £312

Lot 624A
A model of the Tardis,

1980s, balsa, wired for light, base with on/off switch, 15cm (6in) high
Estimate £200 - 300
£200 - 300

Lot 625
A model of the Tardis,

1980s, in balsa, 11cm (4¼in) high
Estimate £100 - 150
Sold for £90

Lot 627
A K-9 model,

a US toy merchandise prototype, in silver lamé with felt details, collar with Doctor Who Fan Club of America label, approx 60cm (24in) long
Estimate £100 - 150
£100 - 150

Lot 630
To be sold to benefit The Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity: The Dalek Supreme (aka The Tussaud’s Dalek), 1970's the painted wooden body applied with plastic hemispheres and mounted with exterminator gun and suction arm at the front, the swivelling dome section with flashing lights and articulated eye stalk 160cm(63in) high

BBC Television (Madame Tussaud’s Waxwork Museum, 1980–1981); Christies, 3rd July 1986, BBC Woman's Hour Red Cross Appeal for Sudan;

A UK private collection

The dreaded Daleks are perhaps the most popular of all on-screen villains ever created by the entertainment industry. The Tussaud’s Dalek offered for sale today has developed a complex provenance of its own.

In 1979, four Daleks were required for the BBC Dr. Who story, Destiny of the Daleks‚ starring Tom Baker. The BBC production unit had no budget to build new props so had to make use instead of three old 1960s Daleks along with four so-called Goon Dalek props made for the filming of Planet of the Daleks‚ in 1973.

One original Dalek was butchered to provide moulds for vacuum-forming more Dalek parts. Two of the four Goon props were in such bad condition they were scrapped, and the base section of one of the others was badly damaged. Consequently, the BBC unit found itself with two 1960s Dalek props, one Goon‚ and only the top half of another in useable condition.

The BBC had previously made an exhibition Dalek which was now used to make up the shortfall. The good top half of the Planet of the Daleks Goon‚ was then grafted on to the exhibition Dalek skirt and so this Dalek was born! An interesting point is that this evil entity was blown up‚ in Destiny of the Daleks, by a pyrotechnic fire flash, the scorch marks still remaining visible under the prop’s interior seat. It was subsequently repaired for future use.

After Destiny of the Daleks ‚ this prop passed to Madame Tussaud’s Waxwork Museum to accompany the figure of Dr. Who actor, Tom Baker. It was displayed there from 1980 until summer 1981, painted in its unique blue, silver and black livery in which it featured on the front cover of the Radio Times in 1983 for the 20th Dr. Who Anniversary.

No other Dalek was painted in these colours. The specific shade - traced recently - is Porsche Riviera Blue and surprisingly can apparently only be mixed to order. Meanwhile this prop’s period on display earned it the name by which it has subsequently become known – “The Tussaud’s Dalek”.

In February 1984, it was re-painted black with white hemispheres to feature in Resurrection of the Daleks as the Dalek Supreme. It was then featured in promotion for this story‚ having been again painted in the standard dark grey of normal Daleks in which form it had also appeared briefly during the fight sequences in the last episode.

In March 1985 it made its final TV appearance, in Revelation of the Daleks.

The Tussaud’s Dalek was sold in 1986 as part of a BBC charity auction, for the Red Cross Sudan Appeal, to a private UK Collection where it has remained since. Unfortunately it had been very badly refurbished for the Sale, losing many original features and was painted an incorrect pale grey.

In 2004, following extensive research, it was painstakingly restored to its correct Tussaud’s display form, with the addition of a voice-box.

Distinguishing marks today:
1. The Tussaud’s Dalek skirt is block-board and ply, unlike the other Daleks which wore fibreglass skirts.
2. The skirt has a similar angle at the back and front
3. The skirt has an extra lip around the bottom of the skirt section
4. The hemispheres are 4.5-inches in diameter. All other Daleks featured 4-inch diameter hemispheres.
5. The misalignment of the hemispheres is unique and makes this Dalek easy to track from one story to another.
6. The shoulder section had four bolts around the oval until it was refurbished in 1986 - the lower right bolt was larger than the other three.
7. The Tussaud’s Dalek has three rows of bolt heads between the hemispheres on the skirt. These were actually filled prior to the refurbishment and have been subsequently reinstated.

Thus the Tussaud’s Dalek is an entirely unique example of the breed, and seeks a good home, without threat of extermination.

Sold for £36,000