Costume

The costume for the Mystery of Rorrim was principally designed and created by Pauline Loven of Crow’s Eye Productions.

Joanna Read designed and made her own costume and the clothes worn by the Doctor and Alice were designed and assembled by Emma Kennedy.

The following is an account by Pauline on the background behind the design and making of the costumes.

The (no-budget) costume brief for the Mystery of Rorrim was as follows:

The Beachcomber – an eccentric chap gathering detritus on the strand line between space and time; he was previously connected with some sort of unknown group/military organisation, but has been isolated for some time. Sea Colours.

The Vigil – A monastic group on a distant planet dressed in cloaks and gowns.

Abigail – a young woman from the 1880’s who is hired by the Doctor to prepare the 1880′s house for his visit.

Hetty – an 11 year old school girl from 1940’s war time

The Anglo-Saxons – a farmstead group

 

The Costumes:

Beachcomber

I decided, in designing this costume, that the Beachcomber was once a member of a space crew, so the basis of his clothing was military style boots, trousers and sweatshirt. The trousers were purchased new, re-dyed (for the sea colours requested by the director) and thrown into a cement mixer to break them down. We then wanted to add the ragged look of a scavenger, so I layered a series of loosely constructed garments and cloths which would flap in the wind to give an interesting outline. I then added lots of scavenged items from time, space and beach! I added a 17th c. Baldrick (sword belt), a medieval dagger and a 20th c. catapult. Beachcomber was also given a chain onto which he attached larger finds, such as an old plimsoll and a Cyberman head. To complete his look, various weathered trophies were attached to his clothes, such as shells and insignia from known and unknown space travellers (including the Apollo Mission, Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Gallactica)!  We cast for this role an Archaeologist (naturally!), Neil Parker, who arrived with headscarf and beaded beard of his own!

 

The Vigil

Photo (c) Pauline Loven 

For this we needed six costumes. I recycled some Jedi style outfits from the Crow’s Eye Productions’ wardrobe for the men and gave them staffs that were props from the Luttrell Psalter film. I then had just the three women’s costumes to make. One of our volunteer actors is costume designer Joanna Read and she volunteered to make her own gown (above left). The High Priestess and her handmaiden had gowns inspired by the Minoan Snake Goddesses of the Bronze Age, but with the bodice adjusted for modestly! The colour of the Priestess’ clothes was chosen to stand out against the golden/cream colours of the Jurassic limestone quarry.

 

Abigail

This was quite simple. We just needed a plain 1880’s gown and we already had all the foundation garments in the wardrobe (chemise, corset, bustle petticoat etc.). It was just a matter of choosing a fabric and creating a plain, princess line gown (though made in two parts; skirt and bodice). I chose a black fabric from stock which had small Tardis-blue flower sprigs on it. We tested the black on the camera before I cut it out and it was fine (some backs can look reddish/brown). It also suited our pretty actress with her English rose complexion and red gold hair.

 

Hetty

I made Hetty a gymslip from an original 1930’s pattern which had to be adjusted slightly for a modern 11 year-old, but otherwise helped to dictate not only the style, but the fashionable skirt length of the period. She had hand-knitted ribbons in her hair. Hetty was played by Sophie Halse, and we were able to borrow the badge and school tie that her grandmother (also called Hetty) had worn during the war. I gave Sophie the gymslip at the end of the shoot as a keepsake.

 

Anglo-Saxon family

The clothes worn by the Anglo-Saxon family had previously been made by me for another production and consisted of simple layers of wool tunics over linen ones, decorated with table-woven braid and fastened with brooches of bronze. The woman, Elfida, and the girl, Freya, also wore replica Anglo-Saxon glass beads around their necks.

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