His Dark Materials costume designers switch to making medical scrubs

  • Published
His Dark Materials
Image caption,
Production on the next series of His Dark Materials has been halted

The team who created the costumes for TV series His Dark Materials have switched to sewing scrubs for medical staff working to fight Covid-19.

The Philip Pullman adaptation's costume crew set up Helping Dress Medics on Sunday, and have now attracted help from designers around the UK.

The author himself has said he is "delighted it's happening".

Costume designer Caroline McCall said support for their initiative had been "extraordinary".

She told BBC News the idea came about when she was chatting with the show's costume supervisor Dulcie Scott about what they would do now production on the next series had been halted due to the pandemic.

"We were aware of the many and varied talents within the film industry that would not be in use at this time," she said.

"When we realised there was a lack of PPE [personal protective equipment], and specifically scrubs, Dulcie contacted health professionals local to her to find out if and how we could help."

A fundraising page has already raised more than £12,000 to buy materials.

The buyer from His Dark Materials is sourcing the fabric and trim and then sending it to costume makers in different regions of the country. They allocate it to other designers and tailors in their area, who are offering their skills for free.

"We are helping hospitals local to the costume makers. We have makers now in Wales, Sussex, Cotswolds, Plymouth, Malvern, Manchester and Liverpool," McCall explained.

The first sets of scrubs was expected to be ready on Tuesday after materials began to arrive on Monday.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Caroline McCall has won two Costume Designers Guild Awards for Downton Abbey

McCall, who has also worked on Downton Abbey and Doctor Who, said they are a standard pattern, which makes things easier.

"There is one design, so no-one is questioning it. They are an easy pattern to reproduce compared to many of the costumes these talented makers are used to producing. And with their level of experience they can be made very quickly."

Should any money be left over, the group will pass it on to one of the companies who have repurposed their 3D printing facilities to make protective face shields for the NHS.

McCall said: "Dulcie asked for £1,500 and we've made nearly 10 times that. The more money we make the more fabric we can buy, the more scrubs we can produce."

There are other initiatives to help NHS staff, too - one nurse in Lincolnshire has set up a Facebook group to get people making PPE clothing from home and more than 9,000 have joined.

Ashleigh Linsdell said within the first two days of setting up For The Love Of Scrubs, an army of volunteers made 260 sets of scrubs for their local hospitals.

Around the BBC