Angels in tailor-made deal for BBC's costume closets

Sale is part of streamlining plan

The BBC's costume department, responsible for creating indelible images for such classic TV projects as "I, Claudius" and "Blackadder," has been sold to Oscar-winning costumer Angels for an undisclosed sum, the pubcaster said Tuesday.

The department is part of the BBC's wholly owned commercial subsidiary BBC Resources, which the pubcaster is in the process of selling off piecemeal as part of ongoing plans to cut costs and increase efficiency.

BBC Costume and Wigs began life as a store for the collars and cuffs worn by early TV presenters and newsreaders. According to the BBC's Web site, the department grew into an operation hiring out 15,000 outfits a year, with a profit of more than £1.3 million in recent years.

The deal with Angels, which will involve more than 1 million items, is likely to mean that the archive of costumes will remain available to the British film industry and international productions in the U.K.

Angels is the U.K.'s largest supplier of costumes to the film and TV industry and has provided garb for projects ranging from "Star Wars" to "Elizabeth: The Golden Age."

The BBC's collection of about 10,000 wigs has been sold separately to a new company formed by former employees of the costume department.