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  Riikka   April 16, 2008

One of the BBC’s autumn drama highlights, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, has been hit by a suspected arson attack that has damaged thousands of pounds’ worth of period costumes.

Costume-makers have been roped in to work around the clock to replace outfits lost in the fire for the four-part adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s tragic novel, which stars Bond girl Gemma Arterton.

Arterton, who plays Agent Fields in new Bond movie Quantum Of Solace, plays the lead role alongside a top cast including Anna Massey.

The damage was discovered yesterday morning in a trailer at Tog Hill near Bath, Somerset.

It has been estimated that as much as £150,000 worth of costumes have been affected by the fire. The local fire brigade and police are now investigating.

Fortunately, the leading actors had taken their costumes home with them on Monday evening. Filming is therefore able to continue until the new outfits – designed by The Passion costume designer James Keast – are made.

Local paper the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald reported today that the suspected arsonist set fire to a lorry containing £150,000 worth of costumes.

The driver of the lorry was sleeping in the cab at the time of the incident and was treated for smoke inhalation.

A 17-year-old has been arrested for arson, according to the paper.

The Tess producer, David Snodin, told the Gazette & Herald: “The impact has been enormous on the morale of the crew.”

A BBC spokeswoman declined to reveal how many costumes have been damaged or how much they cost, but said filming and the planned autumn transmission for the Hardy adaptation would not be affected.

“We are able to continue as the costume department is working overtime,” she said. “They will re-create another batch of costumes.”

Filming of Tess is due to finish in May, with the drama transmitted in the autumn on BBC1.

Source: Guardian