Robert dressing top children’s TV stars

He has helped dress some of the most recognisable faces on children’s television.

Robert gets down to business in his workshop. He has just completed an exhausting schedule for a series of television shows.
Robert gets down to business in his workshop. He has just completed an exhausting schedule for a series of television shows.

The cast of In the Night Garden, Zingzillas, The Fimbles, Justin Fletcher and Bernard Cribbins are just a few of those to have benefited from the creative talents of Shropshire’s Robert Skidmore.

The film and television costume designer has just completed an exhausting schedule which has included the CBeebies hit show Justin’s House, the channel’s Christmas panto and latest addition, Old Jack’s Boat.

But there is no rest for Robert as he also runs his own vintage clothes shop, Berties, in Craven Arms, which has just been shortlisted for a national magazine award.

He opened his shop five years ago after a lull in his costume work.

“And before I knew it I was running a vintage clothes shop,” he said.

After three years making his mark on the High Street, Robert outgrew the site and moved around the corner to Market Street – his current premises.

He stocks his boutique with a stunning collection of genuine glamorous vintage dresses, hats and accessories, from the 1920s through to the 1960s, as well as haberdashery.

“My idea was to create a glamorous world for people to enter to look at and try on beautiful garments,” said Robert.

He describes it as a hobby – but he is passionate about the clothes he chooses.

“There is no point in doing it unless you do it 100 per cent. The stock has got to be perfect.”

And that perfection has lured people into Craven Arms simply to visit the shop. It has even led to meetings with a famous Hollywood A lister.

It has also caught the eye of a panel of experts, including fashion designer Wayne Hemingway, as Berties has been shortlisted by the Home & Antiques Magazine for Best Vintage Shop.

“It is really lovely to be nominated and I really hope people will vote,” said Robert.

He started his career as a puppeteer at the Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre at the Midland Arts Centre in Birmingham.

He then went on to gain a degree in costume design before returning to puppetry and costume making for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and then for three years on a West End theatre production of Dr Dolittle.

Robert has also worked on film blockbusters including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – he created the ‘fat suit’ for Augustus Gloop – Judge Dredd, Never Ending Story, The Flintstones and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

But it is children’s television where Robert has found his niche, although he admits he would like to try his hand at designing costumes for a big period drama.

He was costume supervisor on pre-schoolers’ hit In the Night Garden for two years, filming on location in woodland in Stratford and in the studio, before moving on to Zingzillas.

He was also a puppeteer on the Roly Mo show and has been involved with the puppets on many shows including Nuzzle and Scratch, Mr Blooms and latterly Get Well Soon assisting and creating costumes for the puppets.

Admiration

His most recent stint was as costume designer on the new and well received children’s programme Old Jack’s Boat starring Bernard Cribbins, Helen Lederer and doctor Who’s Freema Agyeman.

“I have nothing but admiration for him,” says Robert of Bernard Cribbins. “He was a real pleasure to work with and costume.”

But whether it is designing a new creation, scouring auctions for vintage clothes or going on location with children’s telly, Robert says “I love doing what I do. When I am being creative I am very happy.”

People still have time to vote for Berties and details and voting forms are online at www.homesandantiques.com