Dame Judi Dench’s costume and props from the BBC’s recent film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot will be on display at the Museum
Esio Trot was the last of Roald Dahl's children's stories to be published in his lifetime. Released in 1990 before his death in November of that year, it tells the story of shy Mr Hoppy and his love for his neighbour, Mrs Silver - and a tortoise called Alfie who helps to bring them together. A wonderful adaptation of the book was screened on New Year’s Day, and the Museum was lucky enough to be given some brilliant props from the production company, Endor.
The new display at the Museum will include one of the costumes worn by Dame Judi Dench in the production. It is a very pretty classic floral dress, which Mrs Silver first wears when accepting Mr Hoppy’s proposal and then again on their wedding day. The costume department decided that it should be more ‘twinkly’ for the wedding scene and added over 2,000 Swarovski crystals to the outfit, which took over 18 hours to attach!
As well as three model tortoises from the film, visitors can also see the Tortoise-Catcher itself on display, an ingenious device used by Mr Hoppy to reach down from his balcony and catch Alfie from Mrs Silver’s balcony below. The three-dimensional, fully functional Tortoise-Catcher, based on Roald Dahl’s and Quentin Blake’s drawings, will hang from the ceiling in Solo Gallery and was cleverly created for the film to look ‘home-made’, using everyday items such as fishing rods and old tool parts.
The display will also feature original documents from the Museum Archive, including a hand-written manuscript of a speech Roald Dahl gave to American students twelve years before the publication of the book. Roald Dahl explains how he got the idea for Esio Trot, while visiting his daughter in her apartment and spotting a tortoise on the balcony below.
The display will be viewable at the Museum from Tuesday 13 January, plus don’t miss a behind-the-scenes session with the Museum Archivist, Esio Trot’s Archive Secrets on Sunday 7 February, as part of the Museum’s Awesome Animals Day.