Saturday, 7 December 2013

1950's Fashion on TV

I am a bit late in finding this TV series, but having now discovered it I wanted to share some of the costumes here.  The Doctor Blake Mysteries.  It is set in the late 1950's in a rural Australian town called Ballarat, which was a wealthy town founded on the gold-rush and rich farming.  The main character is a clever, melancholy, handsomely bearded Doctor who not only sees regular patients but also works for the local Police to help identify causes of death.  Now, I am not normally one for murder shows but I LOVE the setting and the costumes in this program, so have decided to ignore the dead body that features in each episode!  The filming has been done beautifully and the writing is well-layered.  This is definitely going to be a series that could do with repeated viewings.
So, onto the dresses!
The first outfit to love is this dress and bolero worn by the character Joy.  She is from the big city Melbourne and so has slightly more sophisticated clothes than the other ladies.
Another stunning dress on Joy, this one is in a bobbly sort of wool, and she is wearing a flying mallard brooch!
Here is Maddy overhearing the ladies speaking.  Love the many full-length shots of the costumes in this program!
Look at Hazel's pussy bow blouse!  And the side-button detail on the yellow dress!
Here is an everyday outfit on Joy.  It is mostly everyday outfits in this show, but in one episode that I've seen there was preparations for being a bridesmaid, and they were sewing the dress at home!  Here is the final fitting - it even has a lapped side zipper.
Here are the ladies of Doctor Blake's home, chatting with the Bride-to-be visitor who is wearing a gorgeous floral dress.  And look at that kitchen!  It is so authentically 1950's Ballarat!  (I lived in this town in my 20s so have an extra thrill to see so many familiar places shown so beautifully on the screen)
In the UK, The Doctor Blake Mysteries are being shown on BBC One in the afternoons, but there are still some available on iPlayer at the time of writing this.  In Australia, where this was made, they are currently filming the second series, and is aired on ABC One.  It is available on DVD too, if you're interested.

I haven't seen all of the episodes, so these are just the ones I've seen so far.  Which dress did you like the best?


  1. Gorgeous costumes! I have been known to watch a bad show/movie with good costumes. This series looks interesting!

  2. How exciting UK have lived there too ! I love the tea dresses ( I think that's what they're called) fitted top, wide skirt, like the flowery one in the last pic

  3. Oh man, why do I always find out about these things too late! Maybe they'll put it on again *sigh* Not that I usually wear skirts, but I do like the pouffy ones of the 50's

  4. The second dress witht he bow - gorgeous!


  5. I only saw a couple of episodes when it was on, but it is a great little show.
    Have you seen any of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries? Another ABC1 show, it is based on the books by Kerry Greenwood and set in 1920s Melbourne? The clothes are one of the stars of the books and are beautifully created for the screen. (I've put the Series 2 DVD on my Christmas wish list!).

  6. I'm so glad you shared this - I've never come across this before! Our TV reception is pretty ordinary, so we tend to rely on dvds of shows we love. I'll have to hunt it out! My dad's from Ballarat, so it'll extra fun to play "spot the landmark"!

  7. Hello Nessa,

    I have just discovered your blog by clicking on a link in, in, errrr, I'm not really sure. But never mind, I'm having a fine time reading your archives. I live in Melbourne (Australia) and I do rather love The Dr Blake Mysteries, the costuming is excellent and the sets/locations really well done. I love it when I see our locally made TV/movies being enjoyed overseas. Have you watched Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries? The main character is Phryne Fisher and she has THE MOST FABULOUS FROCKS. It is shown on ABC over here, I am anxiously awaiting Series 3.

    Thank you for your blog.


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