A stand-out employee in the series is the jolly curator of dance Jane Pritchard, who is tasked with condition-checking and making fit for transportation more than 3,000 items from the museum’s performance and costume collection. This is a job she clearly revels in, as she describes both animatedly and enthusiastically Rockstar costumes, the ghastly Breakfast Dress worn by Dame Edna Everage (made famous on British telly by the Australian actor, satirist, author and comedian Barry Humphries) and Elton John’s general's uniform made for his 1982 Jump Up tour, worn during 135 shows in 70 international cities, which she describes as ‘theatrical bling’.
Another item Pritchard highlights is an elongated glove by 19th-century burlesque superstar Kate Vaughan, drawing attention to the risqué practice of skirt-dancing for women of that era. The most remarkable revelation from this series is that all the stunning dresses for the museum’s recent blockbuster Christian Dior exhibition had to be conserved individually, fitted onto custom-made mannequins and each taking around 40 hours of work.
For a regular museum-going audience, the ‘secrets’ the series reveals are a tad predictable as most museums do run public tours and allow visits behind the scenes on request (scholars and academics have the upper hand here), but interestingly it is still able to surprise with its breadth of objects from the historic to more familiar objects from popular culture (who knew the V&A collected usherette dresses from the premiere of The Beatles’ 1964 film A Hard Day's Night?).