Obituary: David Beeton, 60

David Beeton

David Beeton

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A BAFTA-shortlisted costume designer from the Capital has died at the age of 60.

A renowned designer, David Beeton was also well known in Edinburgh as an entertainer, with numerous gatherings held at his flamboyant flat in the High Street.

Born on May 17, 1952, in Dumfries, David read for a degree in Fine Art at Edinburgh University, where he developed a life-long interest in theatre costume.

His talents quickly became apparent and he was able to secure work as a cutter for the Royal Lyceum, King’s and Traverse theatres in Edinburgh, and the Citizens and Scottish Youth theatres in Glasgow.

David’s designing skills were such that he was quickly snapped up by the BBC, where he spent 15 years.

During that time, he worked on costumes for many comedy productions, including Rev IM Jolly, City Lights, Naked Video, Para Handy and Rab C Nesbitt, later becoming custodian of the latter’s iconic vest.

David also developed a specialist interest in the restoration, conservation and recreation of period costume styles.

He worked on productions such as Yellowback, directed by Roy Battersby, and, a high point in his BBC career, was named as a Bafta finalist for his work on Mike Healy’s Beatrix Potter – The Early Life.

But successful as he was as a designer, David did not escape the swingeing round of cuts that slashed staffing levels at the corporation.

After his department was closed down suddenly, he left the BBC for good but remained in Edinburgh to be close to the circle of friends he had built up over the years.

He went on to find a job at the AD Mackenzie leather goods shop in the city, where he put his skills to good use in designing a series of window displays.

The last 13 years of his working life were spent at the National Museums of Scotland, where he led people around as a visitor service assistant and tour guide.

Among David’s many interests were a love of the arts in general and film in particular. He was a regular visitor to the Filmhouse cinema, and enjoyed peppering his conversation with quotes he picked up from movies such as The Apartment, South Pacific, Summer Madness and Double Indemnity. David was also renowned as a convivial, generous person and a great entertainer. Many memorable gatherings were held at his flat in the High Street, which boasted its own eagle’s eyrie.

Above all, David was admired for resilience in the face of challenges. When asked to comment on life’s travails, he would often reply: “There’s nothing that can’t be fixed with yards of gingham.”

He is survived by his sister, Edith, his previous long-term partner Gerry, and his more recent partner Phillip.

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