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Her only qualm is the show’s luscious costumes, which have made Garai and her co-stars the subject of glossy magazine spreads about `50s fashion.

The real-life Bel, she says, would have worn “a tweed suit and brogues.”

“You sort of think, could Bel really afford a silk two-piece on a BBC producer’s salary?” Garai said. “And then everyone goes, `Oh shut up, Romola.’ So I say `OK, OK, yes. I’ll wear the beautiful suits. And breathe in.’”

Jill Lawless can be reached at