The BBC burned £20,000-worth of candles during the filming of their historical drama series, Wolf Hall.

Director Peter Kosminsky revealed that hi-tech cameras meant dispensing with traditional studio lights.

“With the Arri Alexa camera, for the first time on television it has become possible to shoot exclusively by candlelight," he told the Royal Television Society magazine, Television.  He said some scenes had been shot with just one candle.

There have been some grumblings about the lack of lighting on the lavish adaptation of Hilary Mantel's acclaimed novels, which stars Damien Lewis as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell.

The former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell tweeted: “Not entirely persuaded by the lighting strategy”. Comic Jason Manford also ventured into the fray: “Trying to watch Wolf Hall but can’t see a fecking thing!”

Kosminsky also told Television that he talked the BBC's top brass out of a plan to show the drama on BBC One.

“I am glad it is on BBC Two,“ he said. “When we first started submitting the rushes there was a discussion, at a fairly high level within the BBC, about whether the show should move to BBC One. 

"I argued with the producers that this would be a mistake. It wouldn’t meet the slot average and therefore the BBC would be put on the defensive. 

"Transmitting it on BBC One would open it to illegitimate criticism because it is aimed at a thoughtful audience and one prepared to give things a bit more time.”