Jenna Coleman, who plays the young queen in ITV's new big-budget period drama Victoria, revealed thrifty producers found novel ways to stretch their resources.
Reportedly costing £1 million per episode, the show's makers resorted to pound shop props and using students from a local art school to help recreate the opulent interior of Buckingham Palace for the Sunday night show.
The set was housed in an old RAF hangar on the outskirts of Leeds, which was transformed with furnishings including 3,500 square feet of gold leaf and 12,000 candles, according to production designer Michael Howells.
Jenna told The Telegraph: "You walk in off the airfield and you are basically transported.
"(Michael) spent a lot of money on very expensive chandeliers from Croatia, but in order to counteract that, he's driven up to Scotland and got 22,000 seashells for free, and bought swords from the pound shop, all sprayed in gold."
She also confessed that the intricate-seeming plasterwork was actually walnut shells covered in gold leaf and stuck onto the walls.
The eight-part drama follows Victoria from her ascension to the throne at 18 through her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes).
But the young monarch is plagued with rumours about her relationship with Lord Melbourne, the prime minister, played by Rufus Sewell.
Michael said that they turned to outside help to complete the lavish set required, with art students bussed in to gild scallops shells which also made up the wall decorations.
"We ran courses with Leeds College of Art and their students came and we taught them how to gild and decoupage," he explained.
He admitted that they were still putting together the opulent set as filming began.
He said: "With such a short amount of time to prepare we were working right up until the first day of filming and the night before we were still dressing sets and hanging curtains, bringing in the candelabra and hanging paintings."
Victoria starts on ITV on Sunday at 9pm.