Nicholas Bullen obituary

My partner, Nicholas Bullen, who has died aged 74, was a costume designer and fashion and textiles teacher.

Nick joined BBC Television as a costume designer in 1967, working on drama and entertainment programmes, most notably two Doctor Who stories with Patrick Troughton: The War Games and The Space Pirates, both part of the sixth season and broadcast in 1969.

After a successful stint at the BBC, Nick spent the early 1970s offering bespoke design to private clients, including the dance group Pan’s People and the singers Engelbert Humperdinck, Clodagh Rodgers, Vince Hill and Jimmy Ruffin. He designed a wedding dress for the lyricist Bernie Taupin’s wife, Maxine.

Nick taught fashion and pattern cutting at Derby, Birmingham and Kingston art schools, and then, in 1976, was appointed to lead the fashion and textiles department at Ealing College of Higher Education (now the University of West London). His courses were innovative, including the setting up of a student exchange to Paris. Another of Nick’s coups was establishing his friend the designer Bill Gibb as an external examiner at Ealing.

Nick’s book, Making Classic Wedding Dresses, was published on 29 July 1981, Charles and Diana’s wedding day, and was reviewed in the Sunday Times: “For those who are more deeply moved … Nicholas Bullen has produced a perfect aid”.

Born in Seven Kings, Essex (now part of the London borough of Redbridge), Nick was the eldest of six children of John Bullen, a BOAC airline pilot, and his wife, Mary (nee Hellyer). Brought up in Maidenhead, Berkshire, he attended Maidenhead grammar school, where he excelled in art. He completed an art foundation course at Berkshire College of Art and a BA in fashion and textiles at Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology (now part of De Montfort University), joining the BBC soon after graduating.

Nick enjoyed travelling for work: sourcing knitwear in Scotland, choosing colourways for ties at Lake Como, and presenting traditional English menswear collections in Tokyo and Hong Kong. His favourite overseas trip was a five-month private teaching assignment in 1992 in Mashhad, Iran, where he taught garment construction. He loved the country and its people and was struck how it differed from its portrayal in the western press.

After retiring, Nick volunteered at Oxfam and Marie Curie charity shops, using his fashion skills.

He was a most loyal friend, who loved socialising. He was a great cook and an amusing raconteur. His positive belief in people brought out the best in them.

Nick and I met in Paris in 1986, and formed an instant and long-lasting rapport, spending 34 years together. We became civil partners in 2009. Nick is survived by me and his four siblings, Jeff, Judi, Mark and Jonathan.