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HLN meets: Vicky Gill… and the result is Strictly Confidential

Jo Dunbar caught up with Stanley local Vicky Gill – the brains behind the breath-taking ballgowns, sequins and costumes on Strictly – to see how preparations for the grand final are going.

By Jo Dunbar

Fans of Strictly Come Dancing eagerly await tomorrow’s final to find out who will lift the coveted glitterball trophy. Since 2012, the North East’s Vicky Gill has ensured that the celebrities’ and their professional partners’ dance costumes sparkle each and every week. No mean feat as it is, but for the week of the final there’s even more pressure – with multiple costumes needed for this year’s finalists Jamie Laing, Maisie Smith, Bill Bailey and HRVY. 

After studying at Newcastle College, Vicky headed down south to try her luck in costume design and boy, has that decision paid off! Strictly aside, Vicky has also designed for Kylie Minogue’s stage shows, Girls Aloud and Cheryl. We spoke to Vicky about winding down after being part of such a huge TV show, missing her native North East and her glamorous job.

It’s been a fab series of Strictly so far – how will you wind down after the final?

We find it hard to wind down, but with Santa Claus on the horizon, it helps to force a pause. De-rig [taking apart the Strictly set, wardrobe, etc.] takes a few days, so we’ll be working up until the 23rd December this year. I love nothing more than being at home with family and friends, it will be sad not to have our normal gatherings. But hopefully, good times will return for us all soon. What a year!

You come from County Durham. Do you miss the North East? Have you been able to come home much in 2020?

OMG, I so miss not being able to pop home and see everyone! My visits are always fast and furious, jam-packed with lots of northern fun and games. I went home in June to see my mum, Emily, and bring my lovely dad, Allan, and his partner Lola back to Surrey for a few days of Gill family madness. But I haven’t been able to do anything since due to COVID. I have tried to limit contact with anyone outside my family as much as possible, as I’m so aware from a professional perspective that it was imperative that we kept the Strictly wheels turning COVID-free as much as possible. I’ve lived away from home since I was 18, but I still consider the North East as home. It’s a lovely part of the world. I may look at it through rose-tinted glasses, but you certainly receive a warm welcome in the North East. There are lots of big hearts.

What do you enjoy most about the region? 

I feel I need to re-acquaint myself with the area. These days it’s less of a night out on the town and more of a flying visit – meeting family at Tynemouth for a coffee and a catch-up, shopping in town. Bamburgh Castle is a Gill family fave.

Did you always have ambitions to work on such a glamorous TV show and design for Kylie? 

It’s a tough one. I knew I wanted to work in a creative arena, but I very much think that life has taken me on a journey. When an opportunity presented itself, I took it and tried my best to do a top job, which then moved me along to the next thing. I am quietly relentless with things.

Do you still get ‘pinch me’ moments?

It’s very surreal. I’ve met and worked with some wonderful people and feel very grateful for all that has come my way. I just love my job, supporting the team, finding solutions. In many ways, I feel I have only just come out of my apprenticeship. I charged out of the gallery at the TV studios the other night and barged straight into Robbie Williams and his gang on their way to set! I felt like such a prat, so, yes, I do still have to pinch myself, but more to have a little word with myself to not behave like a madwoman rushing around! Behaving more like a swan is what’s required going into live shows.

The Strictly Come Dancing live final is at 6pm on BBC1 tomorrow, Saturday 19th December.

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