The latest in RTS Yorkshire’s series of interviews with leading regional figures threw a spotlight on TLC reality show Say Yes to the Dress Lancashire.
Production has begun on series 3 of the programme, in which fashion expert Gok Wan helps brides find their dream wedding dress. “We’ve got all sorts of [safety] protocols in place,” said Jo Haddock, development executive at programme-makers True North. “We’re hoping to make 10 episodes leading up to Christmas.”
Covid-19 is having an effect on filming, in particular with trying on and redesigning dresses, which involves close contact work. “We have a really strict testing regime, so we can feel confident that any contact we need can be done safely,” said Haddock, who was talking to RTS Yorkshire Chair Fiona Thompson.
Say Yes to the Dress Lancashire is a spin-off of Discovery channel TLC’s long-running US series. “Everyone was feeling the love for anything with Yorkshire in the title and [Discovery] thought there would be a way to create something homegrown from our region,” recalled Haddock.
In the event, True North decided to film at the Ava Rose Hamilton bridal boutique in Colne, Lancashire, rather than at its Yorkshire sister shop.
The Colne outlet “is a ready-made location, on three floors, and really big and beautifully styled. We don’t have to do anything to make it more of a set, except to add a few lights and block out a few windows,” said Haddock.
Gok Wan’s name was a huge advantage in casting the series. “It did help us get the word out because he has a huge following. Clearly, having a brand that’s already known [also helped]… so it wasn’t like starting a new series from scratch, which is always hard,” said Haddock, who worked with Gok Wan as series producer on the first run of How to Look Good Naked for Channel 4 in 2006.
“We were looking for incredible, northern families who were open to telling us their stories Yes, it’s about a dress… but we aren’t only doing one thing when we make a show.”
“Gok Wan has an amazing ability to give women space to tell their stories. He gives people a sense of confidence but also a sense that it’s going to be a positive experience, that it’s not going to be about conflict, negativity and criticism.”
The RTS Yorkshire interview with Jo Haddock can be viewed below: