The Only Way Is Essex style of TV is 'here to stay'

23/05/11

One of the producers of ITV2 show The Only Way Is Essex says structured reality shows are "here to stay" on television.

TOWIE, as it's known to many fans, won the audience prize at the Bafta TV awards in central London.

It's the only award of the night voted for the public and included competition from Miranda, Sherlock, My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, Downton Abbey and Danish crime series The Killing.

Daran Little, one of the show's series producers said: "I actually think structured reality is here to stay and it doesn't have to be highbrow.

"It's entertainment and if it's good fun, and there's good drama and people watch it, it's got a right to be here."

He's previously written for Coronation Street and EastEnders and is also involved with Made In Chelsea, another structured show.

'Not fake'

Structured reality means that whilst locations and scenarios are set-up by the show's producers, the interaction between the cast is apparently real.

Amy Childs, Mark Wright, Lauren Goodger, Arg, Joey Essex and Nanny Pat have now become household names for many and the cast often graces the pages of gossip magazines and attend red carpet events.

Mark Wright and Lauren Goodger
Image caption Mark Wright and Lauren Goodger insist all the storylines are genuine

The show itself averaged viewing figures of 1.4 million for the second series on ITV2.

A third series has also been commissioned.

However the show's popularity has led to questions over whether the relationships on screen are real or not.

Mark Wright has denied his relationship with fellow cast member Lauren Goodger is strictly for the cameras.

He said: "All the storylines are real. Mine and Lauren's relationship is certainly not fake.

"We've been together for 10 years - on and off. And we've only been on the TV for the last eight months."

Lauren added: "The show wouldn't allow a fake relationship.

"If we went to the producers and said, 'We're going to get together for fake', they would say, 'We're not interested'.

"Nothing's fake. We've made such a great TV show and people have voted for us.

"I think we do deserve it. It's not easy. It's not 'do a bit of filming and that's it'. We put a lot of hard work into it. It's our life."

Not everyone's a fan of the show, including Essex rapper Devlin who said: "It's so terribly bad.

"I do have to have a look at it now and again. It just makes me laugh. It's so bad, it's good."