I REALLY, sincerely like The Only Way Is Essex (ITV2 Wed & Sat 10pm). It’s a filthy, dirty, surreptitiously super-secret thing I like to do. I have no idea what it’s about and I can’t identify with any of the people. But I find that in real life a lot of the time too, so this is quite heart-warming and familiar.
Apparently it’s vaguely scripted (which is pretty obvious when one of them said antidisestablishmentarianism the other day) so it’s not really a fly-on-the-wall reality show. In the true sense, you know? But if it was it would be crap. Just a load of people’s faces flapping around on the screen, intermittently saying “naaaaaa” or “whaaaaaaaaaa?”
It’s sponsored by a cold sore cream as well, which I imagine many of them have a great need for.
All of the cast are orange-skinned (one of them is 19 but looks 40-odd easily), sexually- volatile, lingerie-modelling, nightclub-bossing, desperately-seeking-a-Nuts-photo-shoot, plastic-enhanced, claiming a bus stop is protected sex kind-of-people. Lovable fumbling fools. If they get a ticket saying parking fine they think it's a compliment to their driving skills. Adorable. Drinking WKD, groping in the dark and talking about hair extensions, spray tans and bras.
Amy Childs, who without make-up has a face the size of walnut, is a great cast member (probably my favourite in fact) and her Q&A session on the ITV2 website is breathtakingly beyond belief in nailing her character (which many of her Facebook friends would like to do). It really spells out why you should watch it.
Question: Who would you vote for on X-Factor?
Answer: The guy from Essex whose (she spells it who’s) name I can't remember but I think he's great.
Question: What would be your perfect job?
Answer: I'd love to be an underwear model but if not then I'd love to be on QVC or another shopping channel selling cosmetics.
But regrettably reality shows stop being real as soon as they are on TV. People get excited - you’re appearing on Alan Titchmarsh, Zoo wants some carefully covered nipple shots. It’s stopped being real, now they’re celebrities pumping out perfumes.
Already Amy has been photographed wearing a gold monokini and matching wedge heels and is being interviewed by magazines about becoming the next Jordan. She even wants to marry Peter Andre.
“'I don’t mind going out with someone who’s older and has kids,” says Amy. “I love kids anyway. I could be their stepmum.”
But I fear I’m making this programme sound bad so I’ll stop. Please give it a go.