When did Essex become so hot, eh? It’s been weeks since the third series of The Only Way Is Essex finished – yet still its stars are all over our TV screens.
While Mark Wright is wooing the public (and Emily Scott) with his boyish charms on I’m a Celebrity…, another TOWIE favourite, Amy Childs, is launching her own reality series, It’s All about Amy.
The new programme begins this Thursday on Channel 5 – the network Childs jumped ship from ITV2 to join after being lured away by the promise of Celebrity Big Brother exposure. Although she didn’t win, Amy’s still scored an ob-doc about her life in eight one-hour parts – so at the moment, that looks like a pretty sound decision.
However, the 21-year-old beautician and model is not ruling out a return to the show that made her famous. And while talking about Essex in the first episode of the show, she said: “I’m not too big for TOWIE – I’d love to go back to TOWIE one day, never say never” before drawing a rather confused but charming analogy between herself and Robbie Williams’s return to Take That.
She later told RadioTimes.com that her TOWIE co-stars were “all brilliant” about her leaving, and although some members “had their own opinions” about the move to Channel 5, any animosity reported between them was simply press hype.
But what of Amy’s new show?
Well, it’s an hour of Amy… and her mum, and her manager, and her road manager, and her three dogs… and her cousin Harry from TOWIE – who Childs revealed was the only star of the ITV2 show “allowed” to take part “because he was family”.
Episode one sees a number of important events unfold – the shooting (and subsequent re-shooting) of Amy’s first calendar, the revelation that she cannot cook, shopping for dog accessories at Bow Wow Bling and a look round her new salon. There’s a lot of silly fun.
Yep, it’s another of those follow-a-“celebrity”-around, aspirational, nothing-really-happens ob-docs from the Katie Price and Peter Andre ITV2 mould.
However, there is one difference. It’s almost impossible not to like the sweet and innocent Amy, her – what appears to be genuine – humility and the goofy things she says and does.
A good drinking game to play while watching this would involve having a shot every time she says the word “lucky” – when I say good, I mean potentially fatal.
“I’m pretty much the most normalest person ever,” smiles Amy. Of course, as much as we know this isn’t true – “normal” people don’t get driven around from photoshoot to TV studio in blacked-out cars, nor do their parents’ houses have near life-sized portraits of them hanging from every surface – you want to believe her sincerity.
That said, beyond all the warm fuzzy feelings the more sentimental reality fan may get from this show, an hour in Amy’s world seems like a long time.
The producers assure us that “exciting trips abroad” are among the events coming soon to the series – but eight one-hour parts seems like a lot of time to fill.
Whereas Amy shone as part of the ensemble cast in TOWIE or Celeb BB because she was balanced by other characters, as the “star” of her own show, after a while you do start to yearn for another element. I must admit, had I not had Amy herself two rows behind me in the cinema giggling and providing an unofficial commentary throughout the screening – I’m not sure I would have made it to the end of a full hour.
Hardcore Amy Childs fans will, I’m sure, enjoy this glimpse into her paradoxically crazy and kooky but also normal and mundane life – but personally, I think a return to Essex, in the long term, is probably the only way to go…
It’s All about Amy begins on Channel 5 on Thursday at 10pm