Jimmy McGovern: The Only Way is Essex will kill drama

The Only Way is EssexAward winning television writer Jimmy McGovern has said that shows such as The Only Way is Essex will kill off drama.

The ITV2 “scripted” reality series is one of several which have popped up and taken the country by storm. E4’s Made in Chelsea and MTV’s Geordie Shore – rumoured to get a spin-off based in Liverpool – are two further examples of how the public has fallen back in love with reality television. The three shows are very much formatted in the soap opera style with the love and traumas of its “cast” pulling in the audience. The Only Way is Essex on the YouTube Audience Award at the BAFTAS this year – the only category to be voted for by viewers.

Television writer Jimmy McGovern has warned that such shows will kill off dramas because they are cheaper to make – they also grab more interest from the press and social networking sites. Speaking at the annual Royal Television Society Anthony Wilson memorial lecture the writer said “TOWIE to me seems to be just as good as Hollyoaks and very much cheaper to make. Therefore Hollyoaks is finished – I think that’s the way it’s going to go. If TOWIE is comparable to a fair bit of TV drama, is that because it’s as good or is it that a lot of TV drama is as bad as TOWIE?. He also branded The Only Way is Essex as ‘the biggest suicide note in British TV history’.

Jimmy McGovern has a long list of credits to his name with his most recent work including the award winning The Street, controversial Accused and the daytime drama series Moving On. His other television credits include Cracker, The Lakes and he also penned episodes of Brookside.