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“TOWIE Effect” tarnishing reputation of places like Chelsea and Brentwood

Mark Wright and James Argent from The Only Way is Essex. Shows such as TOWIE are tarnishing the reputations of certain areas, research says. File picture: Ian West/PA Wire Mark Wright and James Argent from The Only Way is Essex. Shows such as TOWIE are tarnishing the reputations of certain areas, research says. File picture: Ian West/PA Wire

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
3:23 PM

The reputations of places such as Chelsea and Brentwood are being dented by reality television shows, according to research.

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Rightmove surveyed home-movers to find out if their views of certain areas had changed because of reality television shows filmed there.Rightmove surveyed home-movers to find out if their views of certain areas had changed because of reality television shows filmed there.

The TOWIE Effect, named after reality television show The Only Way is Essex, has tarnished the reputation of places seen on screen.

Rightmove carried out research which showed a third of Brits felt Made In Chelsea had made the prime central London area of Chelsea a less desirable location.

Only 12 per cent stated they now view the places where they see Hugo, Spencer and company on their screens as more desirable, with one in five, or 21 per cent, believing Made In Chelsea has had no effect and 35 per cent were either unaware of the show or didn’t know.

When asked about TOWIE, 48 per cent of people said they now view Brentwood as being less desirable as a direct result of seing Mark, Arg, Amy, Joey and company on the hit ITV show.

Only 11 per cent of those surveyed felt TOWIE had made Brentwood more desirable, with 15 per cent claiming it had no effect and 24 per cent stating they didn’t know about the show.

Property website Rightmove surveyed 4,280 home-movers from across the country on whether their perceptions of Brentwood, Chelsea, Newcastle and Cardiff had been altered by the respective reality shows set there.

The company’s director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: “Even though these programmes deliberately set out to show extremes, it is interesting how viewers’ judgements of each location are being influenced.

“It appears that light-hearted stereotypes can lead to a sweeping opinion of what a place is really like.

“These views are possibly wide of the mark, but could have a lasting impression on how the locations are now perceived and give their relative tourist boards a real headache.”

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