TV bosses defend 'horrific' Valleys

South Wales Argus: 'HORRIFIC': The Valleys which starts tonight 'HORRIFIC': The Valleys which starts tonight

THE makers of a new reality show based on life in South Wales have defended its portrayal of the area.

MTV's The Valleys follows nine young people as they move in together in Cardiff - and has been described as Wales's answer to The Only Way Is Essex (Towie).

Online trailers ahead of tonight's network premiere feature sheep in the title, and cast members have promoted the show by talking about their sex, drinking and partying lifestyles.

Programme bosses have insisted the show is "absolutely not about stereotyping’’, but community leaders have claimed the show paints a negative picture of people in South Wales, with singer Charlotte Church calling the series "horrific’’.

The Cardiff-born star and TV presenter said: "I think it will be exploitative and a horrific representation of the country that I love.’’ The Valleys is the newest addition to the reality show genre, which has risen in popularity thanks to the likes of shows such as Towie and Geordie Shore.

As well as proving cheap to make compared with drama series like Coronation Street or EastEnders, docu-soaps have attracted large viewing figures and become a talking point in several glossy magazines.

Like its predecessors, The Valleys focuses on cast members' sex lives and love of partying, as well as their relationships and careers.

Those featured in the show include a law graduate with a boob job who hopes to become the next Katie Price, and a self-styled ladies man and kickboxing champ whose party tricks include kicking cans off people's heads.

The show has prompted criticism from people in the South Wales valleys, fearing it will portray Welsh people as unintelligent and obsessed with going out and getting drunk or having sex.

Also expressing her concern was Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, who was born and raised in the Valleys.

She said: "It looks to me as if it's going to be a cheap, tacky and over-promoted television programme that is going to fit to the usual stereotypes.

"The Valleys have got so much more to offer than what is going to be presented. I have no intention of watching it.’’ The show's launch has prompted a counter-offensive by a campaign group called The Valleys Are Here, which hopes to promote "a more positive image’’ of the area.

A statement on its website reads: "We want to make sure MTV doesn't give millions of people another bad image of the area.

"Life here isn't all rosy, nobody would say that, but we're proud of where we come from - and want everyone to know why. We need to set the record straight.’’ TV critics who watched a preview of the first episode gave it mixed reviews.

Heat magazine called it "the rudest, brashest and most jaw-droppingly funny reality show on TV’’, while the Western Mail labelled it "outrageous and crass’’.

However, a number of celebrities from South Wales say they are looking forward to the show.

Former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas, from Bridgend, tweeted that he will be watching The Valleys.

Steps singer Ian "H’’ Watkins from Cwmparc, Rhondda, told his Twitter followers they will be "addicted’’ to the programme.

MTV's director of television, Kerry Taylor, insisted the show is different to its rivals.

She told BBC Wales: "It's absolutely not about stereotyping.

"I feel whenever you make a successful reality show, there are always some accusations. But the show is absolutely celebrating these nine young people and their mentors. It's very much about their individual stories.’’ Cast members have also said in recent interviews that The Valleys was not just about "bedroom antics’’ and was more about them trying to fulfil their career aspirations.

The Valleys begins tonight at 10pm on MTV.

The Valleys starts tonight - so join in our live blog using hashtag #argusthevalleys and tell us what you think!

Comments (14)

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1:27pm Tue 25 Sep 12

ianzemma says...

this is going to go the same way as that channel 4 doc ' bouncers', it isn't going to be pretty :o/
this is going to go the same way as that channel 4 doc ' bouncers', it isn't going to be pretty :o/ ianzemma

1:53pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Dugstar says...

Since when has Cardiff been in the Valleys? Make a show about the Valleys, base it in Cardiff, perfect.
Since when has Cardiff been in the Valleys? Make a show about the Valleys, base it in Cardiff, perfect. Dugstar

2:17pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Goldy_Lookin_Clart says...

It aint proper like. Should be called "Townies" !!!
It aint proper like. Should be called "Townies" !!! Goldy_Lookin_Clart

3:03pm Tue 25 Sep 12

NakedDancer says...

Totally unoriginal cheap programming nonsense and a rip off of the Geordie, Essex, Chelsea format - all been done. Another bunch of wannabees that will degrade themselves, family and friends for infamy or money.

A shame people will watch these rubbish programmes so they'll keep being made. I pray only the most brain dead viewers will think these low lifes bear any resemblance to reality in Wales.
Totally unoriginal cheap programming nonsense and a rip off of the Geordie, Essex, Chelsea format - all been done. Another bunch of wannabees that will degrade themselves, family and friends for infamy or money. A shame people will watch these rubbish programmes so they'll keep being made. I pray only the most brain dead viewers will think these low lifes bear any resemblance to reality in Wales. NakedDancer

3:11pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Goldy_Lookin_Clart says...

I Hope BBC Wales buys the rights to this show cos I aint got Sky like
I Hope BBC Wales buys the rights to this show cos I aint got Sky like Goldy_Lookin_Clart

3:59pm Tue 25 Sep 12

swrxp09 says...

Goldy_Lookin_Clart wrote:
I Hope BBC Wales buys the rights to this show cos I aint got Sky like
Goldie, can't you nick a sat dish off some DHSS's roof?
[quote][p][bold]Goldy_Lookin_Clart[/bold] wrote: I Hope BBC Wales buys the rights to this show cos I aint got Sky like[/p][/quote]Goldie, can't you nick a sat dish off some DHSS's roof? swrxp09

4:02pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Goldy_Lookin_Clart says...

Nö cos in Da Ghetto we aint got no dishes to rob see, unlike you Valley Herberts !!!!
Nö cos in Da Ghetto we aint got no dishes to rob see, unlike you Valley Herberts !!!! Goldy_Lookin_Clart

6:52pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Dai Rear says...

The sheep are well pretty though, mind.
The sheep are well pretty though, mind. Dai Rear

7:10pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Euwan Usami says...

The old sad thing about this is we are reacting to it like we do when anyone knocks Wales. It's junk TV like TOWIE, let it go! ;)
The old sad thing about this is we are reacting to it like we do when anyone knocks Wales. It's junk TV like TOWIE, let it go! ;) Euwan Usami

7:29pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Limestonecowboy says...

thought of the day...Charlotte Church calls the series "horrific"
thought of the day...Charlotte Church calls the series "horrific" Limestonecowboy

9:08pm Tue 25 Sep 12

chris227 says...

yep it does seem that all disabled/unemployed crowd have sky tv full package , come on cameron make em ave free view
yep it does seem that all disabled/unemployed crowd have sky tv full package , come on cameron make em ave free view chris227

9:18pm Tue 25 Sep 12

chris227 says...

and anyone that lives up the valleys it could get worse take a drive to to most run down town on earth try going to newport
and anyone that lives up the valleys it could get worse take a drive to to most run down town on earth try going to newport chris227

12:56pm Thu 27 Sep 12

monkeyboy44 says...

saw a few adverts for it.... its quite sad, us Welsh have a crap image anyway over the bridge this won't make it any better!

the people who watch this garbage are as bad as the people on it!
saw a few adverts for it.... its quite sad, us Welsh have a crap image anyway over the bridge this won't make it any better! the people who watch this garbage are as bad as the people on it! monkeyboy44

1:27pm Thu 27 Sep 12

ngtarr says...

i think what they are trying to do is create a negative picture of all plces in wales except cardiff! that is not right. i am currently living in pontypridd and it is a nice town. 'bouncers' done by channel 4 did a really bad impression of newport which is not needed. what needs to be done is some form of documentry or tv series that will promote these areas and get more people to come and visit and to also show that cardiff is not the 'perfect city' of wales that these images and programmes seem to be creating!
i think what they are trying to do is create a negative picture of all plces in wales except cardiff! that is not right. i am currently living in pontypridd and it is a nice town. 'bouncers' done by channel 4 did a really bad impression of newport which is not needed. what needs to be done is some form of documentry or tv series that will promote these areas and get more people to come and visit and to also show that cardiff is not the 'perfect city' of wales that these images and programmes seem to be creating! ngtarr

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