The only way is Liverpool for the stars of TV’s newest ‘structured reality’ show…

Following hot on the heels of The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea, a new ‘structured reality’ show debuts on E4 next week.

Desperate Scousewives (E4, Monday, Nov 28) follows the antics of a group of larger-than-life Liverpudlian ladies in their twenties and thirties – along with the club promoters, DJs and footballers they are dating, want to date, or in some cases would rather avoid.

We caught up with the show’s executive producer, Mal Young, formerly a producer on Brookside and head of continuing drama at the BBC, to find out more…

Tell us a bit about the show
“Our characters are traditionally Scouse – they have their heart on their sleeve, they are passionate and say it as it is. They have a new attitude, though, and are making their own new way in life so they are entrepreneurs in a way. Some of them are working in the clubs, some want to be models, some are writers, and it is this entrepreneurial spirit and passion for life that is at the heart of the show.”

How similar is it to TOWIE?
“Well, we are part of the same descriptive-reality area, but I hope the viewers will notice there is a much stronger sense of storyline and it feels more like a soap. It is closer to being the noisy grandchild of Brookside than it is to the TOWIEs and the Made in Chelseas of this world.”

How much of it is structured?
“We never write a line of dialogue and we never tell them what is going to happen in a scene. We just use a situation that is based on something going in their lives and ask them to react. Most of the scenarios have been inspired by what they are doing anyway.”

Do they forget about the cameras?
“Well, I was gobsmacked when we did a scene with two of our characters who’d had a relationship in the past and were still going through a lot of emotions that had not been resolved. We asked them to have a chat and just stood back and they completely forgot that the cameras were there. We all ended up in tears. If that scene had been in EastEnders, I would have been very, very happy.”

Are there any phrases we will all be saying after watching this?
“I think the ‘Scouse eyebrow’, which is a semi-permanent way of tattooing your eyebrows on, will be popular. We also have a gay couple in the show who are great and cut through with ad-libbed jibes which are better than anything I could write. They come out with catchphrases by the day.”

Why do you think structured reality shows are so popular?
“For the same reason that soaps have been in our hearts since 1960 with Corrie: because they reflect how we live. TV is going through this amazing time at the moment where you can mix up all the genres. Some people call it dreadful TV, but I think we can all lighten up and watch something interesting and fun. If we can say that this reflects an element of how we live now, then that is all right.”