The hit ITV show The Only Way Is Essex has proven to be so successful with viewers that some of its previous stars are well on their way to becoming millionaires. The BAFTA winning programme has produced a whole new batch of celebrities in the form of Amy Childs, Mark Wright and Kirk Norcross – all of whom have now left the show and are earning (lots more) money on the ‘outside’ world.
The producers of TOWIE have now launched a rather controversial bid to claim back the money that its cast make, even if they decide to quit the show and make money elsewhere. This means that for up to one year after they’ve left, and throughout the period of time they are working on the show – they will be taxed 15% by the producers – as stated in their contracts. Lime Pictures (the producers) also want to claim back money the stars make through magazine deals and photo shoots. Although this might seem fair to us – who would love the fame and fortune they receive off the back of such a success show, and therefore wouldn’t mind a mere 15% tax, we do have to remember that the cast are still only officially paid £50 a day for their time. Lauren Goodger recently tweeted she had been filming for 13 hours in one day (which although may be a little exaggerated) which divided by £50 would mean that she earnt £3.84 an hour, less than the average UK minimum wage. So, is claiming back all their earnings a little too harsh?
Some might argue that despite the poor pay package that stars receive from the production company, they make their ‘real’ money from the amount of PA’s, magazine deals and photo-shoots that they agree to. They are broadcast twice weekly to over 1.9 million viewers, which in turn earns them a fan-base, a spot in the media limelight and a range of ‘celebrity endorsement’ deals. So who is doing all the hard-work? Personally I think it is right to some extent that Lime Pictures claim back some of the money, as we have to think of the brains behind the idea in the first place and how this is translated on camera. The production staff work long and hard (probably far longer hours than the stars themselves) and do not receive the same amount of public attention and free clothing. However, I’m not sure taxing them is the right option – especially whilst they are working on the show. What do you think?
In comparison to other ‘dramality’ programmes, The Only Way Is Essex stars are the most poorly paid. E4’s Made In Chelsea cast are rumoured to be given £200 a day for their hard work, with even more being given to main cast members. So, are the TOWIE crew being treated unfairly? New girl on the show Georgina will soon have to sign a contract stating whether she is happy to be taxed 15% on all earnings (above). I think she has already been a hit with the show’s fans and will definitely become another TOWIE success story!
So, is this right? Do you think the TOWIE stars should be taxed on their earnings? Or do you think they have the right to keep their money? Let me know your thoughts – would be nice to get a few different opinions on this!