In the most random story of the
week, month, year, former Big Brother winner Brian Belo is suing ITV and The Only Way Is Essex producers Lime Pictures for £4 million after accusing them of nicking his idea for the show.
He claims TOWIE is a rip off of his own show, Totally Essex, which was created by Brian and co-claimants Sassy Films and Massive TV. A pilot of the show (see video below) even featured Amy Childs, Sam Faiers, Mark Wright and Kirk Norcross who all went on to star in The Only Way Is Essex on ITV2.
The 2007 Big Brother winner has lodged a writ at the High Court which alleges that both ITV and Lime Pictures have committed breaches of copyright and confidence. The claimants also want to stop ITV2 from screening TOWIE - which is set to return to our screens on April 15 - until a financial settlement is reached.
Errrm, let's hope they do. The thought of TOWIE not returning to our screens is not something we even want to contemplate.
Now, we're no legal eagles, but even we have to admit that the video of the pilot for Totally Essex above does look pretty familiar, and sources claim Brian has lots more evidence to back up his claims too. These allegedly include texts and emails as well as a contract sent to him by Lime Pictures apparently asking him to sign over the rights to the format for £2,500.
Meanwhile, ITV and Lime Pictures have released a statement: "The Only Way Is Essex is an original concept created and developed by an award-winning team at Lime Pictures. Brian Belo's claim against Lime and ITV is totally without foundation and will be vigorously defended. The creative team at Lime is very proud of TOWIE, and the notion that it was not entirely their own work is a serious allegation which is completely refuted."
TOWIE'S NEWEST RECRUITS
Georgina (Pic: ITV)
Ricky (Pic: ITV)
Diags (Pic: ITV)
Cara and Billie (Pic: ITV)
Chloe (Pic: ITV)
Lauren (Pic: ITV)
Jess (Pic: ITV)
Joey (Pic: ITV)
Sam (Pic: ITV)
Lucy (Pic: ITV)
Mario (Pic: ITV)
Gemma (Pic: ITV)
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