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FRIENDS of the stars of an Essex reality TV soap have rubbished claims they are acting up for the cameras.

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Regulars at the King William IV pub in Chigwell, who know the cast of The Only Way Is Essex, say what was on TV was true to real life.

The High Road pub, which is a popular haunt for stars such as Rod Stewart and EastEnders’ actors, is the backdrop for much of the action in the 10-part series which premiered on ITV2 last night.

Gavin Berry, 28, of Chigwell, knows Lauren Goodger and Candy Jacobs from socialising in Brentwood’s Sugar Hut nightclub, and Faces in Gants Hill.

“I know Lauren and Mark [Wright] have been on and off for years, so that part is definitely true.”

“They are not together right now.”

The Recorder reported that social networking sites had exploded with comments over the show’s stereotypical portrayal of Essex girls.

Viewers were left on a cliff-hanger after Buckhurst Hill girl Lauren, was given an ultimatum by her occasional partner Mark.

John Howard, 28, of Chigwell, said: “Candy used to work behind the bar at Faces for a while, but I’m not sure what she’s doing now.

“She had been travelling this year and I know she hasn’t been back long. I really don’t think any of it was put on.”

The pub’s general manager Ian Simms said producers had filmed there over the past week and were due back. He added he didn’t see any resemblance between the show’s stars and his clientelle

“What I saw on TV last night is nothing like what goes on in the pub.”

Are they acting, or is the show true to Essex life? Let us know what you think, email edwina.ellington@archant.co.uk, or call 0208 477 3826.

Catch the rest of the action on ITV2 on Wednesday at 10pm.

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