TOWIE stars' fury over lack of air time

The original stars of 'The Only Way Is Essex' have complained to show bosses over their lack of airtime, with Lucy Mecklenburgh's new dog Bentley having more screen time than Gemma Collins

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Sam Faiers

Sam Faiers

The original stars of 'The Only Way Is Essex' have complained to show bosses over their lack of airtime.

Sam Faiers, Jessica Wright and Lauren Goodger - who have appeared in the ITV2 reality show since it launched in 2010 - have all seen their screen time cut in favour of series newcomers Cara Kilbey, Ricky Rayment and Billi Mucklow.

Meanwhile, Gemma Collins - who joined 'TOWIE' in series two - is said to be particularly peeved that she has been shunted off screen in favour of a dog, with Lucy Mecklenburgh's new pet pooch Bentley spending more time on air throughout season four than her.

An insider told the Daily Star newspaper: "The oldies have complained. The fact that poor Gemma's been upstaged by a dog says it all."

Despite being one of the most popular characters in the second and third series of 'TOWIE', Gemma's airtime has dropped to just two minutes and 20 seconds in season four, compared to Bentley the dog, who has spent 2 minutes two minutes and 40 seconds on screen.

Joey Essex has bagged the most appearances on the ITV2 reality show, closely followed by 'TOWIE' veteran James 'Arg' Argent.

However, newcomers Billi Mucklow, Cara Kilbey and James 'Diags' Bennewith round off the top five.

'TOWIE' original Sam Faiers recently admitted she feels she no longer has "any friends" on the show due to the influx of new characters and departure of the likes of Mark Wright, Amy Childs and Kirk Norcross.

She said: "There were only eight of us when 'TOWIE' first started and we were really close. There are so many new cast members now that not everyone knows each other.

"I'm obviously close to my sister, Billie, and I'm good friends with Arg, Lydia, Gemma and Lucy, but that's it. Other than those guys, I feel like I don't have any friends on the show."

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