Equity to take action over rise of reality TV

Reality television has fallen foul of the industry's union. Furious at the never-ending stream of "real people" replacing actors and actresses on television, Equity has decided to take action.

Reality television has fallen foul of the industry's union. Furious at the never-ending stream of "real people" replacing actors and actresses on television, Equity has decided to take action.

The last straw for the actors' union is ITV's forthcoming series, Soapstars. It is intended to be the follow-up to Popstars, which launched the chart-topping band Hear'Say. The new show follows the fortunes of a new member of the cast of the ITV soap Emmerdale.

But Equity is threatening to start dispute procedures against LWT, which is making the fly-on-the-wall documentary, and Yorkshire TV, which produces Emmerdale. Under an agreement between Equity and ITV, the station's suppliers promise to use professional performers "as long as is practicable". The dispute could lead to industrial action.

The producers of Emmerdale said in this week's issue of The Stage newspaper that they believed their initiative would help to boost the portrayal of ethnic minorities in the soap. The producer, Tim Miller, said: "Instead of limiting opportunities to those with agents, we will be giving a chance to those whose names and faces ... have not been to the fore."

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