TV bosses defend 'horrific' Valleys

The makers of a new reality show based on life in South Wales have defended its portrayal of the area.

MTV's The Valleys follows nine young people as they move in together in Cardiff - and has been described as Wales's answer to The Only Way Is Essex (Towie).

Online trailers ahead of the network premiere feature sheep in the title, and cast members have promoted the show by talking about their sex, drinking and partying lifestyles.

Programme bosses have insisted the show is "absolutely not about stereotyping", but community leaders have claimed the show paints a negative picture of people in South Wales, with singer Charlotte Church calling the series "horrific".

The Cardiff-born star and TV presenter said: "I think it will be exploitative and a horrific representation of the country that I love."

The Valleys is the newest addition to the reality show genre, which has risen in popularity thanks to the likes of shows such as Towie and Geordie Shore.

Like its predecessors, The Valleys focuses on cast members' sex lives and love of partying, as well as their relationships and careers.

Those featured in the show include a law graduate with a boob job who hopes to become the next Katie Price, and a self-styled ladies man and kickboxing champ whose party tricks include kicking cans off people's heads.

The show, which starts at 10pm on MTV, has prompted criticism from people in the South Wales valleys, fearing it will portray Welsh people as unintelligent and obsessed with going out and getting drunk or having sex.

Also expressing her concern was Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, who was born and raised in the Valleys, claiming it seemed cheap, tacky and over-promoted, and the show's launch has prompted a counter-offensive by a campaign group called The Valleys Are Here, which hopes to promote "a more positive image" of the area.